OUTDOOR LEARNING WITH THE LIBRARY

Wauconda Area Library, Illinois, U.S.A.

by Kelly Kuningas, Adult Reference Librarian at Wauconda Area Library

On May 13, 2021 the Wauconda Area Library had the most amazing nature walk with one of our local conservation areas, which was led by Aimee Collins, Education Outreach Program Coordinator at McHenry County Conservation District.  Patrons wore masks and distanced as we walked both a prairie trail and wooded trail in the Silver Creek Conservation Area in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  Aimee informed us not only about the plants in bloom and animals and birds we might encounter, but the history of the land from the time of the glaciers, which Native Americans may have lived on the land (Potawatomi) and also about the settlers and more recent landowners who donated the property to the District. “Spring is a great time to see nature coming alive with wildflowers blooming and birds building nests,” Aimee said. “The District provides many public conservation areas and trails in McHenry County, where we can enjoy the outdoors close to home with activities like hiking, bicycling, canoeing, camping, and fishing.” It was a picture-perfect day for walking and learning!

In Summer 2021, we are hosting Adult Ballet Barre classes on 6/23 and 7/28, plus a healthy Mediterranean cooking class on 6/21, a virtual tour of the Anderson Japanese Gardens on 6/8, and a bike maintenance class on 6/5.  We like to rotate exercise classes so probably we will be back to yoga or Tai Chi in the fall.

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Lessons learned: Think broadly about potential partners! This library worked with an entity from an adjacent county to bring outdoor learning opportunities to patrons.

Safety first! You want to plan ahead to ensure everyone is safe whenever outdoor opportunities are offered.

Outdoor learning programming is a great way to enable patrons to get outside, learn about the environment, and get moving.

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