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  1. Great Lakes Plant Diversity

    We can learn a lot about a particular environment based on the plants that exist there! The Great Lakes region is home to hundreds of different plants. Explore a large collection of plant specimens from diverse ecosystems found across the Midwest, examine herbarium sheets, and try your hand at pressing your own specimens. Learn More
  2. Vacant Lot

    One distinguishing characteristic of a biome is its soil, which varies depending on region. An urban vacant lot is its own unique ecosystem with specific plants, animals and soil types. Discover what types of soil you are likely to find in the Chicago area, and use the soil samples in this experience box to learn how to create soil profiles. Learn More
  3. Rainforests

    Explore the rainforest ecosystem by examining all of its parts. Smell spices that were once of higher value than gold, investigate the relationship between a bird's beak and the types of food it eats, and examine how the leaves in the rainforest have evolved to efficiently shed water from their surfaces. Then, collect your own leaf samples and hold a competition to see which local leaves shed water the best. Learn More
  4. Prairie Life

    A prairie is a unique ecological system that supports diverse plants and animals that depend upon each other for survival. Take a nature walk around your school to predict what plants' root systems look like underground and compare them with the prairie plant specimens in this box. Examine prairie mammals and birds up close to connect their physical characteristics with the prairie ecosystem. A few items in some of these boxes are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and may only be borrowed by educational institutions that are open to the general public and are non-profit (such as a public or charter school), but may not be borrowed by private individuals or institutions without a special permit. If you have any questions about whether you or your institution qualify to borrow this box without a permit, please contact us. Learn More
  5. Indiana Dunes

    Discover the windy conditions necessary to create and maintain the famous Indiana Dunes. Reaching heights of up to 200 feet, the dunes at Illinois Beach State Park are home to a variety of unusual plants and animals. Learn More

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