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  1. 300 Million Years Ago in Illinois

    The fossils from Mazon Creek, a Lagerst├Ątte near Chicago, continue to teach scientists much about the ecosystems of the Illinois area 300 million years ago. Examine the fossil evidence provided in this box to connect organisms in an ancient food web. Compare your food web with a modern ecosystem's food web. Were the trophic levels different hundreds of millions of years ago? Learn about the two biotas that existed during this time in Illinois: the Essex and the Braidwood. Then, based on the adaptations observed in the fossils, sort the fossils according to the biotas in which they probably lived. Learn More
  2. 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

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