The Northwest Indiana Mighty Acorns Partnership connects urban youth with nature through experiential education.
With many of our preserves located adjacent or in proximity to schools, we have a unique opportunity to provide students with high quality outdoor classrooms and institute a curriculum focused on experiential education.
The goals are:
In this ever-increasing digital age of Internet and social media, the Mighty Acorns program seeks to reconnect our children with nature through multiple, meaningful, sustained interactions with the natural world upon which all life depends, thus fostering future generations who care enough for natural communities to preserve and protect them in perpetuity.
Students make three seasonal “study” trips to local nature preserves during the school year, each with a slightly different focus covering topics such as adaptation, interdependence, competition for resources and diversity. Students also engage in active restoration of the preserves by collecting seed from native species in the fall, removing exotic shrubs in the winter, and sowing the native seed during spring in areas where exotic species were removed.
The Mighty Acorns program has been identified by the Calumet Stewardship Initiative (CSI) and Chicago Wilderness as a key strategy for fostering a connection between the region’s youth and its natural resources. Indeed, Chicago Wilderness identified the Mighty Acorns program as one of the fundamental components of the Leave No Child Inside initiative – a comprehensive effort that aims to develop the region’s next generation of environmental leaders.
Through Mighty Acorns, students “adopt” a local natural area to explore and restore, visiting the site at least three times in each school year. The program connects students to the land, empowers them to take action, teaches them the science of ecology, and has the potential to be an effective, long-term process for improving the region’s native plant and animal communities.
Major funding for the Northwest Indiana Mighty Acorns Partnership provided by ArcelorMittal.
Learn more and hear what educators have to say here.
Additional funding provided by:
Watch Video: Mighty Acorns: Community investment meets environmental stewardship in Northwest Indiana
Science, sand, sun and summer fun for kids of all ages in the dunes.
Learn more here.
Mighty Acorns program by Shirley Heinze Land Trust
"Mighty Acorns is hands-on. Rather than a hike from a bus, out to a bog, and then back to the bus, these kids are actually participating in restoration. During the winter and spring field trips, exotic species are removed; then during the fall, the seeds of native plants, harvested the year before, are carefully planted in the cleared fields. [Students] see the full circle.”