Press Releases

For Immediate Release - Elementary and High School Students Become Naturalists at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

April 30, 2013

CONTACT: Brandon Hayes
(Media inquiries only)



***Eco-Explorations Spring Program Teaches Students About the Environment
Through Firsthand Experience***

(Chicago – April 30, 2013) Students in third, fourth and fifth grades—and high school—assume the role of naturalists, exploring concepts such as erosion, habitat and the scientific method, through a curriculum-based educational experience at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve.

Openlands’ Eco-Explorations program works with regional elementary and high schools each fall and spring to immerse students in the site’s unique ravine, bluff, and beach landscape and provides materials for classroom activities that explore science, social studies, and writing concepts. These materials are designed to meet Illinois Learning Standards for third, fourth, and fifth grades, as well as college preparatory guidelines for high school. The spring 2013 Eco-Explorations program runs from April 30 – May 23. The Exelon Foundation is the principal sponsor of the Eco-Explorations program.

“I’m always struck by the students who step into this landscape for the first time,” said Openlands Lakeshore Preserve Site Manager Aimee Collins. “Many of the students in the Eco-Explorations program know Lake Michigan from the city beaches and shorelines of Chicago, but the wild bluffs and ravines at the Preserve are a completely different experience. No matter how many times I watch it happen, it is a powerful moment to see the pure wonder and excitement in our students as they round the last bend in our trail and the lake appears before them.”

“There is a very real need for innovative programs that build connections between young people and nature and educate them about the value of scientific exploration and environmental preservation,” said Steve Solomon, president of the Exelon Foundation. “We are pleased to continue our support for the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve and Eco-Explorations program in the Exelon Foundation’s ongoing work to encourage respect for the natural world.”

About the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

Located just 25 miles north of Chicago and encompassing more than a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve gives visitors the opportunity to visit one of the last remaining ravine and bluff ecosystems in the bustling metropolitan region. 

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, visit

About the Exelon Foundation

The Exelon Foundation works to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the community and encourage environmental stewardship by supporting innovative approaches to math and science education, diversity and tolerance, and the environment and conservation. The foundation makes grants to non-profit, tax-exempt organizations located primarily in communities that the Exelon family of companies serves, including northern Illinois, southeastern Pennsylvania, central Maryland, Texas, and Massachusetts. The Exelon Foundation is an independent, non-profit philanthropic organization funded entirely by Exelon Corporation through shareholder dollars.

- 30 -

Share This Page