Feb 18th, 2018

Early Winter 2018 Newsletter

Education and Nature Play
BYNC continued working with our local partners to connect children and adults with the wonders of nature through education and nature play events…

We brought a Pop-Up Nature Play Area to winter Let’s Play day

BYNC partnered with The Alliance for Early Childhood to help facilitate open-ended play at winter Let’s Play day. As many as 200 parents and children flocked to the event, which took place on a beautiful January day at Watts Park in Glencoe. We displayed learning materials about mammals, including pelts, skulls, tracks and scat, and also took attendees on a nature walk. BYNC’s balance beam logs, tree swings, tepee building area, stump walk and other play items were complemented by the Watts Park sledding hill. Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden were among the other organizations that helped make this event a success.

A Let’s Play day visitor inspects animal pelts

We celebrated Oaktober with Friends of Crow Island Woods
At Friends of Crow Island Woods’ Oaktober event, BYNC helped visitors explore the woods and learn about the plants and animals of New Trier Township. The damp weather gave way to a bit of sun as Ben took several groups on nature walks. Kids and adults tried to identify the animal pelts BYNC displayed at our table. Kids hopped on tree stumps and played with tree cookies and our classic stick tepee. Gary kept adults and kids engaged throughout the day and provided opening remarks about BYNC and the stewardship happening at Skokie Lagoons.

Ben Keller takes Oaktober participants on a nature walk through Crow Island Woods

We continued connecting New Trier Township to Erickson Woods

About 450 Wilmette Junior High School students joined BYNC to discover the environment and history of the Skokie Lagoons. Although bad weather forced us to move the event indoors, students learned about local birds, mammals, macroinvertebrates, invasive plants and the history of Erickson Woods.
We were happy to host a parent’s service group from North Shore Country Day School who visited Erickson Woods for a trash pickup in September. The day also included an education unit put on by BYNC.

Service/Restoration Highlights

BYNC’s mission includes coordinating and facilitating service and restoration efforts outdoors in New Trier Township…

In early November, we hosted 25 North Shore Country Day School 6th-8th graders for restoration at the Skokie Lagoons.
At Erickson Woods, 11 scouts and six adults from Winnetka’s Cub Scout Pack 18 joined Gary to pick up trash, take a nature walk and learn about the history of this local forest preserve.
Fifteen students and four staff with the Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge visited Erickson Woods to help cut and burn buckthorn. They also had the opportunity to take a nature hike.


BYNC’s partners, interns, volunteers and board members help us connect with the community and make our programs possible…

Daily North Shore magazine interviewed BYNC President Daniel Kielson for an article about his efforts to connect children and adults with the wonders of nature. “I’ve learned from nature,” Daniel said. “I appreciate nature, and I want to promote it.”
Our intern Alyssa developed animal track flashcards and recorded sounds in nature as part of her continuing work for BYNC this winter.
We are also excited to welcome two new interns
Nora Maxwell, a Film major and Environmental Policy minor at Northwestern University, recently began volunteering with BYNC and brought her photography equipment to winter Let’s Play day. Be on the lookout for her upcoming BYNC short films!
Bobbie Scheff is supporting BYNC at many of our events, including winter Let’s Play day, where she manned the mammal display. Bobbie currently serves at Evanston Public Library, and she brings a background in customer service and adult education to BYNC. She plans to volunteer as a nature hike and bird watch leader, as well as to help with restoration, education and public relations.

Annual Appeal

A BIG thank you to everyone who donated in the BYNC Appeal, if you have not yet pledged there is still time…

Donate Online at Backyard Nature Center Appeal

See you next time! Check out our website for updates and upcoming events, including our Earth Day celebration on April 22 at Erickson Woods:

Copyright © 2018 BackYard Nature Center, All rights reserved.

About The Author


Back Yard Nature Center connects children and adults with the wonders of nature. Our mission is to promote, facilitate, and strengthen the bond between the nature environments in the New Trier Township and the children and adults who wish to enrich their lives with direct experiences in nature.

Early Winter 2018 Newsletter

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