Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Where: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago, IL 60614
What: First founded in 1857 and opened to the public in 1869, the Chicago Academy of Sciences became a place for nature enthusiasts and amateur scientists to share knowledge on natural history with a wide range of Chicago community groups and residents. The official opening of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, in October of 1999, has more closely linked the Chicago Academy of Sciences to community members through a focus on citizen education and science.
As a student at the University of Chicago studying Environmental and Urban Studies, I’ve helped teach environmental education to sixth grade students at Fiske Elementary School for the past two years. Hoping to pair the students’ curriculum with adventures and experiences related to their classwork, I’ve chosen Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as the students’ primary field trip location during both of the years that I’ve assisted in the classroom.
My Third Place Champion, Peggy Notebaert embodies a place in which the Chicago resident or visitor can develop a sense of wonder in the natural world, gaining new knowledge alongside community members from all areas of the city. Visitors of any age can feel empowered after taking a class on STEM topics at the museum, viewing familiar exhibits with a new family member or friend, or simply reflecting for a moment in the museum’s butterfly garden. For me, the Nature Museum is a place where joy in learning about the natural world is fostered and shared among Chicagoans of any age or background.
-Free regular events open to the public including family and adult events, camps, fitness programs, overnight experiences, educational workshops, etc.
-Connections with schools and teachers to provide resources to students of all ages
-Citizen science initiatives
-Research opportunities connecting conservation enthusiasts with scientists
-Functions as a place of learning as well as a usable event space for various community groups and organizations
-Facilitates research and excursions taking place outside of the museum location
-Connects Chicago residents to natural settings and experiences through its outdoor nature/ bird walks and proximity to Lake Michigan and the Lincoln Park Zoo