Can’t come to the dunes? Dunes Learning Center educators will bring the dunes to you!

More than 4,000 students each year participate in one of Dunes Learning Center’s overnight programs at our Indiana Dunes National Park campus, but thousands more experience field-based, hands-on learning with Dunes Learning Center educators at schools and natural sites throughout the Calumet Region. Stand alone and multi-part programs are available for students of all ages and abilities. Prices vary by program. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton at 219-395-9555 to discuss the endless possibilities.

Customized Environmental Education Programs, Grades K–12
Dunes Learning Center offers customized environmental education programs that support STEAM learning and classroom goals. Outreach educators work with you to plan and deliver learning experiences in the classroom or the community that meet the unique needs and challenges of your students. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton at 219-395-9555 for more information.
Read about Dunes To You at Clark Middle School in our blog >
To bring the dunes to your school, request a program >


Mighty Acorns, Grades 3-5
Trail beneath their feet, the texture of the natural world between their fingers, no electronics in sight—this is the unique way Mighty Acorns inspires stewardship, science and learning. This three-year STEM-based conservation curriculum for 3rd through 5th grade students incorporates classroom and field components; engaging students through restoration and exploration of an adopted natural area. Seasonal field study trips allow students to see firsthand how their work impacts and improves the environment. Lessons are continued in the summer when Mighty Acorns from Chicago and Northwest Indiana convene at our Mighty Acorns Nature Camp.

Participating teachers benefit from highly-rated professional development training and report improvements in student academic performance, sense of well-being, physical fitness, teamwork and leadership initiative.

“Over the last four years, Portage Township Schools ISTEP+ Science scores have increased in both grades four and five. We believe that this can be correlated with the establishment of the Mighty Acorns program.” Dr. Debra J. Dudek, Portage Township Schools

The Mighty Acorns curriculum is proven and effective, serving thousands of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana students during the school year. Dunes to You educators deliver Mighty Acorns to classrooms throughout northwest Indiana in collaboration with Shirley Heinze Land Trust and The Field Museum, thanks to major funding by ArcelorMittal.

Read about Mighty Acorns in our blog >
Watch a short video about Mighty Acorns > 

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Programming made possible to schools at no cost through funding to the Northwest Indiana Environmental Education Partnership by ArcelorMittal, BP, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Enbridge, Legacy Foundation, Patagonia Chicago, and contributions from parents and individuals. Major funding for the Northwest Indiana Environmental Education Partnership provided by ArcelorMittal.

Nature Navigators, Grades 3-5

Nature Navigators is a new upper elementary level program designed to meet the needs of students and teachers. The program is being piloted at School City of Hobart in the 2019-2020 school year. Students will learn during four classroom visits from expert naturalists, along with two outdoor field trips, including a paddling experience on Lake George.

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Citizen Science, Grades 6-8
The Citizen Science program gets students out of the classroom to take part in real-world inquiry and problem solving. They choose a project, collect data, and report their findings as part of an ongoing national environmental research project. Students work alongside a local expert to discover how they can cause positive change in the local environment and their community. New this year, they will have the opportunity to share their project results and learn more about civic engagement in their community during a Citizen Science Symposium.


Calumet Is My Backyard (CIMBY), Grades 9-12
CIMBY engages high school students in STEM-based learning and hands-on stewardship in their communities through Alliance for the Great Lakes' Great Lakes In My World curriculum. Students participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as exploring local waterways in a 24’ canoe and presenting their work at an environmental leadership summit, where they network their peers as well as experts in the environmental field. Teachers benefit from professional development where they learn to effectively deliver the place-based Great Lakes In My World curriculum which fosters an understanding of the natural history and environmental issues in the Calumet region. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to bring CIMBY to your classroom.

“CIMBY is a way to give back, when you think you don’t have anything to give.” High school program participant

STEM-based programs for grades 3-12 are available at no cost to schools thanks to major funding from ArcelorMittal with additional support from BP, Foundations of East Chicago, Legacy Foundation, NIPSCO and individual donors.

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Arts activities made possible by the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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