Exploring • Hiking • Discovering & More!
Looking for a unique scout program that meets your badge and activity requirements? Bring your troop out to Hickory Knolls! To schedule an adventure, contact Laura McCoy at email@example.com or 630-513-4393.
Guided Program Option (Cub and Girl Scout topics listed below)
Enjoy the trails and exhibits of Hickory Knolls with a trained educator who will lead you through hands-on activities to help scouts earn badge requirements.
- All programs last one hour and are held at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
- Guided Program Dates and Times- please contact us for your reservation
- After school M-F until 5:00pm
- Evening Reservations available on select Wednesdays: 2019-2020 Schedule September 11, October 9, January 8, April 8, May 13
- Weekends- by reservation
- Fee is $50 for a group of up to 15 scouts, $3 per additional scout or participating child
- Adult leaders and parents are free
Special Scout Events for 2019-2020
Plan the perfect scout outing for your Cub Scout Den or Girl Scout Troop. Each month will include a three hands-on activities that you can apply to scouting requirements. Leaders can register more than one child. Adults are free and at least one adult must accompany scouts for the program. Each program is held at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center from 6:30-7:30pm.
Scouting Out Evening Explorers-Wildlife Survival, November 14, 2019- How do animals prepare to survive our Illinois winters? Let the critters of Hickory Knolls share the secrets of wildlife.
Scouting Out Evening Explorers-Marshmallow Madness, January 16, 2020- Use simple machines to launch marshmallows!
Scouting Out Evening Explorers-Letterboxing, April 23, 2020- Take a modern day treasure hunt as you follow clues and hike the trails.
Self-Guided Program Option
The ‘Badge in a Bag’ program allows an adult to lead a program for scouts using a fully-created curriculum, list of activities and all materials.
- ‘Badge in a Bag’ binder and materials can be reserved for the entire day
- Ability to take materials off site to use at your meeting
- Allows for more flexible scheduling
- Fee is $15 for a full-day use of the curriculum with a separate $25 refundable deposit
- Leaders may make arrangement to pick-up the bag ahead of time, based on availability
- Scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis
Naturalist staff available to assist with individual scouts working on Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards or an Eagle Scout Rank.
The Comforts of Home
Everyone has a Habitat! What do animals need to survive and who lives in your own backyard? Meet and greet critters as you participate in activities that support nature and animal themed journeys.
You’re Going To Use That?
Discover the difference between garbage and recyclable materials. Learn how you can keep living things safe and have a positive impact on your own world. Hands on activities support your troop learning about the eco in our world, using your resources wisely and help you along your nature themed journey.
H2O: What is it? Where is it?
What animals depend on water and how do people impact the water around them? Activities will help your troop love water as you are wowed by its wonders.
This is Bugging Me!
Is a bug an insect or an insect a bug? Learn about the characteristics of insects and their habitats and what makes insects an important part of our world.
Hittin’ the Dusty Trail
Are you ready to take a hike? Find out how to be prepared and then use a map and basic compass skills out on the trail.
Going Beyond the 3 R’s and Green Building Investigation
Explore the many green features of Hickory Knolls and how recycling and composting can help you make the world a better place for everyone.
Ready, set- GROW! Flowers are more than pretty, they are pretty amazing! Explore the parts of a plant and discover what animals depend on them for survival.
This Isn’t Mr. McGregor’s Garden
Habitats go way beyond your backyard. Explore the prairie, savannah and wetland habitats and learn who is native and who is not.
Blanding’s Turtle Time
Help with the care of these amazing and endangered reptiles as you participate in activities to learn about their habitat.
- Gather the outdoor items you need to have with you when you go on an outdoor adventure and understand how they are used. Commit to understanding and practicing the buddy system.
- Learn what SAW — Stay, Answer, Whistle — means. Demonstrate what you can do to stay safe if you become separated from the group when you are outdoors.
- Demonstrate an understanding of respect for animals and nature when participating in a learning hike.
- Take a 1-foot hike. Make a list of the living things you find on your hike. Point out two different kinds of birds that live in your area.
- Be helpful to plants and animals by planting a tree or other plant in your neighborhood.
- Create a birdhouse. (Not completed with this program)
- With an adult partner, go on a walk and pick out two sounds you hear in your “jungle.”
Additional: Read the Outdoor Code, included in this booklet, and discuss what you can do today!
Tigers in the Wild
Complete Requirements 1-3 plus at least one other.
- With your parent, guardian, or other caring adult, name and collect the Cub Scout Six Essentials you need for a hike. Tell your den leader what you would need to add to your list to prepare for rain.
- Go for a short hike with your den or family, and carry your own gear. Show you know how to get ready for this hike.
- Do all three:
- Listen while your leader reads the Outdoor Code. Talk about how you can be clean in your outdoor manners.
- Listen while your leader reads the Leave No Trace Principles for Kids. Discuss why you should “Trash Your Trash.”
- Apply the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace Principles for Kids on your Tiger den and pack outings. After one outing, share what you did to demonstrate the principles you discussed.
- While on the hike, find three different kinds of plants, animals, or signs that animals have been on the trail. List what you saw in your Tiger Handbook.
- Participate in an outdoor pack meeting or pack campfire. Sing a song or act out a skit with your Tiger den as part of the program. (Not completed with this program)
- Find two different trees and two different types of plants that grow in your area. Write their names in your Tiger Handbook.
- Visit a nature center, zoo, or another outside place with your family or den. Learn more about two animals, and write down two interesting things about them in your Tiger Handbook
- Show you are prepared to hike safely by putting together the Cub Scout Six Essentials to take along on a hike.
- Tell what the buddy system is and why it is always used in Cub Scouts.
- Describe what you should do if you get separated from your group while hiking.
- Choose the appropriate clothing (discussed before activity) to wear on your hike based on the expected weather. Discuss what you wore to this program and why. Before you hike, recite the Outdoor Code and the Leave No Trace Principle for Kids with your leader. After hiking, discuss how you showed respect for wildlife.
- Go on a 1-mile hike with your den or family. Watch and record two interesting things that you’ve never seen before.
- Name two birds, two insects and two other animals that live in your area. Explain how you identified them.
- Draw a map of the area near where you live using common map symbols. Show which direction is north on your map.
Fur, Feathers and Ferns
- While hiking or walking for one mile, identify six signs that indicate mammals, birds, insects, reptiles or plants are living nearby the place where you choose to hike. (Den will need to complete mile hike on own).
- Name one animal that has become extinct in the last 100 years and one animal that is currently endangered. Explain what caused their declines.
- Visit one of the following: zoo, wildlife refuge, nature center, aviary, game preserve, local conservation area, wildlife rescue group or fish hatchery. Describe what you learned during your visit.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Describe what you saw.
- Use a magnifying glass to examine plants more closely. Describe what you saw through the magnifying glass that you could not see without it. (Done only when outside plants have leaves).
- Learn about composting and how vegetable waste can be turned into fertilizer for plants.
- Plant a vegetable or herb garden. (Not completed with this program)
Into the Woods
- Identify three different groups of trees and the parts of a tree.
- Identify six trees common to the area where you live. Tell whether they are native to your area. Tell how both wildlife and humans use them.
- Identify six plants common to the area where you live. Tell which animals use them and for what purpose.
- Visit a nature center, nursery, tree farm or park, and speak with someone knowledgeable about trees and plants that are native to your area. Explain how plants and trees are important to our ecosystem and how they improve our environment.
- Develop a plan to care for and then plant at least one plant or tree, either indoors in a pot or outdoors. Tell how this plant or tree helps the environment in which it is planted and what the plant or tree will be used for. (Must be completed at home or at meeting)
- Make a list of items in your home that are made from wood and share it with your den. Or with your den, take a walk and identify useful things made from wood.
- Explain how the growth rings of a tree trunk tell its life story. Describe different types of tree bark and explain what the bark does for the tree.
Into the Wild
Complete six of the nine requirements:
- Create a ‘zoo’. (Not completed with this program)
- Set up an aquarium or terrarium. (Not completed with this program)
- Watch birds for one week. (Not completed with this program)
- Learn about the bird flyways closest to your home. Find out which birds use these flyways.
- Watch at least four wild creatures (reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, fish, insects, or mammals) in the wild. Describe the kind of place (forest, field, marsh, yard, or park) where you saw them. Tell what they were doing. (During program, scouts will have hands on experiences with animals in the nature center. Not all observations of animals in the wild will be completed during the program).
- Identify an insect, reptile, bird or wild animal that is found only in your area of the country. Tell why it survives in your area.
- Give examples of at least two of the following:
- A producer, a consumer, and a decomposer in the food chain of an ecosystem
- One way humans have changed the balance of nature
- How you can help protect the balance of nature
- Learn about aquatic ecosystems and wetlands in your area. Talk with your Webelos den leader or family about the important role aquatic ecosystems and wetlands play in supporting life cycles of wildlife and humans, and list three ways you can help.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Visit a museum of natural history, a nature center, or a zoo with your family, Webelos den or pack. Tell what you saw.
- Create a video. (Not completed with this program)
- Do the Following:
a. Explain the meaning of the word “Geology.”
b. Why is this science important?
c. Share with your family or den why it is important. (Follow up with leader to fulfill this requirement.)
- Look for different kinds of rocks or minerals while on a rock hunt with your family or den.
- Do the Following:
a. Identify the rocks you see on your rock hunt.
b. With a magnifying glass, take a closer look. Determine any differences in your specimens.
c. Share what you learned.
- Do the Following:
a. Test rocks according to the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness.
b. Record your results in your handbook. (Follow up with leader to fulfill this requirement.)
- Identify geological features on a map.
- Do the Following:
a. Identify some of the geological building materials used in building your home.
b. Identify some of the geological materials used around your community. (Not completed with this program)
c. Record the items you find. (Follow up with leader to fulfill this requirement.)
- Do either 7a or 7b
a. Go on an outing to a place you located on your map.
b. Do the Following:
i. With your family or den, visit a geologist or earth scientist. (The staff at Hickory Knolls has an extensive background in earth sciences and will touch on topics that meet this requirement.)
ii. Ask a geologist or earth scientist about the importance of fossils.
iii. Ask a geologist or earth scientist about what you can do to help preserve our natural resources.
- Do at least one earth science demonstration of investigation with your den or with adult supervision, and explore geology in action.