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'A Walk in the Woods'
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[FEB. 11, 2004]  URBANA -- A website designed for children in grades 3 through 5 who have little or no opportunity to visit the woods has been unveiled by University of Illinois Extension. "A Walk in the Woods" can be found on Extension's Urban Programs Resources site at http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/woods/index.html.

"We hope that this site will not only help children gain an understanding of the plants and animals that might be seen during a walk in the woods but that it will also develop an appreciation of nature," said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist.

"There are many children who, because they live in a city, may not have the opportunity to visit the woods. This site not only addresses that situation; it also provides a positive, interactive learning experience."

The site, which is part of the "Schools On-Line" section, is divided into several sections, including a virtual walk in the woods, which features narration. Students can also click on various icons and learn about the animals and plants they might see. There is also a section containing tips on getting ready for a walk in the woods, including precautions and trail etiquette. A teachers' guide is included on the site to enhance classroom use.


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"We have a 'Fun Things' section, which includes activities children can do as well as a 'journal' they can keep on their visit to the woods and the things they see," said Scherer.

The narration on the site was done by Stu Ellis, U of I Extension unit leader in Macon County and former radio broadcaster. The site was developed by Greg Stack, Extension educator for urban horticulture, and Molly Hofer, Extension educator for family life, both based in Matteson; Ron Wolford, Extension urban horticulture educator based in Chicago; and Scherer.

[University of Illinois news release]

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