Daytime Classes

  • Birds - View birds from our birding porch. We have many feeders offering different types of food in one central location so students get the opportunity to view native birds up close. Participate in activities that explore bird characteristics and behaviors.
  • Crafts - Make unique craft items for students to take home. Our craft shop has basic materials such as yarn, paper, paint, seeds, and many more items. Use them to create projects from nature.
  • Forest Ecology - Lorado Taft Campus is adjacent to Lowden State Park. Taft Campus and State Park trails take students through diverse habitats, including pine and hardwood forests, meadow, prairie, and gully. Learn about the trees, soils, wildlife and water that interact to make the forest community.
  • Geology - The gully at Taft is one of the most unique natural features on campus. The deep gully was formed when glaciers melted in Illinois. Evidence of ancient inland seas, such as fossils of sea creatures and ancient corals, are often found. Students get the opportunity to look at different types of rocks, hunt for fossils, and investigate the forces of erosion still at work today.
  • Instincts for Survival - Take on the role of Carnivore, Omnivore, or Herbivore as you try to find the elements of your environment needed for survival. Students experience the food chain first hand as they look for food and water while trying to avoid capture by predators. This active simulation is played in a large grass and forest area.
  • Native Americans - Start a fire with a bow drill, test agility and accuracy with skill games, identify artifacts; these are just some of the activities used to learn about Native American culture. Delve into the history of the Rock River area and the Fox and Sac Indians who once inhabited the valley.
  • Orienteering/GPS - Use a compass to navigate one of our many orienteering courses at Taft. The courses travel through the woods, and students work in teams to find their next location. We also have GPS units that can be incorporated into the Orienteering class or used for a separate activity.
  • Pioneering - Explore the life of a pioneer child. Using an authentic 1830's pioneer cabin as a focal point, do daily chores such as dipping candles, making rope, cooking a meal, spinning wool, and making kindling or wooden shingles.
  • Survival - Imagine you have just been stranded in the middle of the wilderness. Students discuss strategies and learn skills such as constructing a shelter and building a fire to meet basic human needs for survival.
  • Team Building - Learn the importance of working in a group and using skills such as trust, communication, cooperation, and problem solving. Students go through activities and physical elements designed to facilitate teamwork.
  • Water Ecology - Explore the banks of the Rock River while learning about water quality, species diversity, river current, water cycle, and macroinvertebrates. The class includes using nets (weather permitting) to explore the aquatic habitat.