With a mission to “inspire lasting curiosity and stewardship with nature,” Dunes Learning Center provides year-round curriculum and standards-based education programs to learners of all ages. Founded in 1998 as an independent non-profit organization, Dunes Learning Center is a national model for place-based environmental education. Their trained naturalist staff and 63-acre campus located inside Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are truly unique and valuable resources, bringing global opportunities to the Great Lakes region. No other organization in Illinois or Indiana offers a residential program in partnership with the National Park Service—an arrangement that is common to less than 25 environmental learning centers in the nation.
The majorities of more than 10,000 program participants each year come from classrooms in Northwest Indiana and metro Chicago and are between the ages of 9 and 13. Tuition assistance keeps programs affordable and accessible to at-risk populations in low-income and underserved communities where students are disproportionately and adversely impacted by environmental justice issues such as pollution. Hands-on activities build environmental literacy while promoting academic achievement, self-discovery and leadership skills needed to succeed in school and life.
Dunes Learning Center benefits from the advocacy, marketing and program enhancement efforts of CSI partner organizations that share a commitment to environmental education—leveraging the shared knowledge and resources of the group to develop the next generation of environmental stewards and conservation leaders.
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