The Forge Charitable Adventures has a unique opportunity to turn the HQRA into an immersive and engaging classroom for the pursuit of environmental education for children and adults alike.  When we reflect on environmental education programs that consistently and measurably achieve meaningful outcomes for kids, three key characteristics emerge: 


These programs have sufficient intensity to reach their aims, engaging young people in program content over many hours, months, and years. 

They are connected to classroom instruction, reinforcing and expanding on what students are learning in school — particularly in science classes. 

These programs are grounded in positive youth development principles and practices, for example, nurturing the development of life skills, a service ethic, and helpful relationships with adults. 


TFCA seeks to develop and fund access to environmental education programming which will align with these three characteristics for success.  Beginning with educational programming which is designed around the framework of the Illinois Learning Standards, TFCA will create a series of interesting and engaging experiences to tie classroom learning to the outdoors.  Additionally, the content TFCA aims to create will include opportunities for multi-year participation for students where the depth and intensity of the content builds over time.  


The funding challenges of many of the region’s school districts, coupled wth the disposable income restraints of many families whose children live in those districts mean that many students will never have the chance to participate in outdoor environmental education programs of any kind.  TFCA intends to subsidize its educational programming for those students.  


We estimate the total cost of this programming will be $250,000 over a five-year period; approximately $100,000 to develop the content and $150,000 to subsidize student participation.