Illinois Extension

2024 CHICAGO - Request a Youth Table or Program

University of Illinois Extension provides presenters that will engage students in hands-on learning experiences. If you would like to request a program for your Cook County Chicago organization, please complete this form indicating your program preferences and preferred dates. All groups requesting programs should have a minimum audience of 15 people.
Due to the high volume of requests for our programming, requests should be made at least 10 weeks in advance in order to coordinate our staff and volunteers' schedules. 

To better accomodate groups, we may limit each organization to two programs per calendar year.
 *** PLEASE NOTE April dates are very popular and book out months in advance.  Please consider a non-April date!

For in-person programs, if your organization is able, we request a cost recovery fee of $50 - $150 for each program in order to cover educational materials for hands-on activities, handouts, and travel expenses.  We are willing to work with you based on your available funding, donation not required. We greatly appreciate your support and can provide a W-9.   Donation checks should be made payable to University of Illinois Extension, the word "donation" on the memo line, and may be mailed to Illinois Extension 8753 S Greenwood Ave. Suite 100. Chicago, IL 60619.

Currently, University of Illinois Extension is not requiring our volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor will we be asking for proof of vaccination in any capacity. Rather, we ask those who volunteer at partner sites to follow the guidelines/mandates set by that partner. Continuing to volunteer with partner sites that are mandating vaccination is determined by the individual volunteer. We are aware of current vaccination mandates designated by some of our partners and those partners will be responsible for ensuring volunteers are compliant with their policies. When we share volunteer opportunities from our partners, we will be sure to share any partner requirements for serving in that role. It is the responsibility of the organization requesting programs and/or assistance to include any protocols/requirements they may have when the program request is submitted, so this information is included in volunteer recruiting efforts.
***Please note that Extension staff and volunteers are not permitted to sign contracts and do not deliver program at private residences.

This registration is for Chicago locations ONLY.

Program Types and Descriptions:

Youth programs can be done as tabling or 30-60 minute presentations.
  1. Tabling programs are best suited for events where participants can walk up to the table for a short period of time to learn and complete an activity. 
  2. 30-60 minute programs are best suited for captive audiences in a classroom-style setting with education, instruction, demonstration, and then a hands-on portion.
  • Monarch Butterflies (tabling or 30-60 minute) - Learn about this magnificent species of butterfly that migrates from Mexico to Canada. We will discuss facts about metamorphosis, habitat, and migration. Youth are invited to make a monarch butterfly caterpillar craft representing the unique color patterns of this interesting larva.
  • Planting Lettuce or Herbs in a Bag (tabling or 30-60 minute) - Join us to learn about planting basics, seed germination, soil nutrients, plant structure, plant care, and discuss the importance of the four primary plant growth factors. Individuals are invited to make their own mini-greenhouse using a plastic sandwich bag and potting soil to grow herb or lettuce seeds indoors. Keep the plants growing on a sunny windowsill until they are ready to harvest.
  • Repotting A Plant (tabling or 30-60 minute, depending on plant availability) - Learn what a plant needs to grow and practice repotting! Depending on plant availability this could include herbs or flowers. Discuss plant characteristics and benefits.
  • Seed Balls (tabling or 30-60 minute, not available in winter) - Youth will learn about specific plant species and how they support pollinators. Participants then combine seed ball matrix with pollinator plant seeds to plant outside!
  • Seed Germination Necklace (tabling or 30-60 minute) - Join us to learn about seed germination basics and discuss the importance of the four primary plant growth factors. Individuals are invited to make their own seed germination necklace to observe the germination process over time.
  • Watershed Model (tabling or 30 minute, must have water access) - This program demonstrates how storm water runoff carries pollutants through a watershed. Also discusses management practices to prevent this type of pollution.
  • Worm Composting (tabling or 30-60 minute) - Discover the science behind indoor worm composting. Participants will learn about worm biology and observe red wiggler worms in an indoor composting bin. Models and microscopes will be provided so that participants can take a closer look at adult and baby worms and worm cocoons. Possibility to create a class worm bin.

Contact Information

Programs pending material availability
Descriptions of program types and the available programs are above. Please keep in mind the program type you chose.
Please include any special directions such as which door to enter, which side of building, parking, etc.

Civil Rights Compliance - Participant Info

As part of our commitment to providing equal opportunities in our programming, University of Illinois Extension is required to collect and report overall statistics about the race, ethnicity, and gender of program participants. Your responses are voluntary and appreciated.