Naturally Illinois Expo Exhibits

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1Prairie Research Institute

The Institute is the home of the Illinois State Scientific Surveys at the U of I and host of the Expo. Our work advances economic development and natural and cultural resource stewardship for the people of Illinois.

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2Paleontology: The Study of Fossils

This exhibit highlights the study of ancient life through reference to the fossil record. Fossils of all kinds, from Illinois and elsewhere, will be on display and paleontologists on hand to answer questions.

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3Backyard Biodiversity: Insects of Illinois and Beyond

There are more species of insects in Illinois than all other species of animals and plants combined, and new species are being discovered every year. Come and see examples of insect specimens from our collection, which houses more than 7 million insects and related arthropods from all over the world. You will also have a chance to see live insects.

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4Invasive Insect Investigators

Check out some of the most unwanted invasive insects that are affecting the Illinois landscape. Visit with Illinois Natural History Survey scientists and learn how you can become an invasive investigator.

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5Bioinspiration - Insects did it first

Bioinspiration. What can we learn from nature in general, and insects in particular, to spur technological innovation? Find out how insects have inspired the development of new robots, materials, sensors, computer algorithm, energy-efficient buildings, etc. Exhibit will feature live insects. Bring your creative thinking cap to help us innovate.

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6Insect locomotion and engineering design

Insects have evolved to walk, run, and scurry over almost every surface imaginable. Learn from the experts and use your imagination to build robot insects the best insect legs for each terrain....can you help the insects to conquer all of our obstacles?

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7Lake Michigan: A Great Lake in a Great State

Lake Michigan covers over 22,000 square miles and is the largest lake in Illinois. Explore the habitats, organisms, and biology of this inland sea!

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8Livers of the Rivers

Did you know that freshwater mussels are nature's water filters? Come learn about the exciting life of these "living rocks" -- what they eat, where they live, and what they do for you!

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9Aquatic Invasive Species

Interactive aquatic invasive species display featuring many specimens for students to explore.

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10Celebrate Monarchs!

Experience the uncommon habits of this common butterfly. Learn how to protect and preserve the species and aid in its remarkable journey from Illinois to the mountains of Mexico, and receive a free milkweed seed packet for your home garden.

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11Pollination Exploration: From Butterflies to Birds

How do bird and butterfly pollinators know which flowers contain their favorite treats? Explore flower colors to discover the answer.

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12What can river otters teach us about human health?

Have you ever wondered what we can learn from river otter poop? You might be surprised!

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13Prairie Research Institute Library

Visit the library and play our "identify it" game. Can you find the right book to help a scientist identify what they have brought in from the field?

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14Learning Outside the Textbook, but Inside the Box!

The Prairie Research Institute has science and nature resource materials contained in easily transportable tubs (available for check-out) for use by teachers and their students.

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15See the Mahomet Aquifer in 3D

Fly through virtual geologic data to explore the aquifer above and below ground!

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16Premier Showing of a New Biodiversity Exhibit

Explore life on earth, from fossilized amber to animals and plants. All specimens are from the Natural History Survey’s vast collections.

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17The Many Wonders of Carbon Dioxide

Come explore the wonders of CO2. This colorless, odorless gas is very important to life on the planet Earth.

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18Petroleum Comes From Where?

Petroleum geology studies the origin, migration, accumulation, and exploration of oil and gas. These vital resources sustain our lives.

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19Publication Sales and Teacher Resources

Stop by to browse and purchase our publications that showcase Illinois’s organisms, archaeology, and geology.

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20What’s All the Fuss About Aquifers?

Find out about groundwater by viewing a working model of an aquifer, and see where and how a well gets the water we drink. Educational materials related to groundwater and water wells will be available.

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21Water Corrosion and “Boiler” Scale

Hidden minerals in water accumulate on pipe surfaces as “scale.” You will measure the minerals in water gathered from different locations in Illinois and view nearly 50 examples of scale and corrosion.

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22Why Geological Records?

Explore oil and gas production for Illinois via an interactive map. Learn how to extract oil, gas, information from existing records.

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23Measuring the Weather

Learn the environmental issues associaHow hot is it outside? How much did it rain last night? Find out how and why scientists measure weather events.

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24Understanding Weather and Climate

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center collects information on weather and climate and studies how they change through time. Explore solar radiation and runoff to see how humans impact the weather and climate around them.

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25IDOT: Stewards of the Environment

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) does more than build roads. They are involved in developing wetlands, preserving archaeological sites, restoring natural ecosystems in Illinois, and developing sustainable technologies for their use. Visit with researchers who work with IDOT to preserve our state.

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26IDOT: Wetland Plant and Soil Adaptations

IDOT Stewardship Projects employ scientists to discover unique plants and soils found in Illinois wetlands.

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27IDOT: Bryophyte Bonanza!

Your knowledge of bryophytes is likely limited. Did you know that bryophytes were used as surgical dressings during World War I and that some species have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer? Learn more about this unique group of plants.

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28IDOT: Wetlands and Hydrology

Explore wetlands and water without getting your feet wet! The Illinois State Geological Survey is working with IDOT to ensure wetlands are properly restored to compensate for the effects of road construction.

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29IDOT: People and the Changing Environment

How did early people live in the La Grange Wetland area of Illinois? Archaeological investigations conducted as part of this IDOT Wetlands Project revealed evidence for 10,000 years of periodic occupation.

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30IDOT: Claiming Roads for Renewable Energy

IDOT spends many dollars mowing roadside vegetation. What if that wasted resource could be turned into useful energy?

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31Build Illinois

What is a geologist's REAL job? A geologist is a STORYTELLER! Geologists read layers of rock like pages in a book, and tell the story of of what happened long ago. Learn the history of Illinois as it changes from ancient tropical seas to towering swamps to a frozen Ice Age landscape!

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32Spend a Few Minutes with Institute Scientists!

It’s been said that even a bad day in the field is better than a good day in the office! This is certainly true for the Prairie Research Institute scientists. Spend a little time as they share their observations and field work with a series of short videos.

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33Big River, Big Fish

Imagine a 400-gallon fish tank where you can test your fish knowledge and learn more about native and invasive fish found in Illinois!

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34Fisheries Biology

There is more to fishing than meets the eye. Come learn the different techniques used by scientists to better understand fish communities.

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35Traveling Science Center

This mobile classroom features informative and interactive exhibits about the habitats and creatures that call Illinois home.

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36Thirsty?

Chilled, local drinking water is provided by Illinois American Water Company.

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37Illinois American Water Company Mobile Education Center

Learn how water becomes drinking water and conduct your own experiments on Illinois’ drinking water.

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38Flint Knapping

Discover the ancient craft of shaping stone into tools by removing a series of flakes from its surface. Institute personnel will demonstrate basic flint knapping techniques.

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39Archaeology in Illinois: Rocks, Bones, Pots, and People

What can archaeology tell us about the past? We learn how people have lived in Illinois for the past 10,000 years! See an archaeo- logical dig, excavate for artifacts, study animal bones, and “become” an archaeologist!

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40Animal Bones of Illinois

Zooarchaeology is the study of animal bones from archaeological sites. Learn what animal remains and bone and shell tools can teach us about the past in Illinois.

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41Prehistoric Crop Plants in Illinois

What were these plants? How were they used? What happened to them? How do archaeologists study them?

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42After a Storm, Where Does the Water Go?

Scientists will demonstrate the role of floodplains in water management and show how human development within a watershed can alter storm water runoff and flooding.

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43Stream Erosion

A stream table is a visual way to demonstrate how streams affect the landscape and explain the erosion processes that shape stream channels.

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44The “Weather” is Up, Up, and Away!

Our weather mainly comes from the air far above our heads, but how can we measure what’s going on thousands of feet in the air? Experience a tethered weather balloon, free-floating weather balloons, radars, kites, airplanes, and even rockets!

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45Kids Fossil and Mineral Dig

Kids of all ages can dig for minerals or plant and animal fossils. These geologic gems range in age from approximately 280 million to 480 million years old! Spend as much time as you want and keep the one specimen you like the best.

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46The Secret Life of Electronics

How much do you know about the natural resources invested in your electronic devices? Take an interactive quiz to find the impact electronic products have on our lives.

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47Zero Waste Illinois: Waste at Home, onCampus, and Beyond

Explore how “waste” products are actually valuable resources. Learn about zero waste projects across campus and Illinois. Learn to reduce waste in your own home.

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48Is Your School Up to the Challenge?

Are you willing to pit your school building’s sustainability up against other schools? Consider joining the Illinois Green Office Challenge, a contest to reduce the environmental impact of schools and other buildings.

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49What is Sustainability?

Explore the exciting world of all things sustainable. Discover the meaning of “sustainability” and determinecan maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

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50What is a Green Job?

Can sustainability principles be applied to jobs outside of environmental science? Discover a world of possibilities!

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51Reclaiming Lost Topsoil

See how to restore ecological and recreational benefits to lakes that are filling with sediment. Videos and photos will show heavy equipment removingreclaiming it as valuable topsoil.

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52Go Native!

See students working with native plants on home and public landscapes. Get up close and personal with many native plants.

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53See the Light, as Less is More!

By choosing “correct” light bulbs, we can save money and reduce our energy use. Participants will measure the amount of energy consumed by various household light bulbs.

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54Ultrafiltration

Illinois is one of the top 10 states for manufacturing jobs. See how companies use a simple concept to reduce wastes, thus saving money and creating more jobs.

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55A New Route to Cleaner Coal

Coal must be washed before it can generate power. What happens to the water and fine coal particles after the washing process? This wash slurry is stored in ways that often lead to contamination of the local landscape. Advanced technology can eliminate these retention ponds!

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56Buildings Are Cool, Except When They Are Hot

Explore building energy use with a model house and see yourself in predator-vision with infrared cameras!

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5730 Years of Service to Illinois Citizens and Business

Celebrate ISTC’s 30th anniversary and see its contributions to Illinois in reducing pollution and optimizing our use of water and energy.

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58Emerging Contaminants: What Are They and Are They Important?

Learn about pharmaceutical chemicals, personal care products, and hormones. Where do they end up and how can we control this pollution?

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59Biochar: A Win-Win Scenario

See how to produce biochar from yard wastes and agricultural residues and how biochar can be used for carbon sequestration and to increase crop yields.

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60Saving Water, One Drop at a Time

As the human population increases, the demand for clean, fresh water rises. Experience sustainable practices and technologies that businesses, citizens,and organizations in IL are using to conserve water.

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61Waste to Oils

See how to turn waste products—plastic, used tires, fryer fat, animal fat, and many other things—into liquid fuels.

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62Become a Modern Robinson Crusoe

Stranded on a remote island without freshwater, how could you survive? The answer is not so simple— Biochar Supersupercapacitor Desalting!!!

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63The Plight of the World in 5 Minutes

Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Ever wondered what it would be like to live without all of our stuff? These are just two of a variety of short videos on sustainability.

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?Expo Information

Expo information booths are located at the Welcome Tent and near the entrance to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

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Lost Child Room

Room 1003, Forbes Natural History Building

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×Crossing Guard

 

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Handicap EntranceHandicap Entrance

The main entrances of the Forbes Natural History Building and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center are handicap accessible.

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StairsStairs

 

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ElevatorElevator

 

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Women's BathroomWomen's Bathroom

 

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Men's BathroomMen's Bathroom

 

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