Nature and Science Programs at Wonder Works


About Eric, the Resident Scientist at Wonder Works

In addition to working as Resident Scientist and Early Learning Specialist at Wonder Works, I am also a part-time stay-at-home-dad, part-time museum consultant, and full-time naturalist-slash-paleontologist who lives in south Oak Park.

Most of the activities we do doing for Nature Works are variations on things I did with my sons as they were growing up. Back then they were interested in turtles, dinosaurs, rocks, bugs, cars, trucks, and Pokemon. Now Aaron and Ethan are nationally known birders, even though they are only 18 and 19 years old. Aaron is now a senior at OPRF High School, and he works at Wonder Works on weekends. Ethan is a Sophomore biology major at University of Rochester, and we works summers at Field Museum of Natural History in the Bird Department. (You can read about the younger versions of my sons in the Wednesday Journal.)

As I’ve been working on this summer’s programs, I realized that I’ve been volunteering and working with Wonder Works for more than 20 years:

  • Before Wonder Works opened its first building, I was on the Education Committee, helping make big plans for Oak Park’s soon-to-be new museum.
  • When he was just a baby, I took Ethan to the very first Wonder Works building in downtown Oak Park. There were big art tables, but Ethan was too young to paint. Instead he put brushes in cups and then dumped them on the floor.
  • During the years that Wonder Works was between buildings, I continued on various committees. I also helped with “pre-opening” programs, including the very first Dino Works program at Concordia University.
  • When Wonder Works first opened at its current location, I did weekly nature and science programs for the first summer and monthly programs for the next few years. That’s when I called, “Nature Guy.” (I think it was David’s idea.) Here’s what’s left of the website I developed for those programs: http://saltthesandbox.org/wonderworks/
  • Now I work part time at Wonder Works as Resident Scientist and Early Learning Specialist.

By the way, this is what I look like when I’m in the field (which averages a couple of hours a day). You may see me wandering south Oak Park or Columbus Park, counting birds:

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