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Deep Roots Program

A New Environmental Program for Students K-3rd Grade

Developed and Written by Environmental Educators: 
Jackie Flanagan, Louise Kelly, Jean Kent

A dynamic, 45-minute presentation leaving students with a greater connection to the land that we live on here in Illinois: The Prairie!

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What if Illinois residents considered themselves as "People of the Prairie" (Deep Roots Program)? What if we experienced belonging to this land as deeply as the roots of prairie plants belong in the ground? With more than 95% of our original prairie gone, we need prairie restoration now.  As the climate changes, storms become more severe. We need more prairies, more tall grasses with deep roots, to soak up the water.

The Deep Roots Program experience creates an innate connection for children to the natural world through music, imagination, dance and storytelling.  

Let's learn about the prairie!

Illinois Prairie Plants
grow Deep Roots

Meet Eagle and Owl

Children ages K-3rd grade will be delighted by Eagle and Owl as they:

  • Educate about prairie plants and animals

  • Engage through song and dance

  • Inspire students through the collective creation of a (musical) prairie

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WEBSITE Owl Headshot.jpg

Bring Deep Roots to your Community

This assembly-style performance can take a number of shapes and forms, from workshops and residency programs for elementary schools, to park districts and forest preserves. 

The intended audience is early elementary school, from kindergarten to 3rd grade.

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From this interactive, musical experience children will develop empathy for living creatures and the land.

This Deep Roots video is shared with educators a week before the Program and plants the seeds for the live educational experience. Students will be introduced to the plants and animals of the prairie in a fun, animated format.  

"Deep Roots" was written by Louise Kelly, produced by Daniel Oldham, and animated by Kelsey Boncato. Partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Illinois: The Prairie State

"Deep Roots" teaches Illinois children about the deep roots of prairie plants, encouraging them to grow their own deep roots into this land we live on.


The program is grateful for partial support by

the Illinois Arts Council Agency





The Deep Roots Program was developed from a collaboration between

  • Louise Kelly, musician/ singer-songwriter/ educator 


  • SCARCE, an award-winning sustainability center.

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