New this Month!


August 2014


Kids for Conservation®: Photos and other Information Needed for Web Page and Illinois State Fair

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education is launching the Kids for Conservation® program in an online format! See We are asking for your help in letting youth know about the program and our first photo and information request from them. We are featuring images of monarch butterflies (all life stages) taken by youth (younger than 18 years of age) in Illinois on our Kids for Conservation® Web page and in Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in August. The photos should not include people. We will post the first name and age of the photographer with each photograph, so please include that information. We are only accepting digital images, and no more than three images per youth. We will also accept images of milkweed plants. Images should be emailed to Let’s see how many monarchs we can find in this great, large state! NEW! We are also accepting stories and poems about monarchs, artwork about monarchs and writing about experiences involving monarchs. All work should be original by Illinois youth. Send entries to along with your first name and age. We also want to hear from at least one youth in every county in the state telling us that they have seen a monarch in Illinois in 2014. Send your name, age and name of the county to We’ll have new requests each month!


Check Out Resources Trunks and Packs to Support Your Programming

Make your reservations now to borrow the IDNR's Field Trip Packs and resources trunks for all of your upcoming programs! The trunks and packs are loaded with hands-on materials that provide resources close up for youth and that encourage nature exploration. Lessons, laminated posters, CD-ROMs, DVDs and many other items are included, too. Visit for links to all of the trunks and packs. You'll be able to access the contact information for the lending locations and more details about the trunk contents. A two-week lending period is suggested. Coming soon! Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack


New Video Podcasts

Several new video podcasts have been added to the IDNR Division of Education’s podcast Web site at and to the YouTube ( site and iTunes Store. New video podcasts in the Kids for Conservation® Monarch Mania! series and the “What Am I?” series are available. Visit the page often. New video podcasts are added regularly.


Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Schedule

Register now for upcoming ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) workshops from the IDNR. ENTICE workshops offer training on Illinois-specific topics and supply you with the tools needed to implement the topic into your curriculum immediately. Participants learn from resources professionals, take part in activities and spend time outdoors (where appropriate). Professional Development Hours are available at all ENTICE workshops. Listed below are the workshops scheduled through November 2014. For workshop details and to register, visit


Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease, Online, September 8-21, 2014

Conserving Wildlife, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, September 13, 2014

Woodland Hibernators, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, September 20, 2014

Resources Trunks from the IDNR, Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress, September 23, 2014

Illinois Pollinators, University of Illinois Pollinatarium, Urbana, September 27, 2014

Tree Squirrels, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook, October 3, 2014

Wild Cats, Shawnee National Forest, Jonesboro, October 4, 2014

Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, Online, October 6-19, 2014

Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Fall, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, November 8, 2014

Winter Wildlife on the Prairie, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington, November 15, 2014


Late Summer and Fall Programs from Dickson Mounds Museum

Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown has added many programs for late summer and fall. For more information, contact the Museum at 309-547-3721 or visit All events are free of charge, but donations are appreciated.


Tot Time

Adults and their tots will have fun exploring, discovering and learning on the first Thursday of the month from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. in the Museum’s Discovery Center. Spend quality time with your tot, while each of you makes new friends. A different topic and craft will be featured each month. Registration is not required and admission is free. Participants will enjoy light refreshments. This program series is sponsored by Havana National Bank and MidAmerica National Bank with additional support from the Canton Cook Medical Team. Topics are as follows: August-Camouflaged Animals; September-Upon a Cloudy Sky; October-Cool Cats; November-Gobble, Gobble; December-Game Day.   


Buggy Night!

Join us as we discover what types of bugs are active at night. Bug enthusiast Jim Wiker will demonstrate how to attract an array of bugs and teach participants how to identify them. Scouts are encouraged to participate in this program as it may fulfill some badge requirements. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014, 8:00 p.m., all ages


Nature Trek: Viewing the Night Sky

Join us as we relax on the Museum’s Observation Deck to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. Watch as bright meteors zip by in the early morning hours before dawn, a peak time for meteor activity. The darkness over the landscape makes this an ideal location for viewing. Viewing begins at 4:00 a.m.  Participants may bring a lawn/camping chair or blanket for comfort. Afterwards enjoy a light breakfast and the sunrise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 4:00 a.m., all ages


Nature Trek: Telling Time in Ancient North America

Bill Iseminger, Assistant Manager, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, will present this lecture as part of the Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholars Speaker’s Bureau. Humans have been measuring time for thousands of years. Without a cell phone or clock around to tell if one was running late for the hunt or needed to prepare for harvesting season, the earliest human civilizations had to rely on other methods to schedule their days and nights. Discover the various timekeeping methods employed by these ancient civilizations in North America. Whether natural formations on the horizon or artificial, man-made structures, their calendars made use of the sun, moon, and certain bright stars to measure time. Learn about the Woodhenge sun circles of Cahokia Mounds, America's and Illinois' first city, other prehistoric Indian sites in eastern North America, the Pueblo structures in the Southwest, and the rock circle “Medicine Wheels” of the Great Plains—all evidence of the great innovators who looked to the sky to know what time it was. Light refreshments will be served after the program.

Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1:00 p.m., all ages


Open House

See the development of three new exhibits: Native American history 1673-1832; early American Settlement 1800-1830; and the Emiquon Gallery. We will also open the Museum’s archaeology laboratory and collection to the public. Visitors may enjoy samples of educational programs, hands-on crafts, live musical entertainment and light refreshments.

Sunday, September 14, 2014, 12:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m., all ages


Rendezvous Encampment

Learn what life was like on the Illinois frontier during the Spoon River Scenic Drive.

Saturdays and Sundays, October 4-5, 2014 and October 11-12, 2014, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., all ages


Native American Game Day

Spend an afternoon enjoying a variety of intellectually stimulating and physically challenging Native American games. Scouts are encouraged to participate in this event as it may fulfill some badge requirements. The event will be held outdoors. In the case of inclement weather, activities will be moved inside the Museum. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014, 1:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m., all ages


Goin’ Batty!

Join us as we learn all about bats. Enjoy hands-on activities and crafts. Live bat presentation courtesy of Incredible Bats will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium. Seating is limited. Tickets are available beginning at 1:00 p.m. the day of the program on a first come, first served basis.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 1:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m., all ages


Kid’s Day--Ancient Art in Illinois

Discover the variety of art people created long ago. Enjoy hands-on activities and crafts to take home. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014, 1:00 p.m., 5 years + with adult


Family Night at the Museum

Explore the Museum at night. Then, snuggle up by the “fire” for some good ole’ fashioned storytelling by Marilyn A. Kinsella, Taleypo the Storyteller. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 7:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m., all ages


Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #6

The latest set in the Illinois' Natural Resources Trading Cards series has arrived! Illinois' Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #6 from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is now available! Send your request on school letterhead to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. Nonformal educators may submit a request on their organization's stationary. These cards can be used as resources in many ways to supplement your teaching.


Project Squirrel Mobile Phone App

With the new Project Squirrel mobile phone app, your students can easily become involved in citizen science activities that can be incorporated into lessons to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The app is free and both Apple and Android versions are available. Go to iTunes or the Google Play Store and download the app today. All citizens can take part in the data collection. Lessons to support squirrel observations will be posted soon at  You can learn more about Project Squirrel at The Project Squirrel mobile phone app is sponsored by the Chicago Academy of Science’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the IDNR, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Motorola. 


Dickson Mounds Museum Offers Workshops for Teachers

Educators! Gather together and schedule a workshop at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, Illinois.  Workshops may be a half- or full-day experience and include a behind-the-scenes look at the museum, facility tours and hands-on activities, including archaeological work, nature observation, hiking, canoeing and biological laboratory work. See what kinds of opportunities Dickson Mounds and its Emiquon partners, The Nature Conservancy, University of Illinois at Springfield Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have to offer youth and adults. A minimum of six teachers is required per workshop. Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum and a National Historic Site, is one of the major on-site archaeological museums in the United States. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of the American Indian in an awe inspiring journey through 12,000 years of human experience in the Illinois River Valley. Dickson Mounds Museum's workshops provide Continuing Professional Development Units. Workshops may be tailored upon request. Contact Curator of Education Christa Christensen by phone at 309-547-3721 or to schedule your workshop or for more information. Also, visit for current program and event listings.   


IDNR Publications

Do you need Illinois-specific, scientifically based resources to support your lessons? Then visit the IDNR Publications Order Form at You’ll find activity books, posters and many other publications available to download and/or order. Many of the publications have a Spanish-language version, too. Illinois Trees: An Education and Activity Book, Illinois Prairies Coloring Poster, Aquatic Resources Crossword Puzzle and A to Z from a Tree student activity sheet are just some of the items available to teachers. Order now!


IDNR Division of Education List Server

Educators throughout Illinois can obtain instant notification about new products, scheduled workshops and many other events and items from the IDNR through the IDNR Division of Education's electronic list server. By participating in the list server, you will receive email messages when new educational materials are available from the IDNR. You'll also be made aware of upcoming workshops and special opportunities. To join the list, send an email to You do not need to write any text in the message or the subject line. You may leave the list at any time by sending an email to You do not need to write any text in the message or the subject line. There is no charge to participate. Messages are usually titled "Items of Possible Interest" in the subject line


IDNR Education offers Field Trip Tips for Educators

Visit to access information that will help you and your students have a successful outdoor experience at an Illinois state park. You can find the state park nearest to you and a list of its amenities. By clicking on the category names in the “Lesson Topics” feature, you can link to the IDNR lesson plans and materials that will help you teach about the habitats, organisms and/or history of each park. Lessons for pre-trip, on site and post-trip are available in downloadable PDF format. Field trip etiquette and planning are also discussed. After deciding on your destination, why not apply for an Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant? You’ll find a link to that information on this Web site, too.


Wildlife in the Classroom

Has a student ever brought an animal into your classroom and asked you to keep it? Have you ever found a feather or a bird’s nest and wanted to use it to supplement your lessons? Do you know the Illinois and federal laws that apply to these situations? Teachers often come in contact with wildlife or wildlife remains, willingly or not. It is important for you to know what to do in these situations. The IDNR Division of Education has produced a reference document for your use. Wildlife in the Classroom is not all-encompassing, but it will provide you with basic information about possessing wildlife and wildlife remains. You can download the publication at If you would like to read the entire Wildlife Code for Illinois, you can access it at


We’re on Facebook!

Visit our Facebook page to find the latest updates about the materials and programs of the IDNR Education Section. You’ll also find images from ENTICE workshops! Search for “Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Education.”


Illinois Trapper Education Online Course

The IDNR offers an online course for those interested in learning to trap. People who are required to complete a course before purchasing a trapping license now have two choices. They can take a full-day course in the classroom or complete half of the requirement online and half in the classroom, where they learn hands-on skills such as setting traps and preparing pelts for sale.


Courses are free. The IDNR encourages all trappers, regardless of age, to take a course. First-time trappers under 18 years of age must complete a course and pass a written exam before they are allowed to purchase a trapping license. Those under 16 years of age must also have written permission from a parent or guardian before purchasing a license.


Illinois Trapper Education Online ( covers topics such as trapping equipment, laws and ethics through online film clips, reading materials, quizzes, photos and illustrations. Students can exit the course and resume work where they left off at any time. The course is accessible using a basic dial-up connection, although high speed connections work best.


At the end of the Internet course, students must successfully complete the final exam online and download a printable document of completion. Students must present the document when attending the four-hour training session with instructors. To locate an instructor-taught course, visit or call 1-800-832-2599. The Ameritech Relay for the deaf and hearing impaired is 1-800-526-0844.


Wild Illinois History Leads Students on a Journey to Learn About History and Wildlife Conservation

The IDNR is offering a "virtual" trip for late-elementary schoolteachers, students and their parents. With a few mouse clicks, students can journey back to the earliest days of the Illinois Territory when voyageurs and Native Americans hunted the prairies, forests and rivers. Wild Illinois History helps students in grades three through five focus on early French exploration, along with river and settlement geography. Students can learn how wildlife helped Native Americans and early settlers survive. They also can see how wildlife is a part of our lives today. A fictional French trapper in the 18th century Illinois Territory leads students on the trip. Brief story-telling slideshows are mixed with fun, interactive activities. For teachers, Wild Illinois History offers lesson plans, activities, photos, posters and correlations to Illinois Learning Standards. Try it out at For more information, contact Bob Bluett, IDNR Wildlife Diversity Coordinator at 217-782-7580 or