New this Month!


July 2013


Register Now for Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Workshops

The following ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) are scheduled for July through September. Go to for more details and to register. Continuing Professional Development Units are available at all ENTICE workshops. Experience ENTICE!


Illinois Birds: Raptors, Decatur, July 17, 2013

Educators of grades four through eight are invited to register for this workshop to learn about the hawks and owls of Illinois. Life history and identification information will be provided. We'll spend time looking for raptors outdoors, too. Staff from the Illinois Raptor Center will bring and discuss raptors. You'll receive many resources to help you incorporate the topic into your curriculum. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the information as appropriate. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2013, OR AS SOON AS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IS REACHED.


Illinois Beetles, Oak Brook, July 25, 2013

The beetles are coming! Join us to study the amazing world of beetles in Illinois. We’ll look at their life history, habitats and importance. Identification skills will be introduced and practiced. We’ll search for beetles in a nearby prairie and woodland. Targeted to educators of grades four through six, hands-on activities and classroom-ready materials will be provided. Educators of other grade levels are welcome to attend the workshop, but they will need to adapt the materials to the grade levels taught, as appropriate. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013.


Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators, McLean, July 31, 2013

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. Did you know that they are important plant pollinators? Attend this workshop, and you’ll work with experts to learn about hummingbirds and other native pollinators and their vital roles in the environment. Get up close with hummingbirds as we capture and band some birds. You will also visit an apiary to learn more about honey bees. Take home many resources to support your teaching. Although targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten through six, other educators are welcome to register for and attend this workshop but may need to adapt the materials, as appropriate. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013.


Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease, Online, September 9 - 22, 2013
Protein synthesis is a topic that many students will not be interested in studying, yet you can make it relevant by using this unit. Prion diseases are caused by errors in protein synthesis. One of those diseases, chronic wasting disease, is affecting the white-tailed deer population in Illinois. During this workshop for high school teachers, you will preview the six lessons and activities, video and other materials in the unit, “Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease.” You'll receive this DVD unit and other supplemental materials. The information from this workshop can be used in teaching about protein synthesis, genetics, DNA replication, wildlife management and other topics. 


Illinois Butterflies, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, September 14, 2013
Flutter in and join other educators of grades kindergarten through six as we are introduced to the butterflies of Illinois! Butterfly life history, identification, conservation and adaptations will be discussed. Information on developing butterfly habitat will also be included. Learn about Monarch Watch and other butterfly conservation programs. We’ll go outside to observe and identify butterflies in native habitats. 


Illinois Pollinators, Cache River Wetlands Visitors Center, Cypress, September 17, 2013
Pollinators are vital components of our ecosystems, but what do you and your students know about them? How can studying them relate to the Next Generation Science Standards? Targeted to educators of grades kindergarten through six, we’ll spend time learning about the types of pollinators in Illinois, their adaptations, relationships to other species and some characteristics to use when identifying them. We’ll also provide some basic information on experimental design to help students answer questions about pollinator foraging. We’ll go outside to see pollinators in action. All educators are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. 


Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators, Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon, September 21, 2013
This workshop for educators of grades prekindergarten through three will provide you with the information and resources that you need to successfully teach about and observe wildlife. We’ll focus on the life history of common wildlife species, and we’ll go on a hike to look for wildlife and their signs. You’ll receive training in using basic equipment. We’ll also discuss developing wildlife habitat on your school grounds. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature. 


More IDNR Resources Trunks Available for Loan

Additional resources trunks from the IDNR have been added at some current lending locations (Rockford, Quincy, Murphysboro, Baldwin, Batavia, Polo, Benton), and new lending sites have been added in Harrisburg, Centralia and Galesburg! The Illinois Wild Mammals, Illinois Insects and Spiders, Illinois Birds and Aquatic Illinois resources trunks are available at these sites now. Visit for links to all the resources trunk Web pages and lending site contact information. Resources trunks are great supplemental educational tools for use by teachers, youth group leaders, scout leaders, church group leaders, camp leaders and nature center personnel. 


IDNR Division of Education YouTube Page

The IDNR Division of Education now has its own YouTube page featuring several educational videos! Go to YouTube and search for “IDNREducation” (no spaces). Videos are being added regularly so check back often!


New Video Podcasts

New video podcasts in two categories have been added to the IDNR Division of Education Podcast Web page, YouTube and iTunes. "What Am I?" segments provide traits of an organism that students try to identify. The first two podcasts in this series are on mammals. Two new "Trail Treks" have been posted, too: "Eldon Hazlet State Park's Tree Trail" and "Volo Bog State Natural Area's Prairie Ridge Trail Scavenger Hunt." The Trail Treks allow the viewer to preview the trail before visiting, utilize the podcast while hiking and review the information again later. Visit or search for them through the iTunes Store and on YouTube.  


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. 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 for download and/or order. Many of the publications have a Spanish-language version, too.


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.


Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards

Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards are informational cards that contain an image on one side and facts on the other side. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, plants, fungi, microorganisms, rocks, minerals and fossils are represented. A poster accompanies each card set to depict all of the cards in the set and provide suggestions for use. Sets #2 - 5 are available. To request cards, please send a note on school letterhead to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. Please specify the set number(s) you are requesting. Teachers are allowed one pack of cards and one poster for each of the sets.


Biodiversity of Illinois CD-ROMs

The Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume I: Aquatic Habitats, Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume II: Woodland Habitats and Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume III: Prairie and Edge Habitats CD-ROMs are field guides to more than 1,000 species and provide a wealth of information for educators and students to use. Order your copies by written request on school letterhead and mail to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.


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