New this Month!


July 2014


Kids for Conservation®: Photos Needed for Initial Online Issue and Illinois State Fair

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Division of Education is reviving the Kids for Conservation® program in an online format. We will be making more announcements in the coming weeks and launching the program in August by featuring monarch butterflies. We are asking for your help in letting youth know about the program and our first request from them. We will feature images of monarch butterflies (all life stages) in Illinois on our Kids for Conservation® Web page and in Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in August. Photos must be taken in Illinois by an Illinois youth. 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. Images should be emailed to Let’s see how many monarchs we can find in this great, large state!


Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board

The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will hold a public hearing and written comment period to receive comments and evidence regarding the Board’s proposed changes to the Illinois List of Endangered and Threatened Species. The public hearing will be from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, 2014, in the Meeting Room of the Illinois Audubon Society, Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, 2315 East Clear Lake Avenue, Springfield, IL 62703. The written comment period will begin at noon on June 26, 2014, and will close at midnight on July 11, 2014. Instructions for submitting comments and evidence, a list of the Board’s proposed changes, and additional references can be found on the Board’s Web page for  The List Review and Revision Process and the 2014 Review and Revision


Check Out Resources Trunks and Packs to Support Your Summer Programming

Make your reservations now to borrow the IDNR's Field Trip Packs and resources trunks for all of your summer 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. Ten topics are available. 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® "Hey IDNR, How Do I. . .? ®" series and "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 September 30, 2014. For workshop details and to register, visit


Illinois Prairies, Rock Springs Nature Center, Decatur, July 11, 2014
Imagining the vast prairies of Illinois’ past is difficult, but you can visit an existing prairie if you join us for this workshop at Rock Springs Nature Center. Designed for educators of grades kindergarten through eight, you’ll learn about prairie ecology as well as the history of the prairie in Illinois and how humans have affected prairies. We’ll talk a walk through the prairie and discuss the prairie plants that we find. Illinois-specific educational resources will be provided and suggestions will be given for using the prairie and prairie-related resources from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help you meet Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the information.


Alien Invaders: They are Here!, U.S. Forest Service Shawnee National Forest Office, Harrisburg, July 18, 2014
What are invasive species? How did they arrive in Illinois? What are issues related to them? These and many other questions will be answered at this workshop for teachers of grades six through 12. We'll discuss numerous invasive exotic plants, insects and animals that are present in our state, including their life history, identification and control. We'll also get outdoors by taking a walk to look for invasive plants, and there will be some great hands on, engaging activities that you will be able to take back to your classroom, nature center, etc. The Illinois’ Invasive Species resources trunk and its connections to the Next Generation Science Standards will be featured.


Illinois Beetles, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook, August 1, 2014
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 eight, 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.


Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon, September 6, 2014

How’s your habitat? Join us to learn how you and your students can take action to improve wildlife habitat on your school grounds. Educators of grades kindergarten through 12 will learn basic habitat design, development and maintenance techniques. Become aware of grant opportunities and obtain supplemental materials to help you get started with your own schoolyard habitat development. Continuing Professional Development Units are available. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


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

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 junior high and 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 and helps you to meet several of the Next Generation Science Standards at the junior high and high school levels.


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

What are endangered and threatened species? Why are there endangered and threatened species in Illinois? What efforts are being made to conserve species? These questions will be answered as we discuss wildlife conservation. We’ll visit a new related exhibit in the museum, too. In this year marking the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction, learn how you and your students can help to make a difference for wildlife. Although targeted to educators of grades four through 12, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to attend but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate.


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

Join us as we explore the habits of mammals and other hibernating animals at The Morton Arboretum. We’ll uncover how these animals conserve energy and prepare for the changing seasons in Illinois. We’ll participate in activities that you can use with your students, and we’ll go outside to learn more about these unique cycles. Supplemental educational resources will be provided. While all educators are welcome to participate, activities are best suited for grades two through six.


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

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers resources trunks and packs for loan to educators statewide. These teaching tools are loaded with hands-on, supplemental, Illinois-specific items that can make your lessons come alive for students! Join us at this workshop to preview all 10 resource trunks and the two field packs. We’ll examine the trunk contents, discuss how they can be used in the classroom and take part in activities. You’ll receive many resources, too! This workshop is appropriate for teachers of grades prekindergarten through 12.


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

Explore the hidden world of pollinators and their unique relationship with the plants they pollinate. This workshop will give you a hands-on look at plants and pollinators in action at the University of Illinois' Pollinatarium and a nearby prairie. You’ll experience hands-on activities that can be instantly implemented into your curriculum. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through six, all educators are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Supplemental resources will be provided.


Summer Programs from Dickson Mounds Museum

Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown has added many summer programs. For more information, contact the Museum at 309-547-3721 or visit


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: July-Something is Fishy; August-Camouflaged Animals.


Summer Fun Fridays!

Join us every Friday from June 13-July 26 for mini-adventures, hands-on activities and fun while learning about science in the world around us. Registration is required with a deadline of the Wednesday before each Friday program. 

Date: June 13-July 25       Day: Friday          Time: 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Fee: $3 for Illinois State Museum Society (ISMS) members and $5 for non-members per program

Ages: 9-11


Nature Track: Experience a Voyageur Canoe

Join us and bring your friends because we’ll need a lot of people to paddle a 28- and 34-foot voyageur canoe! Learn about history, geology and biology as you paddle on Thompson Lake. Registration is required, and you will be provided with the information to obtain a free, necessary permit/waiver form.  Minors must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. Seating is limited. Call the Museum at 309-547-3721 to register.

Date: July 12, 2014, with a rain date of July 26, 2014          Day: Saturday     Time: 9:00 a.m. 

Fee: free, donations welcomed   Age: all ages


Flying WILD Educator Training Workshop 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shawnee National Forest Headquarters

50 State Highway 145 South, Harrisburg, Illinois 62946

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Registration Deadline:  July 17, 2014

Cost:  $20.00

Professional Development Hours: 3


Flying WILD is an educational program that provides interactive, interdisciplinary, standards-based activities to help students understand the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Targeted for the middle grades, adaptable to other levels, the program includes teacher-led, student-led and volunteer-led learning activities. The workshop is suitable for youth group leaders, preschool through middle school educators, classroom and home schooling educators, interpreters, volunteers, support groups as PTA, PTO, friends groups, etc. To obtain more information contact Molie Oliver, 618-657-2064, Wednesday – Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or Molie.Oliver@illinois.govRegister at, see Education.


Topics:  basic bird biology, identification and ecology, bird conservation learning activities


Participants will receive:

·         the 366-page manual, Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds

·         correlations of Flying WILD activities with Illinois Learning Standards

·         resource materials

·         completion certificate

·         correlated to Boy Scout, Girl Scout awards, National Science Education.


Developed by Council for Environmental Education. Partnership of Lincoln Park Zoo, Illinois Audubon Society-Flying WILD, and the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. 


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! Due to limited supplies, these cards will be offered to teachers in Illinois schools first. Send your request on school letterhead to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. After six months, if any card sets remain, they will be distributed to nonformal educators in Illinois, too. Nonformal educators may submit a request on their organization's stationary now. Requests will be held and filled in the order that they are received as long as supplies remain available. These cards can be used as resources in so 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. 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, A to Z from a Tree student activity sheet and What Good is a Dead Tree? 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