New this Month!


September 2013


Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant

It’s not too early to start working on your application for the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program! Teachers and youth-group leaders may apply for up to $1,000 through this competitive grant program to develop or enhance wildlife habitat in the schoolyard or other public place. Sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation, funding for this program is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, an Environmental Education Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Jadel Youth Fund and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation. Visit for details. Be sure to view the video podcasts and other information to assist you in completing the application form.


Let the IDNR Resources Trunks help bring Your Lessons to Life!

Now is the perfect time to make reservations to use the IDNR’s resources trunks this fall! The 10 topics available supplement your lessons in many ways and provide hands-on resources that can enliven your teaching. 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. There have been several lending site changes recently, so check the Web pages to see if there are new trunks in your area. Don’t forget that the Field Trip Pack for early childhood educators is available, too! Coming Soon: Next Generation Science Standards-based lessons using the IDNR resources trunks.


What Am I? and Hey IDNR, How Do I . . .? Series Join the Video Podcasts Lineup

Have you used the video podcasts from the IDNR Division of Education yet? There are a variety of topics and options. They can help you to preview and plan lessons as well as provide you with teaching tools and tips for completing grant applications. We have added more “What Am I?” features and will soon be posting “Hey IDNR, How Do I . . .?” podcasts on a variety of outdoor-related topics. Visit or search for them through the iTunes Store and on YouTube (search for “IDNREducation”).  


Register Now for Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Workshops

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


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 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. Correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards will be provided. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2013.


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. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2013.


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. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013.


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. Correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards will be provided. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2013.


Illinois Biodiversity 101, Online, November 5 - 17, 2013

What is biodiversity? Why is it important? Does Illinois have much biodiversity? We’ll answer these and many other questions in this introduction to the natural resources of our state. Numerous supplemental educational items will be provided. Although targeted to educators of grades five through eight, educators other grade levels are welcome to register but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate.


Visit the IDNR Division of Education Booth at Upcoming Teacher Conferences

The IDNR Division of Education will be hosting an exhibitor’s booth at these upcoming teacher conferences. Stop by to pick up educational resources to supplement your teaching and find out how our programs can assist you.

September 21, Golden Apple Teachers’ Conference, Lansing

October 2-4, Sharing a Vision Teachers’ Conference, Springfield

October 11, Bond-Fayette-Effingham Counties Regional Office of Education Teachers’ Conference, Vandalia (presentations only)

October 19, Chicago Foundation for Education Teachers’ Conference, Chicago

October 24-25, Illinois Science Educators’ Conference, Tinley Park

October 24-25, Hamilton-Jefferson Counties Regional Office of Education Teachers’ Conference, Mt. Vernon

October 31-November 1, Illinois State Library Media Association Conference, Springfield

November 8-9, Illinois Conference for Exceptional Children Teachers’ Conference, Lisle

December 8-10, Raising Student Achievement Teachers’ Conference, St. Charles


Habitat Work Days at Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside

The Habitat Restoration and Stewardship Team (HRST) at the IDNR’s Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside is seeking volunteers to tackle exotic invasive species and help restore native plants! Each session may involve pulling, cutting, planting and gathering seeds. Dress for the weather and bring drinking water and work gloves. Reservations are requested at 815-344-1294 or Walk-ins are welcome, but the session may be canceled if minimum registration is not met in advance. 

The North Bench Overlook Project, Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., September 12, 26; October 10, 24; November 7

Adults and Children (ages 10 and older), Project: cutting brush on a hill  

Chipmunk Woods Family Work Day Habitat Project, Sundays, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., September 1, 15, 29; October 27; November 10, 24  

Adults and Children (ages 7 and older), Project: cutting brush  

Herbicide Certification Sessions at Volo Bog State Natural Area

August 18,  1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

August 31,  10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Not all HRST volunteers apply herbicide, but in order to do so on state lands, training and certification are required. These brief sessions include safety, techniques and specific examples. Registration is requested at 815-344-1294 or Walk-ins are welcome, but the session may be cancelled if minimum registration is not met in advance. Adults only. Participants must pledge to volunteer for at least four habitat work day sessions in the next 12 months.


Dickson Mounds Museum Upcoming Programs

The following programs have been scheduled at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. Visit the Museum’s Web site at or call 309-547-3721 for more information.


Native American Game Day

Spend an afternoon enjoying a variety of intellectually stimulating and physically challenging Native American games.

Sunday, October 20, 2013, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., free, all ages


November Night Hike

Enjoy the sounds of a brisk fall evening during a hike at Dickson Mounds. Keep your eyes open for wildlife and listen to stories around a campfire. Please dress appropriately for the weather and terrain. Bring a flashlight.

Friday, November 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., free, all ages


Hickory Ridge Coffee House Concert Series

Performances by noted folk musicians are held the third Saturday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by singer-songwriter Chris Vallillo. Admission: $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children. For a listing of upcoming shows go to or call the Museum at 309-547-3721.


Fun for Moms and Tots at Dickson Mounds

Moms and tots are welcome at Dickson Mounds Museum on the first Thursday of the month from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. for fun, hands-on educational activities. Spend quality time with your tot, while each of you makes new friends. Meetings will be held in the Museum’s Discovery Center and will have a different activity each month. Admission is free. Visit the Museum’s Web site at or call 309-547-3721 for more information.


Illinois Valley Archaeological Society

Join us for monthly presentations on a variety of archaeological topics. Admission is free. Visit the Museum’s Web site at or call 309-547-3721 for more information.


Illinois Conservation Foundation Scholarships for High School Seniors

The Illinois Conservation Foundation offers the Conservation Achievement Scholarship to promote the value of our natural world and encourage the next generation of leaders to engage in personal efforts to preserve and enhance a sustainable outdoor environment. This opportunity is available to outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who have demonstrated effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection, enhancement and/or promotion of Illinois’ natural resources. Three scholarships, of $2,000.00 each, will be awarded for the 2013-2014 school year. These scholarships are one-time awards that are not renewable. Scholarship funds may be used for the following expenses related to the two- or four-year college or university degree that the scholarship recipient is pursuing: tuition; college/university fees; textbooks; room and board at the college/university. Funds are mailed directly to the college/university of the successful applicants. Questions should be addressed to the Illinois Conservation Foundation at 2177852003 or


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.


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