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Illinois Virtual School Online Professional Development Opportunities

Mid-Illini Educational Cooperative

IDNR Monthly Update

July 2014

1. 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!

2. 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

3. 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.

4. 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. REGISTRATION CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014.

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. REGISTRATION IS CLOSING SOON.

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.

5. Flying WILD Educator Training Workshop

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Shawnee National Forest Headquarters
0 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 Register 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.