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IDNR Monthly Update

November 2014

1. Kids for Conservation®: Photos, Observations and Stories/Poems/Artwork Needed for November

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) Division of Education’s Kids for Conservation® November topic is “waterfowl.” We will feature images of waterfowl species in Illinois, stories/poems/artwork about waterfowl in Illinois and a map with locations highlighted where waterfowl species have been seen in our state. Photos and all other submissions must be the products of Illinois youth (younger than age 18 years). The photos should not include people. We will post the first name and age of the author or photographer with each submission, so please include that information. We are only accepting digital photographs, and no more than three photographs per youth. Images and written submissions should be emailed to We also want Illinois youth to tell us if they have seen a waterfowl species in Illinois this year. Send us your first name, age and the county where you saw the duck, goose, swan, pied-billed grebe or American coot. Visit to see our latest Kids for Conservation® issue. December’s feature will be Illinois’ permanent wildlife residents and how they survive in winter.

2. Podcasts Available on Many Topics

Let the IDNR Division of Education's video podcasts help you teach about a variety of topics. There are basic informational podcasts as well as those to help you prepare for teaching lessons from the IDNR. The Hey IDNR, How Do I. . .? podcasts provide instructions for students in a variety of tasks. We also have virtual tours of several sites. Visit our Web page at or go to our YouTube and iTunes pages to access the podcasts.

3. Additional Illinois Wild Mammals Resources Trunks Added

The popular Illinois Wild Mammals resources trunks from the IDNR's Division of Education are now available at an additional 10 locations. Lending locations for this trunk have been added in Woodstock, Chicago, Olney, Shelbyville, Frankfort, Waterloo, Jacksonville, Watseka, Carrollton and East Dubuque. Look for the contact information at and make your reservation today! Access the lessons based on this trunk that will help you to meet Next Generation Science Standards at

4. Visit our Booth at Upcoming Teachers' Conferences

The IDNR Division of Education will be hosting a booth and making presentations at several upcoming teachers' conferences. Be sure to stop by to talk with us to learn more about our educational resources.

November 6-8 Science in the South Teachers' Conference, Carbondale

November 6-8 Illinois State Library Media Association Conference, Tinley Park

November 7, Illinois Council for Exceptional Children Teachers' Conference, Naperville

November 15, 38th Day of Reading Teachers' Conference, Tinley Park

December 7-9, Raising Student Achievement Conference, St. Charles

5. Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Funds Available – Applications Due Soon!

Would you like to help monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and other pollinators by installing a native plant garden? How about adding a butterfly garden to the school grounds to support teaching many Next Generation Science Standards? Have you ever considered how a schoolyard prairie, arboretum or outdoor classroom could enhance learning? The IDNR Division of Education and the Illinois Conservation Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program offer funding through the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program for projects like these. Teachers and youth group leaders may receive up to $1,000 for these projects. Visit for more information and to access the application form. The application deadline is November 30. Additional funding is provided by the Jadel Family Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.

6. Wildlife in the Classroom

The Wildlife in the Classroom publication from the IDNR has been revised to reflect changes in the Wildlife Code. You can access this publication at Educators often come into contact with wildlife or wildlife parts and should be aware of the relevant laws. Wildlife in the Classroom is recommended reading for all educators.

7. Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack

Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack is the latest addition to the field packs and resources trunk series for loan from the IDNR Division of Education. The pack contains binoculars, field guides, magnifying glasses, a head lamp, frog call recordings and many other items. You can access the content list and lending locations at Visit for links to all of the resources trunks and packs. These supplemental tools are great for use by teachers, nonformal educators, youth group leaders and families.

8. Monarch Mania! Information

Monarch populations are in decline, and we want people to be aware of this issue and what they can do to help reverse this situation. Monarch Mania! was the IDNR Division of Education’s theme at the Illinois State Fair. You can access our information, list of educator resources, video podcasts and SMARTBoard™ activities at The video podcasts are also available on the Web site at, YouTube ( and through the iTunes Store.

9. 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 March 31, 2015. For workshop details and to register, visit


Winter Wildlife on the Prairie, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington, November 15, 2014 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2014.

Illinois Woodlands 101, Online, January 12-25, 2015

Animal Communities, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, February 21, 2015

Tracks, Scats and Habitats, Shawnee National Forest Office, Harrisburg, March 21, 2015

Tracks, Scats and Habitats, Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean, March 31, 2015

10. Central Illinois Educators: Fishing and Aquatic Ecology Programs Now Available from the IDNR

Educators, if you teach in any of the following counties, the IDNR can help you bring hands-on aquatic education to your students. These programs work to develop positive attitudes towards natural resources, conservation and fishing in young people. Lessons align with the state and national learning standards and are adapted to all grade levels. For more information or to schedule a program, contact Van Grissom at 217-720-3501 or

Adams, Brown, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Hancock, Iroquois, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Vermillion

11. Illinois Coastal Management Program Grants

The Illinois Coastal Management Program will be accepting applications for Illinois Coastal Grants for environmental education and outreach projects and sustainable coastal planning projects. New for this year will be proposals for habitat restoration projects and small grants. Application materials will be available at Illinois Coastal Grant Program Website at starting November 1, 2014. Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 15, 2014.

Grant Information Session
When: Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Room 31, 9th floor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(Please RSVP to ID required for building entry.)

All potential applicants are invited to sign up for a one-on-one consultation about your project idea. The signup calendar is available at, or you can email Lisa Cotner at

12. Project Squirrel Mobile Phone App

With the 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. 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. Correlations to Next Generation Science Standards are available at

13. 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.

14. 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!

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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