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IDNR Monthly Update

January 2015


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

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) Division of Education’s Kids for Conservation® program is requesting information monthly from Illinois youth (younger than age 18). We will feature images, stories/poems/artwork about our topic and a map with locations highlighted. Visit for details. January’s featured topic is owls in Illinois. Kids for Conservation® is great for participation by students, youth groups and families. February's topic will be "Animal Signs."


2. Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Funds Available – Application Deadline is January 31! Webinar to be Held on January 7!

Are your students learning about habitats like prairies, woodlands or wetlands? Have you taught them about trees, mammals, butterflies, birds or other wild organisms that live in Illinois? Would you like to involve them in stream monitoring by studying aquatic macroinvertebrates? These and many other topics can be used to make your lessons come alive by having the students participate in a field trip. The IDNR Division of Education and the Illinois Conservation Foundation offer funding through theIllinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program to help make your field trip possible. Teachers and home-schooling educators may receive up to $500 each to take their students on a field trip to study Illinois' natural resources. Visit for details and to access the application form. The application deadline is January 31. Funding is provided by the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie. Join us from3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on January 7, 2015, for a Webinar about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant. Visit on January 7, 2015, for login instructions. 


3. Apply Now for Earth Day in the Parks!

Earth Day in the Parks, the IDNR's natural-resources stewardship program for students, will be held in April and May 2015 at participating Illinois state parks. Applications will be accepted from January 1 – February 28, 2015. Visit to access the application form and the list of participating state parks. Information on this Web site will be updated regularly so check back often.


4. Standards-based Lesson Plans

The IDNR offers lessons developed with Illinois Learning Standards as their foundation. You can download them at or You'll find several topics to choose from for a variety of grade levels. 


5. 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.


6. 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. Make your spring resources trunks reservations now!


7. Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Schedule

Register today 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 May 31, 2015. For workshop details and to register, visit


Illinois Woodlands 101, Online, January 12-25, 2015 REGISTRATION CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 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

Using Resources Trunks to Teach the NGSS, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, April 11, 2015

Illinois Biodiversity 101, Online, April 13-26, 2015

Illinois Wetland Ecosystem Organisms, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, April 18, 2015

Using Children's Nonfiction in Prek-Second Grade Science, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, April 25, 2015

Using Children's Nonfiction in Prek-Second Grade Science, Western Illinois University Moline Campus, Moline, May 2, 2015

Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Heller Nature Center, Highland Park, May 9, 2015

Aquatic Ecosystems: Lake Michigan Ecology, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, May 16, 2015


8. Central Illinois Educators: Fishing and Aquatic Ecology Programs 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


9. Winter Programs from Dickson Mounds Museum

Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown has many programs scheduled for winter. For more information, contact the Museum at309-547-3721 or visit All events are free of charge unless a fee is indicated in the descriptions below. Donations are always appreciated.


Kids' Day - Winter in Illinois

Learn how ancient and historic people passed their time on a wintry day in Illinois. Kids will enjoy hands-on activities and crafts to take home. This program is co-sponsored by the City of Lewistown. Saturday, January 10, 2015, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., 5 years + with adult


Winter Gathering

Participate in a traditional Native American Winter Gathering. Enjoy a variety of activities and demonstrations, including storytelling, music, group games and dances, doll making and beading. Saturday, January 24, 2015, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., All Ages


10. 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.


11. Flying WILD - Tools to Share Your Love of Birds

An Educators Workshop at Volo Bog State Natural Area        

$25.00 Fee includes Book, Lunch, Snacks and Professional Development Hours

Choose One: Saturday, January 17, 2015, or Thursday, January 29, 2015, 9:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Formal and nonformal educators are invited to attend this workshop to bring an appreciation and understanding of birds to people of all ages. Teachers, librarians, naturalists and home-schooling educators can benefit. Flying Wild is geared to grades 5-8, but many activities are adaptable, including a series of student-led activities that can be presented by middle-school students to elementary grade learners. With more than 40 student-tested, standards-based activities from Adaptation Artistry to Bird Olympics, Flying WILD provides interactive, interdisciplinary real-world learning that engages students in understanding the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Topics range from basic bird biology, identification and ecology, to bird conservation service-learning activities. The program promotes greater environmental stewardship through monitoring projects and bird festivals that are organized by the students for their friends, school or community. Register 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