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IDNR Monthly Update

December 2014

Kids for Conservation®: 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 and a map with locations highlighted. Visit for details. December’s featured topic is Illinois’ permanent wildlife residents and how they survive in winter. Kids for Conservation® is great for participation by students, youth groups and families. January's topic will be "Owls in Illinois."

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Funds Available – Application Deadline is January 31!

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 the Illinois 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.

Earth Day in the Parks Application Period Opens on January 1, 2015

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 starting January 1, 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.

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.

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 Nearly 40 additional packs will be available at more lending locations soon. 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.

Monarch Mania! Webinar

Join us from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, for a Webinar on the status of monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly populations and actions that all of us can take to help stop the decline. Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program will also be participating. Visit on December 2, 2014, for login instructions.

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 April 30, 2015. For workshop details and to register, visit

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

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

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

Fall and Early Winter Programs from Dickson Mounds Museum

Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown has many programs scheduled for fall and early winter. For more information, contact the Museum at 309-547-3721 or visit All events are free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

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. The December topic is “Game Day.”

Family Night at the Museum
Explore the Museum at night. Then, snuggle up by the “fire” for some good ole’ fashioned storytelling by Marilyn A. Kinsella, Taleypo the Storyteller. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required. Saturday, December 13, 2014, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., all ages

Illinois Coastal Management Program Grants

The Illinois Coastal Management Program is 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 are available at the Illinois Coastal Grant Program Website at Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 15, 2014. All potential applicants are invited to sign up for a one-on-one consultation about your project idea. Email Lisa Cotner at for more information.

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.

Visit our Booth at Upcoming Teachers' Conferences

The IDNR Division of Education will be hosting a booth and making presentations at upcoming teachers' conferences. Be sure to stop by to talk with us to learn more about our educational resources. December 7-9, Raising Student Achievement Conference, St. Charles

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

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.

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.

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