April 2010

Announcing Youth Conservation Congress


Director Marc Miller, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), invites high school youth (ages 14-17) to participate in the first Youth Conservation Congress at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield on June 27. Students will learn about conservation issues and careers in Illinois. Activities will be hands-on, and the agenda will focus on Community Conservation, Wildlife Management and Invasive Species. Students will develop a personal action plan to incorporate conservation activities into their everyday lives. You must register in advance, and the first 100 students will be accepted. On June 27th, check-in will open at 9:30 a.m., and the program will run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event is FREE, and lunch will be provided by the Illinois Sportsmen’s Caucus. Registration is available at http://www.dnr.state.il.us/nrab/ycc.htm


Parents or guardians will not be allowed to participate in the activities, but family members are invited to enjoy a day at Brookfield Zoo while their students participate in the Youth Conservation Congress. 


Questions?  Call 217-785-0075.  


Environmental Literacy for Illinois Plan Review


The Environmental Literacy for Illinois Plan is currently being revised and will be available for review beginning March 31. Comments will be accepted through an online survey form and at two public meetings. The Web address will be posted soon. The first public meeting will be held April 13 in Springfield as part of Conservation Congress. While you do not need to register for Conservation Congress to attend this meeting, if you would like to, go to http://dnr.state.il.us/nrab/cc.htm where you can access the registration form. The second public meeting will be held later in the year in the Chicago area. All educators and the general public are encouraged to read and provide feedback on this important document.  


Forest Ecology Can Involve Your Students in Learning about the Ecology and Management of Illinois’ Forests

Forest Ecology is now ready for download at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids in the “Activity Books” section. This 48-page publication from the IDNR Division of Education is targeted to students of grades four through eight and contains many activities about the complex ecological relationships in our forests and how they are managed. The booklet is a revision of an activity book produced by the Illinois Department of Conservation in the 1980s. Preview and download your copy today!

ENTICE Workshop Registration

Register soon for ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR. Visit https://www.enticeworkshops.com and enroll now! You won't want to miss the background information, supplemental resources, networking with other educators and opportunity to work with natural resources professionals. Continuing Professional Development Units are available to all ENTICE participants. Registration will open soon for the July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, workshops.

April 10, Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia

April 24, Illinois’ Invasive Species, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

April 27, The Massasauga: Illinois’ Prairie Rattlesnake, Eldon Hazlet State Park, Carlyle

May 1, 2010, Pioneers and the Prairie, Boone County Conservation District, Belvidere

June 15, The Ohio River: History, Ecology, Commerce, Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis

Teachers, Get Free OutdoorIllinois Magazines While Supplies Last!

Surplus copies of 2009 OutdoorIllinois magazine issues are available to Illinois educators. To receive copies, visit http://dnr.illinois.gov/OutdoorIllinois/and complete the short form with your name and school address.

If you enjoy the outdoors of Illinois, are interested in learning more about the Prairie State's great natural and cultural resources, the location of some of Illinois' most scenic state parks and recreational areas, or if you are looking for compelling stories, news and photographs of our cultural and natural resources treasures you will enjoy OutdoorIllinois. If your school library does not receive the magazine, educational institutions may receive a one-year (12 issues) subscription for $10 (regularly $15). For the discounted rate, submit the subscription information on school letterhead, along with a check made payable to OutdoorIllinois and mail it to Illinois Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 19225, Dept. NL, Springfield, IL 62794-9225.

IDNR Programs Calendar included on Youth Programs Web Page

Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/youthprograms/ to see the latest schedule of events for youth- and family-related programs from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. You’ll find many options to select from. Youth leaders and educators will be interested in the information as well. Sign up for the email list and receive weekly updates. Let’s all work together to get our youth involved in outdoor activities!

IDNR Division of Education Joins Facebook

Join us on Facebook for more information and resources. We have discussion topics for you to participate in as well. Go to http://www.facebook.com and search for "Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Education."

For Illinois High School Biology Teachers: Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease DVD

This supplemental unit for high school students explores prion diseases, including chronic wasting disease. In six lessons, students learn about transmissible spongiform encephalopathies by examining the role of proteins in organisms, the chemistry and properties of proteins, the genetic processes that create proteins, and how proteins can become pathogenic. Students also study how chronic wasting disease is affecting Illinois' white-tailed deer herd and what control measures are being taken. Adapted by the IDNR Division of Education with permission from the Colorado Division of Wildlife's original unit, the lessons are designed to be taught in sequence. A video is included. All lessons are correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards. This unit is produced in DVD format. It is only available to high school teachers in Illinois. Request should be made in writing on school letterhead and mailed to the IDNR Division of Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.

Fishing in Your School

Do you teach in any of the following counties?

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

If so, let the IDNR help you establish a fishing program. We can assist with education and equipment to make fishing a talked-about, popular activity at your school.

Several school fishing programs are available. One is a physical education-based fishing program for middle school and high school students. Students are taught the basics of fishing at school (45-60 minutes) and then are taken fishing during their physical education classes during the last two to three weeks of the school year. Other fishing programs are mainly for younger students and include school-time field fishing trips and after-school fishing trips. For both of these programs, it is beneficial to invite parents/grandparents to accompany students to help them with fishing.

For more details or to register your students contact Herb Dreier, Coordinator, Central Illinois Urban Fishing Program, at 217-935-6860 extension 238, cell 217-622-4266 or herb.dreier@illinois.gov.

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 (www.trappered.com) 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 http://dnr.state.il.us/safety 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 http://www.wildillinois.org/. For more information, contact Bob Bluett, IDNR Wildlife Diversity Coordinator at 217-782-7580 or bob.bluett@illinois.gov.

Urban Fishing Program

Coordinators for the IDNR statewide Urban Fishing Program will come to your school and conduct programs aimed at getting kids interested in fishing and the outdoors, while promoting environmental stewardship. One part of the program involves actually taking kids fishing during May and September, if a nearby lake is accessible. Teachers may continue the program on their own after the initial session, with the assistance of IDNR personnel. Contact the Urban Fishing Program Coordinator in your area. The urban fishing program is appropriate for any grade level.

  Chicago: Brenda McKinney 847-294-4137

Chicago Suburbs: IDNR Staff 847-294-4137

Northwest Illinois: IDNR Staff 815-625-2968

Central Illinois: Herb Dreier 217-782-6424

Southern Illinois: Mark Yehling 618-462-1181