New this Month!


April 2013


IDNR Division of Education YouTube Page

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education now has its own YouTube page featuring several educational videos! Go to YouTube and search for “IDNREducation” (no spaces). More videos will be added in the coming weeks so check back often!


New Video Podcasts

New video podcasts on Illinois Frogs and Toads, Illinois’ State Symbols and the Stone Fort Trail at Giant City State Park have been added to the IDNR Division of Education Podcast Web page and iTunes. Visit or search for them through the iTunes Store. They will soon be accessible through YouTube, too. 


Earth Day in the Parks Registration is Still Open at a Few Sites

The application period is still open for IDNR Earth Day in the Parks events at Ferne Clyffe State Park. Additional students would also be accepted at Pere Marquette State Park and Eldon Hazlet State Park. Earth Day in the Parks provides students and their teachers with the opportunity to perform natural resources stewardship activities. You’ll find the application form and more information at


Register Now for Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Workshops

The following ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR are scheduled for April and June. Go to for more details and to register. Continuing Professional Development Units are available at all ENTICE workshops.


Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Champaign, April 13, 2013

You can make a lifelong difference with your early childhood students by introducing them to the wonders of the natural world! How do you do it? Where should you go? What tools do you need? What are the liability issues? These questions and many more will be answered during this workshop targeted to educators of grades prekindergarten through three. We’ll go on a nature hike and will feature the Field Trip Pack from the IDNR. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature. Continuing Professional Development Units are available. Sponsored by the IDNR, this workshop will be led by staff of the Illinois Early Learning Project. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013.


Illinois Prairies, Morris, June 8, 2013

Imagining the vast prairies of Illinois’ past is difficult, but you can experience one of the best examples remaining in our state if you join us for this workshop at the Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area near Morris. 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 we'll take a discovery walk in the prairie. Illinois-specific educational resources will be provided. Continuing Professional Development Units are available.


Illinois Bats, Urbana, June 19, 2013

The only true flying mammals will be examined at this workshop for educators of grades four through eight. Work with resource professionals as you learn about the life history of bats and their relationships to other species in the environment. We’ll attempt to capture and band bats during the evening, too. Experience hands-on activities that can be instantly implemented into your curriculum. Take home many Illinois-specific supplemental materials. Continuing Professional Development Units are available. 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.


Tree Homes, June 22, 2013, Lisle

From the camouflage of a walking stick insect to the nest of a great horned owl, animals of all shapes and sizes rely on the natural habitat created by trees for their daily needs. Learn about some of these amazing tree dwellers and how they use trees in a variety of ways as we explore the woodlands, wetlands and prairie at The Morton Arboretum. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through six, other educators are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Continuing Professional Development Units are available.


Volunteers Sought at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam 

Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside, and Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam in McHenry, are seeking volunteers for the following positions.

Docent/Interpretive Office Support (Wednesdays)

Docents greet visitors, answer questions and staff the Friends of Volo Bog’s Tamarack Shop. They also complete tasks related to the interpretive program, including computer data entry, copying, filing and maintaining educational materials.

Bluebird Monitors

Monitors check the progress of nesting birds in bird houses from late March through mid August.  Bluebird monitoring is ideal for individuals, friends, couples or small family. 

Prairie and Native Gardeners

Gardeners tend the native demonstration gardens throughout the parks beginning with spring clean up. 

For more information, to request an application and to set up an interview, contact Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki at 815-344-1294 or


AISWCD Seeking Conservation Teachers in Illinois

The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD) and Illinois Audubon Society annually present the prestigious Conservation Teacher of the Year award to both an elementary and high school teacher in the state who makes outstanding efforts to teach his or her students about conservation, environmental education and/or agricultural literacy. Are you one of those teachers, or do you know someone who deserves this award? The AISWCD is now accepting applications for the 2013 awards. You will find the application form and instructions at All teachers who include conservation education as part of their curriculum are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by Friday, April 12, 2013. For more information, contact the AISWCD at 217-744-3414 or   


Reserve IDNR Resources Trunks and Field Trip Packs for Spring

Now is a great time to make your spring reservations for the IDNR’s popular resources trunks and Field Trip Packs. Visit to access links to all of the resources trunks (Aquatic Illinois; Illinois Birds; Illinois Fossils; Illinois Insects and Spiders; Illinois’ Invasive Species; Illinois Prairies; Illinois’ State Symbols; Illinois Trees; Illinois Wild Mammals; and People and Animals from Illinois’ Past) and the Field Trip Pack. Each Web page has the content list, appropriate grade levels and contact information for the lending sites. These hands-on units contain field guides, posters, books, equipment, specimens and many other items. Reserve a trunk or pack today!


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. 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 for download and/or order. Many of the publications have a Spanish-language version, too. The A to Z from a Tree activity sheet, Illinois Prairies coloring poster and Aquatic Illinois Crossword Puzzle have all been reprinted recently and are available now to teachers in Illinois schools. 


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


State Parks Magazines

Are you looking for literature to distribute at an event or to provide to the public from your office, school or library? Why not consider the Illinois State Parks Magazine? This free publication is available in cases of 100 copies and shipping on this item is free, too. Visit the Publications page at and look under the “Park Brochures” tab.


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.


Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards

Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards are informational cards that contain an image on one side and facts on the other side. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, plants, fungi, microorganisms, rocks, minerals and fossils are represented. A poster accompanies each card set to depict all of the cards in the set and provide suggestions for use. Sets #2 - 5 are available. To request cards, please send a note on school letterhead to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. Please specify the set number(s) you are requesting. Teachers are allowed one pack of cards and one poster for each of the sets.


Biodiversity of Illinois CD-ROMs

The Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume I: Aquatic Habitats, Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume II: Woodland Habitats and Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume III: Prairie and Edge Habitats CD-ROMs are field guides to more than 1,000 species and provide a wealth of information for educators and students to use. Order your copies by written request on school letterhead and mail to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.


Wildlife in the Classroom

Has a student ever brought an animal into your classroom and asked you to keep it? Have you ever found a feather or a bird’s nest and wanted to use it to supplement your lessons? Do you know the Illinois and federal laws that apply to these situations? Teachers often come in contact with wildlife or wildlife remains, willingly or not. It is important for you to know what to do in these situations. The IDNR Division of Education has produced a reference document for your use. Wildlife in the Classroom is not all-encompassing, but it will provide you with basic information about possessing wildlife and wildlife remains. You can download the publication at If you would like to read the entire Wildlife Code for Illinois, you can access it at


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