New This Month - August 2010


New Resources from the IDNR Education Section

Several new Illinois-specific resources for educators are now available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Education Section.

·         The Illinois Ferns and Illinois Fishes, Volume I posters join the Illinois Flora, Fauna and Culture series of posters. Both posters were made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund. These posters may be ordered from the IDNR Publications page at

·         Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #5 and poster are available (one set per teacher) by written request on school letterhead. The 63 cards in the set illustrate and provide information about species found in our state, representing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, plants and fungi. When combined with the first four volumes in this series, teachers have 315 resources cards to access and use. The poster illustrates all of the cards in the set and provides suggestions for helping you to meet the Illinois Learning Standards and Illinois Early Learning Standards. Do you have all five sets of resources cards? If not, request your missing set(s) by number when you send your request. Mail requests to IDNR – Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.

·         The Illinois Biodiversity, 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 have just been revised! Order your copies by written request on school letterhead and mail to IDNR – Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.

·         Coming Soon! Have you ever wanted to take your students on a field trip to study a particular topic but had no idea where to go? Let the IDNR Education Section help you. The new Field Trip Tips Web page provides a searchable means to relate educational topics to Illinois state parks and connect them with existing lessons and materials from the IDNR. Visit the site at and start planning your field trip today.

·         Coming Soon! Invasive species are a daily topic in the news. What are they? How did they get here? What problems do they cause? What can we do about them? These questions and more can be answered by using the new Illinois’ Invasive Species resources trunk! The trunk will be available for loan beginning this fall from approximately 60 lending locations in the state. Contents include student activities, background information, images, lessons, field guides, specimens and other items.  A two-week loan period is suggested. Visit for more information and to access the list of lending locations. Targeted Grades: 7-12.

·         Wildlife in the Classroom provides information about the laws that pertain to possessing wildlife and wildlife remains in our state. If you teach in Illinois, you should be familiar with this information and keep it handy for reference.

·         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!

·         In tough economic times, grant opportunities become especially valuable to educators. Three grant programs are available from the IDNR Education Section in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation: the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant, Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant and Illinois Rain Garden Initiative. You’ll find details about these programs at the following Web address.


ENTICE Workshop Registration

Register soon for ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR. Visit 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. Upcoming workshops for August and September are listed below.

August 4, Illinois Butterflies and Dragonflies, Ballard Nature Center, Altamont

August 28, Incorporating Nature into Fine Arts, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle

September 11, Prairie Plants: Anatomy, Identification, Landscaping, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington

September 13, Aquatic Illinois and RiverWatch Discovery, Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey

September 25, Lake Michigan Fishes, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago


Give Us Your Best Shot!

The 11th annual OutdoorIllinois photo contest is now open for entries. All winning images will be published in the February 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois–the sixth annual photographic issue. The photo contest is open to all Illinois residents, and entries are due by 5:00 p.m. August 6, 2010. Among the items the “Best of Show” winner will receive are a weekday, one-night lodging and breakfast for two package for Rend Lake Resort and Lodge and two tickets to the 2011 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet, where the recipient will be honored and the winning photograph displayed. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive three-year, two-year and one-year subscriptions, respectively, to OutdoorIllinois and the opportunity to have their winning photos published in the February 2011 issue. Contest guidelines are listed below and are also available at Questions may be directed to (217) 785-0975 or by e-mail to

Contest Guidelines

·         Categories are: mammals, birds, insects, reptiles/amphibians, fishes (including underwater images), scenic/landscape, flora (plants, mushrooms), natural resource recreational activities and young shutterbugs (same categories but taken by persons 12 years of age or younger).

·         Photographs must be taken in Illinois.

·         Photos of captive and domestic species will not be considered.

·         Entries are limited to color or black-and-white slides, prints and digital images. Print images must be unmounted and at least 5 x 7 inches but not more than 8 x 10 inches. Slides (35mm) and medium or large transparencies should be mounted. Digital images (minimum of 2 megapixels or 1600 x 1200 dpi) must be submitted as a print.

·         Each entry must be labeled with the photographer’s name, address, daytime phone number and e-mail address (if applicable), category and when and where the photograph was taken. Adhering a label to the back of the print, vs. writing directly on the back of it, is preferred as ink often smears.

·         A note must accompany entries specifying the total number of slides, prints and/or digital images entered.

·         Photographers of winning entries must be willing to provide the original slide, negative or electronic file for publication purposes if necessary.

·         Entries received after 5 p.m. August 6, 2010, will be disqualified and not returned.

·         A panel of photo experts will review entries. Winners will be notified after the judging is completed.

·         The 2009 OutdoorIllinois photo contest best-of-show winner and IDNR employees and members of their immediate household may not compete.

·         Entries will not be returned. IDNR may contact any photographer regarding gratis use of images in printed materials promoting Illinois' natural resources.

·         All submitted photos must be free of claims and rights of third parties.

·         Send entries to: Photo Contest, OutdoorIllinois, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.

Upcoming Programs at Cache River State Natural Area

These workshops will be held at the Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, Illinois. For more information, call 618-657-2064, Wednesday - Sunday or e-mail


Out of the Wild, Thursday, August 5, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. 

A great variety of snakes and turtles make their home in the wetlands of the Cache watershed. 

Become acquainted with some of them as a biologist explains the advantages of wetlands for these animals.   


Cold-blooded Creatures of the Cache, Saturday, August 28, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Discover many facts about reptiles and amphibians at this program. We’ll learn how to tell a male box turtle from a female, that all snakes do not look alike, some characteristics of venomous and non-venomous snakes and how a luscistic animal differs from an albino animal.


IDNR Programs Calendar included on Youth Programs Web Page

Visit 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!


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


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


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