New this Month!


August 2012


Organizations Invited to List Programs on Environmental Literacy for Illinois Web site

The Environmental Literacy for Illinois strategic plan was updated last year, and recently, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) created a Web site to collect information from organizations on environmental education programs that are aligned with the plan’s goals. The purpose of this data collection effort is to show that there is interest in working together in a coordinated fashion on environmental literacy in the state and to identify strengths and gaps in implementation. The reporting pages are now available for organizations to use. These pages can be accessed by going to and clicking on the link to “Enter Goal Implementation Information.” Organizations can request a survey code (necessary for entering data) from A summary page that will compile the entered information for everyone to access is scheduled to be completed within the next two months.


Back to School with the IDNR

Utilizing the educational opportunities of the IDNR can help bring your teaching to life. Grants for field trips and schoolyard wildlife habitat development, Illinois-specific lesson plans, resources trunks for loan, posters and other publications and ENTICE workshops for teachers are just some of the options available. All lessons and materials are developed with the Illinois Learning Standards as their foundation. Visit to access a variety of materials and programs.


ENTICE Workshop for Early Childhood Educators in Decatur

Registration closes on August 2, 2012, for the Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshop sponsored by the IDNR. This workshop will be conducted on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at Rock Springs Nature Center in Decatur. 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. Register at


Grants from the IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation

Have you started planning for the 2012-2013 school year yet? Do you need funding for field trips or schoolyard wildlife habitat projects? The IDNR Division of Education in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation can help! The Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program offers grants of up to $500 per teacher to assist with transportation costs associated with a field trip to study some aspect of Illinois’ natural resources. The Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program offers grants of up to $1,000 per teacher for the purpose of implementing or enhancing wildlife habitat on the school grounds or other public place. To learn more about these programs and to access the application form, visit The Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant is funded by generous donations from the Independence Tube Corporation, Chicago, and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, Skokie. Funding for the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program is provided by generous donations and by grants from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. 


ENTICE Educator Workshops from the IDNR Division of Education: Register Now!

The 2012-2013 ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) workshop schedule from the IDNR Division of Education has been released! Go to for more information and to register. You’ll find new topics as well as old favorites. ENTICE workshops provide basic information about the topic from resources experts, hands-on activities, supplemental resources and outdoor experiences. All workshops are developed with the Illinois Learning Standards as their foundation. Continuing Professional Development Units are available. The following workshops are scheduled for summer and fall 2012.


August 11, 2012, Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Rock Springs Nature Center, Decatur

September 10-23, 2012, Illinois Butterflies, Online

September 21, 2012, Illinois Spiders, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Forest Preserve District of Du Page County, Oak Brook

September 22, 2012, Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia

September 29, 2012, Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

October 6, 2012, Reading the Signs, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Forest Preserve District of Du Page County, Oak Brook

October 13, Illinois’ Woodland Ecology, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe

November 10, 2012, Avian Ecology: Bird-brained Lessons for Educators, Ballard Nature Center, Altamont


Additional Field Trip Packs for Early Childhood Educators

The Field Trip Packs from the IDNR Division of Education are now available from more than 200 lending locations statewide. Visit the Web page at to find the lending locations near you. Whether you walk around the block, visit a park or take a backyard discovery mission, the Field Trip Pack can promote nature exploration with your students. These packs were developed for use with children of grades prekindergarten through three.


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.   



Interested in volunteering at an IDNR site or on an IDNR project? Sign up to be part of the IDNR Volunteer Network. Visit for more information.


Make Resources Trunks Reservations Now

Borrow a resources trunk, and you’ll have a wealth of hands-on materials, lessons, posters, books and other items to support your teaching. Ten topics are available. Trunks are produced by the IDNR Division of Education and loaned from numerous lending sites statewide. Visit and click on the link to each trunk’s Web site where you’ll find a content list, targeted grade levels and contact information for the lending sites. A two-week loan period is suggested. Trunk titles are listed below.


Aquatic Illinois


Illinois Birds


Illinois Fossils


Illinois Insects and Spiders


Illinois’ Invasive Species


Illinois Prairies


Illinois’ State Symbols


Illinois Trees


Illinois Wild Mammals


People and Animals from Illinois’ Past


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.


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.


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. In-school educational programs can be scheduled in February or March, and fishing poles will be left with the teacher for use during a class field trip to a local lake. These programs work well for high school P.E. field trips or grade school field trips or after school activities where parents/grandparents accompany their students at the fishing location. Young student fishing is easy when family adults come along to help, and family participation encourages recurring fishing trips, creating a lifelong interest in this outdoor sport. 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


IDNR Education offers Field Trip Tips for Educators

Brought to you by the IDNR Division of Education, educators have a new tool to help you take teaching and learning to life. 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 Habitatsand 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!


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: IDNR Staff 618-462-1181