New this Month!


December 2010


Earth Day in the Parks Registration Opens January 1, 2011

Get your students involved with natural resources stewardship through the Earth Day in the Parks program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)! Participating state parks will offer students the opportunity to get their hands dirty and experience nature as they perform duties such as removing invasive exotic plants, planting native trees and wildflowers and building and installing bird nesting boxes. The list of participating parks and their associated projects will be posted at in mid-December. Instructions and the application form are also available at that Web address. Applications will be accepted from January 1 through February 28, 2011. For more information, contact the IDNR Division of Education at or 217-524-4126.


 Wild Mammals of Illinois Lessons Updated!

The lessons from the Wild Mammals of Illinois teaching unit from the IDNR have just been revised and posted to the Web site at You can download the entire document or each of the units separately. Look for new student activities, a revised Wild Mammals of Illinois list and updates to all of the information and other features. Take a look today and start teaching about mammals tomorrow!


New Lending Locations for Resources Trunks

Be sure to review the lending locations for the resources trunks from the IDNR! We have added three sites to the Trunks in Libraries pilot program: Galesburg Public Library; Watseka Public Library; and the Illinois Natural History Survey Library in Champaign! If you live in these areas of the state, make a reservation and welcome these sites to our lending locations! Don’t forget our recently added sites at the IDNR office in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, Shabbona Lake State Park in Shabbona, the Kendall County Outdoor Education Center in Yorkville, the National Great Rivers Museum in East Alton, the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in Godfrey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Offices in Shelbyville and Benton. Some of the established lending locations have added new trunks, too. There are now nearly 90 lending locations statewide. Go to to link to each of the 10 trunk topics and their associated lending sites. Make a reservation today!


Important Information for Teachers Regarding the Arbor Day Poster Contest

The National Arbor Day Foundation has discontinued the Arbor Day Poster Contest. The IDNR will no longer offer this contest.


January 31 Application Deadline for Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant

Start working on your Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant application now! The application must be postmarked by January 31, 2011. This grant provides teachers with the opportunity to receive up to $500 to take their students on a field trip to study some aspect of Illinois’ biodiversity. All funds for this program are donated to the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Major support is provided by the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie. To access the application form, visit  For more information, contact the IDNR Education Section at or 217-524-4126.


Change in Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest in Illinois

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now the exclusive sponsor of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest in Illinois. For more information about the program, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Barrington office (847-381-2253). To access the application form, visit 


Wildlife Prairie State Park Events

The Wildlife Prairie State Park in Hanna City (near Peoria) is hosting the following event in December. See details below.

Boy Scout Badge Day- Oceanography

This program provides a structured curriculum for Boy Scouts to earn merit badges. Each month a different topic is scheduled. Some badges have pre- or post-requirements before the badge counselor will sign the blue card. Space is limited.
*First Saturday of the month
*10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
*Bring a lunch.
*Cost: $25 for non-members/members $20 (unless noted)
*PRE-REGISTRATION and PRE-PAYMENT ARE REQUIRED. Call 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email to register.
*Parents and family members staying in the park during the session must pay admission.


Order Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #5 Now

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


Revised 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 have just been revised! These field guides to more than 1,000 species 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.


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!


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 are listed below.


February 14-27, 2011, Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, Online

March 14-27, 2011, Illinois Frogs and Toads, Online

March 25-26, 2011, The Greater Prairie-chicken, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, Newton

April 30, 2011, Prairie School Gardening, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe

May 21, 2011, Illinois Butterflies, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

June 18, 2011, Identifying Trees and Making Leaf Collections, The Morton Arboretum, Chicago


IDNR-UIS Online Graduate-Level Courses

The IDNR Division of Education and the University of Illinois Springfield are offering a series of graduate-level online courses for teachers. EDL 588 Introduction to Illinois' Prairie Ecology for Teachers and EDL 589 Introduction to Illinois' Geological Resources for Teachers will be offered during Spring Semester 2011. Visit for more information. For registration questions, contact Rae Lynne Kynion, Coordinator of the Master of Teacher Leadership Program, or 217-206-7516. 


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