New this Month!


February 2012


Illinois’ State Symbols Activity Book

The Illinois’ State Symbols activity book from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education has been reprinted. It may be ordered at Quantities are limited, so order today!


Don’t Forget! Earth Day in the Parks Applications are due by February 28

Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2012, for Earth Day in the Parks from the IDNR. Earth Day in the Parks is a natural resources stewardship event for students held at participating Illinois state parks. Access the complete instructions and application form at Grants from the Illinois Conservation Foundation and Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund help to fund Earth Day in the Parks.


Make Spring 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 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 and contact information for the lending sites.


Register Now for Upcoming ENTICE Workshops from the IDNR

ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR offer background information, hands-on activities, lessons, supplemental resources, Continuing Professional Development Units and the opportunity to work with natural resources professionals. Upcoming workshops are listed below.


- Illinois’ Urban Wildlife, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, February 11, 2012 Registration for this workshop will close at 8:00 a.m. on February 2, 2012.

- Mammals from Illinois’ Past (online), February 13-26, 2012

- Lake Michigan Fishes (online), March 12-25, 2012

- Illinois Birds, Fermilab, Batavia, March 17, 2012

- Invasive Exotic Plants, Hamilton County High School, McLeansboro, March 31, 2012

- The Sangamon River: A Sense of Place (online), April 16-29, 2012

- The Effects of Climate Change on Illinois Plants, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, April 28, 2012

- The Microscopic World, II: Ecology, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, May 5, 2012

- Illinois Biodiversity Basics, Fermilab, Batavia, May 12, 2012

- Invasive Exotic Plants, Illinois Audubon Society, Springfield, May 19, 2012

- Through the Eyes of a Pollinator, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, June 16, 2012


For more information and to register, visit


The Nature of Illinois

OutdoorIllinois, the award-winning monthly publication of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, contains a wealth of information about Illinois’ natural and cultural resources appropriate for incorporation into your lesson plans. The February 2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois showcases 15 pages of winning entries from the 2011 OutdoorIllinois photo contest. The images were selected from a field of more than 1,000 photos submitted in one of nine categories, including wildlife, flora, scenic, young shutterbugs (12 and younger) and more. This issue also features a story about the Yorkville Dam along the Fox River, which used to be a dead-end for fish until a ladder and bypass unclogged traffic. Recovery of tagged fish upstream of the dam verifies that fish are navigating through the new structures. Also this month is a story on the partnership effort between DNR and the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Human Dimensions Research Program to collect opinions and experiences relative to wildlife-related issues. For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at OutdoorIllinois is a great tool for learning about Illinois' natural, cultural and recreational resources and a bargain at only $15 for a one-year, 12-issue magazine subscription that includes an information-packed annual calendar in the December issue. Submit your order on school letterhead and receive a one-year subscription for only $10!


OutdoorIllinois Annual Wall Calendar

Looking for the perfect gift to keep abreast of season dates and programs and events in Illinois state parks? The newly released 2012 OutdoorIllinois wall calendar may be just what you need. Included as part of the December magazine, the calendar/December magazine may be purchased for $3, or a full year of the magazine for $15. To place an order in Illinois, call toll-free at 1-800-720-3249 or online at An online version can be viewed at


Attention Photo Bugs

Do your students have access to cameras? Consider incorporating the annual OutdoorIllinois photography contest into your curricula. Contest details are announced in the May magazine and at, with entries due no later than 5:00 p.m. the first Friday in August. A special category for Young Shutterbugs, ages 12 and under, provides a level playing field for everyone. Contest winners are published annually in our February full-photographic issue.


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.


Field Trip Packs for Loan to Early Childhood Educators

Have you borrowed a Field Trip Pack yet? Designed for early childhood educators (grades prekindergarten through three) by the IDNR Division of Education, the packs are available at 125 lending locations throughout Illinois. Each pack is a backpack that contains hands-on equipment to encourage young children to engage in nature exploration. Suggestions for educators on how to incorporate natural resources-related topics into the curriculum are also included. To see the list of lending locations and the pack content list, visit


Aquatic Illinois Lesson Revisions

The Aquatic Illinois lessons from the IDNR Division of Education are currently being updated, and revisions are posted online as they are completed. Many activities are now available as well as seven video podcasts about the major rivers in our state. You can access all of the information through the links at The videos are also available through the iTunes store and on YouTube!


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 or meet 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


Spanish-language Educational Materials

Do you work with students whose primary language is Spanish or are you a Spanish-language teacher? If so, have you used the Spanish-language resources from the IDNR? Visit to find the activity books and posters available in Spanish. New for 2011 is the Illinois Fishing Guide in a Spanish-language version, too.


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. There are five sets of cards. 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 five 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!


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