New this Month!


January 2010


Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Applications Due by January 31, 2010


Visit to access the application form and instructions for the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant. Funds from this competitive grant program allow teachers in Illinois schools to take their students to Illinois locations as they study our natural and cultural biodiversity. The maximum award per teacher is $500. This grant program is made possible by the generous support of the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie. Funds are administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Please direct questions to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education at or 217-524-4126.


Register Now for Earth Day in the Parks


Get your students involved with natural resources stewardship through the Earth Day in the Parks program from the 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 is posted at Instructions and the application form are also available at that Web address. Applications must be received between January 1, 2010, and February 28, 2010. For more information, contact the IDNR Division of Education at or 217-524-4126.

Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest Application Deadline is Fast Approaching

The 2010 entry form and guidelines for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest are available at Students of grades kindergarten through 12 can learn about waterfowl and wetland conservation in this program as they design artwork depicting North American waterfowl species. The Illinois application deadline is March 15, 2010. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the IDNR sponsor this contest in Illinois. The Illinois “Best of Show” entry will be submitted to the national contest, and the national entry will be printed on the Junior Duck Stamp. These stamps are sold to raise funds to support the Junior Duck Stamp program and conservation education. For more information, contact or 217-524-4126.

ENTICE Workshop Registration

Register soon for winter and spring 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.


January 11-24, Online Mammals from Illinois’ Past, online

January 16, Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford

February 8-21, Online Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, online

March 8-21, Online Illinois Frogs and Toads, online

March 27, The Effects of Climate Change on Illinois Plants, Chicago Botanic Garden,


April 10, Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease, Fermi National

Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia

April 24, Illinois’ Invasive Species, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

April 27, The Massasauga: Illinois’ Prairie Rattlesnake, Eldon Hazlet State Park, Carlyle

May 1, 2010, Pioneers and the Prairie, Boone County Conservation District, Belvidere

June 15, The Ohio River: History, Ecology, Commerce, Fort Massac State Park,



Teachers, Get Free OutdoorIllinois Magazines While Supplies Last!

The surplus inventory of 2009 OutdoorIllinois issues has been cleared out, and we're making bundles of this award-winning magazine available to Illinois educators. To receive copies, visit complete the short form with your name and school address.


If you enjoy the outdoors of Illinois, are interested in learning more about the Prairie State's great natural and cultural resources, the location of some of Illinois' most scenic state parks and recreational areas, or if you are looking for compelling stories, news and photographs of our cultural and natural resources treasures you will enjoy OutdoorIllinois. If your school library does not receive the magazine, educational institutions may receive a one-year (12 issues) subscription for $10 (regularly $15). For the discounted rate, submit the subscription information on school letterhead, along with a check made payable to OutdoorIllinois and mail it to Illinois Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 19225, Dept. NL, Springfield, IL 62794-9225.


Future Fisherman Foundation Offers Physh Ed Fishing and Boating Grants

The Future Fisherman Foundation is accepting applications from schools for the Physh Ed National Fishing and Boating Grants. The application deadline is February 9, 2010. Schools can apply for up to $2,500.00. This initiative enables public, private and charter schools to design and deliver fishing-related programming as part of their daily curriculum. For more information and the application form, see

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!

“Trees are Terrific. . .and Energy Wise!” is the 2010 National Arbor Day Poster Contest Theme

Go to to download the 2010 Arbor Day National Poster Contest Guidebook! Your free copy includes all the contest rules as well as activities to help your students understand how trees conserve energy. This contest is open to fifth-grade students and is sponsored in Illinois by the IDNR. For more information, contact Reinee Hildebrandt at


IDNR-UIUC Partnership Offering Online Graduate-Level Courses


The IDNR Division of Education and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are offering a series of graduate-level online courses for teachers. AGED 500 Introduction to Illinois' Prairie Ecology for Teachers will be offered during Spring Semester 2010. Visit for more information. For registration questions, contact Heather Miller, Program Director of the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, or 217-265-6568.


IDNR-UIS also Offering 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 2010. Visit for more information. For registration questions, contact Rae Lynne Kynion, Coordinator of the Master of Teacher Leadership Program, or 217-206-7516. 


IDNR Division of Education Joins Facebook

Join us on Facebook for more information and resources. We have discussion topics for you to participate in as well. Go to and search for "Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Education."


For Illinois High School Biology Teachers: Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease DVD

This supplemental unit for high school students explores prion diseases, including chronic wasting disease. In six lessons, students learn about transmissible spongiform encephalopathies by examining the role of proteins in organisms, the chemistry and properties of proteins, the genetic processes that create proteins, and how proteins can become pathogenic. Students also study how chronic wasting disease is affecting Illinois' white-tailed deer herd and what control measures are being taken. Adapted by the IDNR Division of Education with permission from the Colorado Division of Wildlife's original unit, the lessons are designed to be taught in sequence. A video is included. All lessons are correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards. This unit is produced in DVD format. It is only available to high school teachers in Illinois. Request should be made in writing on school letterhead and mailed to the IDNR Division of Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.


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