New this Month!
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 is posted at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/EDITPinstruct.htm . 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 email@example.com or 217-524-4126.
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 from the IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) 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 ICF. 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 http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/grants.htm. For more information, contact the IDNR Education Section at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-524-4126.
Illinois Birds: Volume I, Raptors
The newest addition to the Illinois Flora and Fauna series of posters from the IDNR will be available in mid-January. Illinois Birds: Volume I, Raptors features 24 species of hawks, owls and falcons. Images and descriptions of the birds are provided. This two-sided poster (24” x 36”) should be ordered through the IDNR Publications Web page at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids. A generous contribution from the Illinois Audubon Society helped to make this poster possible.
Volo Bog State Natural Area Taking Registrations for School Field Trips
Spring registration begins at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5. Winter openings are available NOW.
Volo Bog State Natural Area (VBSNA) is home to North America's southern-most open water quaking bog. A floating boardwalk takes curious nature lovers to the heart of this unique Illinois wetland. Seventeen educational programs are available.
Students from second grade through college can enjoy an age-customized 90-minute Naturalist-led "Bog Life" tour that explores this unique glacial relic, home to over 20 endangered plants and a variety of wetland animals. Older students (grades 7- 12) may opt for "The Ecology of Volo Bog." In addition to the bog tours, VBSNA offers 15 other programs for a variety of grade levels. To view a description of each of the educational programs visit http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R2/VOLOBOG.HTM and click on "Interpretive Programs."
A typical field trip day is 3.5 hours long and includes two programs and a half-hour lunch break. Programs are scheduled primarily on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Time options are 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. A minimum of 10 age-appropriate students (must meet a minimum age) is required. Mixed-age groups of more than 20 people will be separated according to age. Up to 80 students can be accommodated each day, in groups of 10 - 20 for Bog Life and groups of up to 40 working together then splitting into small work groups for some of the other programs. Adult chaperones are expected to assist all students within their groups and participate in the learning.
Registration for spring field trips will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5. The best slots are expected to be taken within the first half-hour, with the remainder likely to be reserved by noon. Some openings remain for winter field trips for which registration is currently open. All registration is done by phone only at 815-344-1294.
Volo Bog State Natural Area is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources site located in Ingleside on Brandenburg Road west off U.S. Highway 12 between State Highways 120 and 134. For program registration, contact 815-344-1294.
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 http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/wild_mammals/index.htm. 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 Location in Chicago for IDNR Resources Trunks
The popular resources trunks from the IDNR have a new lending location added to the list of sites in Chicago. We welcome Shedd Aquarium to our lending sites! Please contact the staff at Shedd Aquarium and make a reservation to pick up a trunk soon. We are sorry to be losing the Harris Loan Program at The Field Museum as a lending site, but for those of you who borrowed trunks through them, please give Shedd Aquarium a try! Go to http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/teach.htm to link to each of the 10 trunk topics and their associated lending sites. Make a reservation today!
IDNR Cache River Wetlands Center Programs
Frog and Toad Survey Orientation
Saturday, January 29, 2011
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cache River Wetlands Center, Cypress, Illinois
Please call 618-657-2064 for more information.
This orientation will prepare volunteers to venture out in the evenings to conduct frog and toad audible surveys. Volunteers will conduct their surveys four times, between February and June, along an assigned route in the Cache River Watershed.
Houses! That's for the Birds!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Cache River Wetlands Center, Cypress, Illinois
Please call 618-657-2064 for more information.
Discover the differences in nest construction for and by bird species. Be able to identify the birds in the neighborhood by the nests you see. Construct your own nest and build a nest/bird box for a warbler or eastern bluebird. The program is free of charge but please call 618-657-2064 to register.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Makanda
Registration required. Cost: $15 by February 5; $20 after February 5. To register, contact Kimberly King-Wrenn (Kimberly_kingemail@example.com; 618-998-5933).
Attention Cub Scout, Brownie and Junior Scout leaders and first- through fifth-grade educators. Flying WILD! is an education program that provides interactive activities to engage children in real-world learning that helps them understand the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Activities are correlated to Scout badges and the Illinois Learning Standards. Continuing Professional Development Units are offered for educators.
ENTICE Workshop Registration
Register soon for ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR. Visit https://www.enticeworkshops.com 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
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.
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 DesignContest 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 http://www.fws.gov/juniorduck/ArtContest.htm .
Wildlife Prairie State Park Events
The Wildlife Prairie State Park in Hanna City (near Peoria) is hosting the following event in January. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Biodiversityof 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!
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 http://dnr.state.il.us/education/graduatecourses.htm for more information. For registration questions, contact Rae Lynne Kynion, Coordinator of the Master of Teacher Leadership Program, email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 ( www.trappered.com ) 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 http://dnr.state.il.us/safety 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 http://www.wildillinois.org/ . For more information, contact Bob Bluett, IDNR Wildlife Diversity Coordinator at 217-782-7580 or email@example.com.
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