New this Month!


January 2012


New List Server Account

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education has changed list servers. Instead of messages from, you will now receive these messages from Please watch for messages from this new address. They will still be titled “Items of Possible Interest.” Would you like to be added to the list server? Visit for the instructions.


Illinois Prairies Coloring Poster

The Illinois Prairies Coloring Poster from the IDNR Division of Education has been reprinted. It may be ordered at


New Poster from the IDNR and Illinois Audubon Society

Illinois Birds: Volume II, Wood-warblers is the second poster produced as a cooperative effort between the IDNR Division of Education and the Illinois Audubon Society. This 24” x 36” poster has photographs of all the wood-warblers known to nest in the state as well as information about each species. Available now, you can order the poster at


Looking for Field Trip Funding?

The IDNR Division of Education in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation offers Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants for teachers in Illinois. Grants are to be used to take students on a field trip to study the natural resources of the state. For complete details, visit The maximum grant award per teacher is $500. The application deadline is January 31, 2012. Funding is provided by the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie.


Earth Day in the Parks

Get ready to complete your application for the 2012 Earth Day in the Parks program from the IDNR Division of Education! Applications will be accepted from January 1-February 28, 2012. 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.


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.


- Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease (online), January 9-22, 2012; Registration for this workshop will close at 8:00 a.m. on January 5, 2012.

- Tracks, Scats and Habitats, Fullersburg Woods, Oak Brook, January 19, 2012

- Illinois’ Urban Wildlife, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, February 11, 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 IDNR, contains a wealth of information about Illinois’ natural and cultural resources appropriate for incorporation into you lesson plans. The December 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois included a story on new property at Apple River Canyon State Park (Jo Daviess County), which can be view online at Apple River Canyon is a place where 450 million years of Illinois’ geological and ecological history can be discerned in a day. Thanks to the Natural Land Institute and its many partners, another key tract in this remarkable time capsule has been preserved forever. 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


The Nature of Illinois

OutdoorIllinois, the award-winning monthly publication of the IDNR, contains a wealth of information about Illinois’ natural and cultural resources appropriate for incorporation into you lesson plans. The cover of the January 2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois features a river otter drinking from a winter stream. The river otter is one of the species that has benefited in Illinois from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The federal program is funded through small taxes on sporting equipment and was established 75 years ago. The featured site this month is Oakwood Bottoms, a greentree reservoir in Jackson County that is one of largest tracts of contiguous bottomland hardwoods in Illinois. Additional stories include waterfowl breeding-ground projects supported by Illinois waterfowlers, volunteers preparing trails for the upcoming season, light goose hunting, feral cats, the history of maple syrup Salmon Unlimited volunteers working to better the Lake Michigan fishery and more. 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!


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.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Offer AGED 500: Illinois Natural Resources for Teachers

AGED 500: Illinois’ Natural Resources for Teachers is a graduate-level course developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the IDNR. It is designed to provide teachers and other educators with an introduction to the natural heritage of the state as well as assisting them with incorporating the information into their teaching. Registration is now open. The course description and registration information can be accessed at Additional information about how to register as a “non-degree seeking” student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can be found at Questions may be addressed to Anna Mehl, Online Program Coordinator, at or 217-244-7023.


University of Illinois Springfield Offering Aquatic Ecology for Teachers Online Graduate-level Course in Spring 2012

The IDNR Division of Education and the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) are offering online courses for graduate credit (4 hours) or Continuing Professional Development Units (60 CPDUs) through the UIS Master of Teacher Leadership program. Designed for teachers and other educators, these courses provide information about Illinois’ natural resources as well as discussions on how to implement the information. For Spring Semester 2012, EDL 591 Introduction to Illinois' Aquatic Ecology for Teachers will be offered. Registration is now open. To be eligible to register, students must contact UIS Admissions at 1-217-206-8259. Once students have been admitted to UIS, they may contact Ryan Williams at 1-217-206-7516 or to receive permission to register for the class.


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