New this Month

March 2011

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month - Call for Events

May is Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month.  If you are planning an event to educate the public about any invasive species in the state, please visit the Web site at  to register it. The Web page will help to make many people aware of your program and possibly increase attendance.

The Illinois Birds: Volume I, Raptors Poster has Arrived!

Order your copy of the new Illinois Birds: Volume I, Raptors poster from the IDNR and the Illinois Audubon Society! This 24” x 36” poster depicts 24 species of hawks and owls, showing most of them in both perched and silhouette views. The back of the poster contains information about the species and their adaptations. Visit and place your order today! This poster was made possible in part by a donation from the Illinois Audubon Society.


Illinois Birds and One Bird – Two Habitats Lessons

The Illinois Birds and One Bird – Two Habitats lessons from the IDNR have just been revised. You can access them at Targeted to grades four through eight, these lessons can help students understand and gain interest in birds. Add the new Illinois Birds: Volume I, Raptors poster, borrow an Illinois Birds trunk and you’ll be set for some hands-on lessons and activities!


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.


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

     Registration closes at 8:00 a.m. on March 10, 2011.

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

     Registration is closed. Send a message to to be added to the waiting list. 

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


Enjoy the Wonders of Winter at Volo Bog State Natural Area and Moraine Hills State Park

Reservations are requested for most programs (and required for some). See the descriptions below. To make a reservation, phone 815-344-1294 or email Limited drop-ins are welcome, but the program may be cancelled if the minimum registration number is not met 24 hours prior to the event. Volo Bog State Natural Area is an IDNR site located in Ingleside on Brandenburg Road west off U.S. Highway 12 between State Highways 120 and 134. Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam are an IDNR complex located South of McHenry on River Road between State Highways 120 and 176.


Guided Tours of Volo Bog   

Most Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.      

Volo Bog becomes a fairyland of winter wonder!  Tamaracks stand stark against the cold sky, rustling their naked knobby branches among the calls of winter birds. Rare visitors such as pine siskins or crossbills sometimes come south to feed on seeds of the tamaracks and other pines.  Pitcher plant colonies become easy to spot among the mosses, and footprints of mammals reveal the night wanderings of Volo Bog's more secret residents. Guided tours of Volo Bog can reveal more subtle discoveries and often conclude with a cup of hot cocoa. No reservations are required but, groups of 10 or more, should phone 815-344-1294 for special arrangements.  All ages welcome (minimum age 5 recommended). Tours last up to one hour.


Natural Area Habitat Restoration Work Days at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam

Join a team of volunteers dedicated to healing the land through seed gathering, invasive species removal and other projects. For further information and to register, contact 815-344-1294 or


Bird Walks at McHenry Dam  

March 5 and 26, 8:00 a.m.

Meet at south end of McHenry Dam Parking Lot

Enjoy winter residents including juncos, tree sparrows and possibly bald eagles through the winter. Then watch for the return of migrating ducks as the ice begins to thaw in March. Dress for the weather. Bring binoculars and field guides or borrow ours. Walk length and time varies from one to more than three hours! Walks are co-sponsored by the McHenry County Audubon Society and led by its members. These walks are targeted to adults and attentive children seven years old and older. Reservations are requested. Contact park staff at 815-344-1294 or to make your reservation.


Bluebird Workshop at Volo Bog State Natural Area

March 19, 12:30 p.m. - 2:15/2:45 p.m.

Casual bird lovers, potential new monitors and veterans alike are invited to this workshop. As cavity-nesters, bluebirds are dependent on old woodpecker holes and other natural tree cavities. Bluebird populations declined by the mid-1900s, but they have made a remarkable comeback thanks to the efforts of bluebird monitors across North America. Monitors build bird houses and place them on trails. The first part of this workshop explores the history of this beautiful little gem of blue. The last part discusses how to build a bluebird box and establish a trail. Monitoring and reporting is an integral part of being a bluebird monitor as is learning how to discourage non-native competitors. Workshop registration is open to veteran and potential new monitors as well as those just interested in learning more about bluebirds (no monitoring required). Reservations are required. Call 815-344-1294 or email to make your reservation


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 


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 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!


Fishing in Your School

Central Illinois

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

Southwestern Illinois

Counties: Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington, Williamson

In-school programs are held through May, and the coordinator also has several hundred sets of fishing equipment available for loan to organized groups such as churches, scouts and families. Educators in other southern Illinois counties are also welcome to contact the coordinator as there may be other fishing or environmental opportunities available to them. You can reach Mark Yehling by e-mail at, by fax at 618-462-2424 or by phone at 618-462-1181 extension 155. There is no charge for these, hands-on fun-filled basic fishing education programs. Presentations easily fill a regular class period and can be modified for most class/school situations.

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