New This Month - May 2010

Youth Conservation Congress – Register Now!

Director Marc Miller, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), invites high school youth (ages 14-17) to participate in the first Youth Conservation Congress at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield on June 27. Students will learn about conservation issues and careers in Illinois. Activities will be hands-on, and the agenda will focus on Community Conservation, Wildlife Management and Invasive Species. Students will develop a personal action plan to incorporate conservation activities into their everyday lives. You must register in advance, and the first 100 students will be accepted. On June 27th, check-in will open at 9:30 a.m., and the program will run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event is FREE, and lunch will be provided by the Illinois Sportsmen’s Caucus. Registration is available at http://www.dnr.state.il.us/nrab/ycc.htm

Parents or guardians will not be allowed to participate in the activities, but family members are invited to enjoy a day at Brookfield Zoo while their student(s) participate in the Youth Conservation Congress. 

Questions?  Call 217-785-0075.  

Revised Environmental Literacy for Illinois Plan Ready for Comments

 The Environmental Literacy for Illinois Plan is currently being revised and is available for review and comment at www.dnr.state.il.us/el4il/home.htm. A public comment meeting was held on April 13, and a second public comment meeting will be held October 21 at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. All educators and the general public are encouraged to read and provide feedback on this important document.

Forest Ecology Can Involve Your Students in Learning about the Ecology and Management of Illinois’ Forests

Forest Ecology is now ready for order or download at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids in the “Activity Books” section. This 48-page publication from the IDNR Division of Education is targeted to students of grades four through eight and contains many activities about the complex ecological relationships in our forests and how they are managed. The booklet is a revision of an activity book produced by the Illinois Department of Conservation in the 1980s.

ENTICE Workshop Registration - 2010-2011 Schedule Released

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. Registration is now open for the July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, workshops. Upcoming workshops are listed below.

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

July 5-18, The Sangamon River: A Sense of Place, Online

July 7, Illinois Bats, Fullersburg Woods, Oak Brook

July 19, Illinois Butterflies, Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean

July 23, Illinois Beetles, The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

July 24, Native Americans and Nature in Illinois, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Collinsville

August 4, Illinois Butterflies and Dragonflies, Ballard Nature Center, Altamont

August 28, Incorporating Nature into Fine Arts, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle

Give Us Your Best Shot!

Joining the IDNR as a partner in the 2010 OutdoorIllinois photo contest—the 11th annual—is the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. All winning images will be published in the February 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois–the sixth annual photographic issue. The photo contest is open to all Illinois residents, and entries are due by 5:00 p.m. August 6, 2010. Among the items the “Best of Show” winner will receive are a weekday, one-night lodging and breakfast for two package for Rend Lake Resort and Lodge and two tickets to the 2011 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet, where the recipient will be honored and the winning photograph displayed. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive three-year, two-year and one-year subscriptions, respectively, to OutdoorIllinois and the opportunity to have their winning photos published in the February 2011 issue. Contest guidelines are listed below and are also available at www.dnr.state.il.us/photos. Questions may be directed to (217) 785-0975 or by e-mail to dnr.editor@illinois.gov.

Contest Guidelines

·        Categories are: mammals, birds, insects, reptiles/amphibians, fishes (including underwater images), scenic/landscape, flora (plants, mushrooms), natural resource recreational activities and young shutterbugs (same categories but taken by persons 12 years of age or younger).

·        Photographs must be taken in Illinois.

·        Photos of captive and domestic species will not be considered.

·        Entries are limited to color or black-and-white slides, prints and digital images. Print images must be unmounted and at least 5 x 7 inches but not more than 8 x 10 inches. Slides (35mm) and medium or large transparencies should be mounted. Digital images (minimum of 2 megapixels or 1600 x 1200 dpi) must be submitted as a print.

·        Each entry must be labeled with the photographer’s name, address, daytime phone number and e-mail address (if applicable), category and when and where the photograph was taken. Adhering a label to the back of the print, vs. writing directly on the back of it, is preferred as ink often smears.

·        A note must accompany entries specifying the total number of slides, prints and/or digital images entered.

·        Photographers of winning entries must be willing to provide the original slide, negative or electronic file for publication purposes if necessary.

·        Entries received after 5 p.m. August 6, 2010, will be disqualified and not returned.

·        A panel of photo experts will review entries. Winners will be notified after the judging is completed.

·        The 2009 OutdoorIllinois photo contest best-of-show winner and IDNR employees and members of their immediate household may not compete.

·        Entries will not be returned. IDNR may contact any photographer regarding gratis use of images in printed materials promoting Illinois' natural resources.

·        All submitted photos must be free of claims and rights of third parties.

·        Send entries to: Photo Contest, OutdoorIllinois, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.

IDNR Programs Calendar included on Youth Programs Web Page

Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/youthprograms/ 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!

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 http://www.facebook.com and search for "Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Education."

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 herb.dreier@illinois.gov.

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 bob.bluett@illinois.gov.

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