New This Month


November 2010


Comment Now on Environmental Literacy for Illinois Plan Draft Two

Draft Two of the Environmental Literacy for Illinois strategic plan is available for comment through November 15, 2010. Visit to review the document and submit comments. Your comments and support are essential to the success of this plan. Please take a few moments to review it.    


Important Information for Teachers Regarding the Arbor Day Poster Contest

The National Arbor Day Foundation has discontinued the Arbor Day Poster Contest. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will no longer offer this contest.


November 30 Application Deadline is Quickly Approaching for Grant Programs

Start working on your Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant and Illinois Rain Garden Initiative grant applications now! Both applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2010. The Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant provides teachers and youth group leaders with funds to help in the development or enhancement of wildlife habitat on the school grounds or other public place. The application maximum is $600. All funds for this program are donated to the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Major support is provided by the Jadel Youth Fund. The Illinois Rain Garden Initiative provides up to $1,000 to successful applicants to establish a rain garden. Teachers and community group leaders are eligible to apply. Funding is possible through a grant to the Illinois Conservation Foundation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To access the application forms, visit  For more information, contact the IDNR Education Section at or 217-524-4126.


Illinois Conservation Foundation Offers Conservation Achievement Scholarships for High School Seniors

The Illinois Conservation Foundation will honor high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding efforts to preserve, protect, enhance and/or promote Illinois’ natural resources with the awarding of three Conservation Achievement Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 scholarship and one $2,000 scholarship are available. The applicant must be an Illinois resident and a senior in an Illinois high school during the 2010-2011 school year.  Voluntary, effective contributions to Illinois’ natural resources throughout the applicant’s high school enrollment must be documented. Other criteria also apply. See the application form at for complete details. Applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2010. Questions may be addressed to Kathy Wheeler at or 217-785-2003.  


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 


Wildlife Prairie State Park Events

The Wildlife Prairie State Park in Hanna City (near Peoria) is hosting several events in November. 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 (unless noted)
*10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (unless noted)
*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 to register.
*Parents and family members staying in the park during the session must pay admission.


Junior Explorers - Mysteries of the Deep
November 13, 2010, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Calling all five- to seven- year-olds for this program designed for having fun, learning and meeting new friends! By becoming a Junior Explorer, you can do it all! Join us for crafts, games and projects. Each month a different topic is covered.
Cost: $7, plus applicable admission fee /$6 for park members
Pre-registration is required. Call 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email to register.


Homeschool Connection - Candid about Canines
November 10, 2010, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This multi-age-level program is conducted by a park naturalist. The program will be followed by activity stations that are set by skill level. There will also be a hike, game or other all-age activity to further the lesson of the day.
Cost: $3 per child for program and supplies, plus school admission rate. Advance registration is required. Please call 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email to register.


Junior Girl Scout Badge Day - Science Sleuth
November 13, 2010, 10:00 am - 2:00 p.m.
This program is a fun and exciting way for Junior-level Girl Scouts to complete their badge work.
Admission Price: $15 per person, $10 for park members. Advance registration is required. Call 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email to register.


November 13, 2010, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Help us remember the Native Americans who assisted the first European settlers with an event that focuses on their culture. Enjoy drumming, crafts and sample homemade Native American cuisine. This event is free with paid admission to the park.

Knee High Naturalists - Wiggle Like a Worm!
November 16, 2010 - November 17, 2010, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Gather the two- to  four-year old children in your life and bring them to the park for a curriculum designed especially for them! This hands-on, learning program revolves around a main topic and incorporates story-time, crafts, a hike and refreshments. The cost is $6 per child, plus applicable General Admission; $5 for park members. Advance payment and registration for either Tuesday or Wednesday is required. Please choose only one session. Call 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email to register.


Girl Scout Night in the Wild
November 20, 2010 - November 21, 2010, 4:00 p.m. Saturday through 8:00 a.m. Sunday
For our end of the year wrap-up, we will spend the night in Wildlife Prairie State Park! Any Girl Scout (Brownie, Junior, or Cadet) can sign up for this exclusively Girl Scout event! Chaperones and troop leaders are welcome, too, but not required. Our Night in the Wild includes a private tour by a naturalist, supper, breakfast, an Amazing Animal Program, crafts, s'mores and so much more! Bring your sleeping bag for a one-of-a- kind night in the rustic log room. Make your reservation today!
Cost: (per Girl Scout) $18 for members/$20 for non-members. Chaperones will be charged $12 if accompanying a scout.
Starts: 4:00 p.m., Saturday, November 20, 2010
Ends: 8:00 a.m., Sunday, November 21, 2010
Please call the Education Department at 309-676-0998 extension 6758 or email for additional information and to schedule reservations.

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 Biodiversity of 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.


New! Illinois’ Invasive Species Resources Trunks

Invasive species are a daily topic in the news. What are they? How did they get here? What problems do they cause? What can we do about them? These questions and more can be answered by using the new Illinois’ Invasive Species resources trunk from the IDNR Education Section! The trunk is available for loan from approximately 60 lending locations in the state. Contents include student activities, background information, images, lessons, field guides, specimens and other items. A two-week loan period is suggested. Visit for more information and to access the list of lending locations. Targeted Grades: 7-12.


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!

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.


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


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