New This Month - September 2010

New Resources from the IDNR Education Section

Several new Illinois-specific resources for educators are now available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Education Section.

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 for September and October are listed below.

September 13, Aquatic Illinois and RiverWatch Discovery, Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey

October 2, Creating and Keeping Collections, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

October 16, Pages from the Prairies, Fermilab, Batavia

October 22, The Cache River Wetlands, Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress

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 https://www.ilcf.org/documents/YouthSchlrshp2011final.pdf for complete details. Applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2010. Questions may be addressed to Kathy Wheeler at kathy.wheeler@illinois.gov or 217-785-2003.  

IDNR Programs Calendar included on Youth Programs Web Page

Visit http://www.dnr.illinois.gov 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!

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