Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet: Tickets are still available for the annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. Hall of Fame inductees include outdoors broadcaster Chauncey Niziol and the late Casimir “Cass” Sliwa of Chicago. Proceeds from the Hall of Fame Banquet assist in funding Illinois Conservation Foundation initiatives to encourage youth participation in outdoor recreation and natural resources protection. For reservations or more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003, or check the ICF web site at www.ilcf.org
2012 Illinois Licenses Now Available: Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2012 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/Pages/default.aspx
or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The system is available 24 hours a day. The 2012 licenses purchased beginning Jan. 16 will be valid through Mar. 31, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Spring Turkey Applications: Resident and non-resident hunters may apply for 2012 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits online. The deadline to apply for the third lottery drawing is Feb. 9. Random daily drawings begin Mar. 9. The link to the online permit application can be found on the IDNR website Spring Turkey page: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting.aspx
Youth Spring Turkey Special Hunt Area online permit applications will be accepted until Feb. 20. For more information on 2012 spring turkey hunting: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting.aspx
IRAP Youth Turkey Hunting this Spring: IDNR is offering expanded youth hunting opportunities on private property this spring during the Spring Wild Turkey Season through the new federally-funded Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). Interested youth turkey hunters can download an application for an IRAP Youth Turkey Hunting permit through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP
. More than 6,000 acres on private property in at least 17 counties are available for kids under the age of 16 for the Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season and Turkey Seasons 3 and 4. Hunters will need to choose the county in which they wish to hunt and a random drawing may be held for each county/site. For more information on IRAP, contact Tammy Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org
or go to IRAP website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP
Site Hunter Harvest Reporting: Hunters are reminded that harvest information for IDNR Free Site Hunting Windshield Permits issued online during the 2011-2012 season for upland, forest game and waterfowl must be reported online by Feb. 15, 2012 at www.dnr.illinois.gov
. Go to the “Hunting/Trapping” button and choose “Public Hunting Areas” and “Free Site Hunting Permit and Harvest reporting – All 5 Regions” to follow the on-screen prompts and to make a report. Hunters who were issued these free site hunting windshield permits must report even if they did not hunt. For questions or assistance with this online service, contact the site office where you hunted or send an email to email@example.com
Hunter and Boating Safety Education: Now’s the time to begin planning for spending time outdoors in 2012 by checking the schedule and registering for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. There are plenty of classes scheduled, and since classes fill up quickly, check the IDNR website today for class dates and locations. Class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety
Archaeology Talk at Dickson Mounds: Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, will host a lecture by archaeologist Alan Harn on Tues., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. on "Six Hundred Generations There: Changes in the Land and Human Settlement Evolution at the Emiquon Wildlife Complex.” In the early 1930s, the University of Chicago ushered in a new era of archaeological innovation with their excavations at the Morton site, now a part of the developing Emiquon Preserve. Subsequent reconnaissance surveys at Emiquon have located 29 mortuary sites and 129 habitation areas featuring examples of every prehistoric culture now identified in the region. More than 30 archaeological excavations have been carried out at these locations from 1930 to the present. Learn more about these discoveries at this free program. Also – mark your calendars for the annual Artifact Identification Day at Dickson Mounds on Sun., Mar. 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, phone 309/547-3721.
Science Series: The monthly science series program at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield features Lincoln Home site historian Timothy Townsend with a presentation on Abraham Lincoln’s neighbor and Underground Railroad conductor Jameson Jenkins. In 2007, the Jenkins property was included in the National Park Service ‘Underground Railroad Network to Freedom’ because of Jenkins’ involvement in helping freedom seekers. The free program begins at 7 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 8 at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash, Springfield. For more information, phone 217/782-0061or check online at www.museum.state.il.us/events
Eagle Day Festival at Dickson Mounds: Visit the Dickson Mounds Museum on Sat., Feb. 11 for the annual Eagle Day Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The event, co-sponsored by the Fulton County Arts Council, the Mason County Arts Council, the Havana Nature Center, The Nature Conservancy, the Havana Library District, Lewistown Chamber, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is free to the public. Two special exhibits will be on display: the Illinois Winter Wildlife Photography Show and Eagle Art and Poetry created by students from Fulton and Mason counties. These exhibits will be on display through the end of February. Eagle watching activities are planned throughout the day. For more information: www.museum.state.il.us/events
Super Saturdays: Visit the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sat., Feb. 11 for the monthly Super Saturdays program “Get the Beat!-African American Musicians.” Families will learn about Illinois musicians and make their own beat with percussion instruments. The free program from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., is being held in celebration of Black History Month. For more information, phone 217/782-6044 or check online at www.museum.state.il.us/events
. The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex at 502 S. Spring Street, Springfield.
Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Programs: Enjoy watching bald eagles on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers near Pere Marquette State Park this winter by participating one of the park’s upcoming Bald Eagle Days tours. The site interpreter at Pere Marquette presents informative programs about bald eagles on select dates through early March. All programs begin at the Pere Marquette Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 618/786-3323. Upcoming programs will be held on the following dates: Feb. 8, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, and 29 and Mar. 6. For more information, go to the Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Days webpage at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/R4/Bald_Eagle_Days.htm
Wildlife Preservation Fund: The IDNR has awarded grants for 29 wildlife enhancement projects for 2012 which are funded by donations to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund (WPF). The WPF is a voluntary contribution check-off option on the Illinois state income tax form. In the 27 years of the program, a combined total of more than 1,150 large and small projects benefitting wildlife throughout Illinois have been funded through check-off donations totaling more than $5.4 million. The funds have been used to support projects ranging from habitat enhancements to species restoration. The Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Advisory Committee approved more than $152,000 in funding for 29 projects this year. They include eight projects with funding ranging from $2,000 to $34,000 and 20 other projects with funding of $2,000 or less for each. The projects are to be conducted by a variety of organizations, groups, institutions and individuals throughout the state. Donations to the WPF are tax deductible and may be made on Schedule G, line 1a of the IL-1040 form. Donations to the fund may also be addressed to the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. For a complete list of Wildlife Preservation Fund grants for 2012, click this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Documents/WPF-2012ProjectsAwarded-Feb2012.pdf
WPF Grant Applications: Applications are now being accepted for the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund grant programs, which are administered through the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage. These programs are funded through a voluntary check-off designation to the Wildlife Preservation Fund on the state income tax form. Each of the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program packets for Fiscal Year 2013 includes a program explanation, instructions for completing the application form and an application form. The application packet can be found on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/grants
. The packet is also available by request by calling 217/782-2602 or by e-mail at DNR.SPECIALFUNDS@illinois.gov
. The deadline for accepting applications is 5 p.m. on April 1, 2012.
OutdoorIllinois: For the latest news about Illinois' natural resources, pick up the February 2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois, the IDNR monthly magazine. Featured on the cover is a snowy landscape taken by Best of Show winner Virginia Kickle of Mt. Zion. Her winning entry of a downy woodpecker against a fall backdrop appears on page 7 of the magazine. The February issue of OutdoorIllinois is the eighth annual full-photographic issue, featuring 13 pages filled with stunning, winning entries in the 2011 OutdoorIllinois photo contest. Photo contest guidelines require that submitted images meet one of several categories, including aquatic organisms, herps, birds, mammals, invertebrates, scenic/landscape, flora, natural resource recreational activities, children in nature and young shutterbugs (same categories but taken by persons 12 years of age or younger). Information on the 2012 photography contest will be published in the May issue of OutdoorIllinois, and posted at www.dnr.illinois.gov/OI
by May 1. For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at www.dnr.state.il.us/OI
. 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. Visit dnr.state.il.us/OI or call 1-800-720-3249 to subscribe. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For information on advertising in OutdoorIllinois, call 217/785-8610 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth Day in the Parks: There is still time for Illinois school teachers to apply for this spring’s Earth Day in the Parks program from the IDNR. Applications will be accepted thru Feb. 28. Earth Day in the Parks is a natural resources stewardship event for students held at Illinois state parks. The application form is online at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/EDITPinstruct.htm
. Grants from the Illinois Conservation Foundation and Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund help to fund Earth Day in the Parks.
Camping Reservations: Now’s the time to make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the ReserveAmerica website at www.reserveamerica.com
using a Visa or MasterCard. For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/camping/camprsvp.htm
History of the Blues: The Illinois State Museum, in collaboration with the Illinois Central Blues Club, will present the “History of the Blues” on Sun., Feb. 19 from 2-4 p.m. at the museum in Springfield. Fernando Jones will present the history of the blues genre in narration and musically with his group, My Band. The program is free and open to the public. For more information: www.museum.state.il.us/events
Celebrate Cultural Diversity: Families are invited to celebrate cultural diversity on Sat., Feb. 25 at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. The free family event is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn about the heritage and traditions of various world cultures through hands-on crafts, international displays, live performances, and more. For more information, phone 217/782-5993 or check online at www.museum.state.il.us/events
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Registration opens March 12 for the IDNR ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop’ on June 8-10 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois. Classes are offered in more than 25 different outdoor-related activities and skills. In addition to core classes on topics such as canoeing, archery, wild edibles, fishing, and firearm safety, there are several new classes offered at this workshop including advanced shotgun wingshooting, nature sketching, river kayaking, deer hunting and birding. Experienced and knowledgeable instructors provide a non-competitive and non-threatening environment for learning. The cost of $210 per person includes housing, meals, four classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event, and much more. Registration will begin March 12 online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow
Follow the IDNR: Keep up to date with events and information on outdoor recreation and natural resources in Illinois through IDNR postings on Facebook and Twitter. Find us at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/about/Pages/SocialNetworking.aspx