Invasive Species Awareness Month: May 2013 is Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) in Illinois. Events and programs are being held across the state and everyone is encouraged to attend and learn more about invasive species. During May, you'll be able to volunteer to help remove invasive species, join a nature hike to see invasive species firsthand, or attend presentations to learn more about what you can to do help fight these threats. Invasive species come in many forms, from plants and animals, to insects and diseases. Invasive species can greatly harm the ecology and economy of Illinois. Invasive species can reduce productivity of agricultural lands, impact diversity of natural systems, reduce wildlife habitat, and limit recreational activities. Illinois has its share of invasive species problems. Two of the most recognizable are Asian carp and emerald ash borer, but we also face many challenges with invasive plants such as garlic mustard, Oriental bittersweet, kudzu, bush honeysuckle, and leafy spurge. Learn more at the ISAM website: www.invasive.org/Illinois
Cache River Nature Fest: Join the fun at the 12th Cache River Nature Fest on Sat., May 11 at the Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center. Cache River Nature Fest 2013 will feature a variety of programs and activities. The event will include Cache River wildlife ranging from snakes, frogs, turtles and fish to eagles, owls and hawks. Learn how and why birds are banded, climb into a life-size eagle’s nest, or take a taste of Asian carp and see what other kinds of critters live in the Cache River. Guided canoe tours and hiking excursions will be offered throughout the day. All activities are free. For more information, contact the Cache River Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064 or the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge at 618-634-2231. The event is rain or shine from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sat., May 11 at the Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL 62923.
Bike to Work: May 13-17 is national Bike to Work Week and May 17 is Bike to Work Day. Go riding and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of biking to work.
Safety Reminder: Mushroom collectors and other visitors to Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and other IDNR-managed sites with spring turkey hunting programs are reminded that hunting areas are closed to activities other than turkey hunting from one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. daily during the spring turkey season. The turkey hunting area restrictions are in place for the safety of site visitors and hunters. Spring turkey seasons conclude on May 9 in the Southern Zone and May 16 in the Northern Zone.
Firearm Deer Permit Applications: Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply now for the second lottery drawing for 2013 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30. For more information, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer
Fall Turkey Applications: Resident Illinois hunters can begin applying online on May 14 for permits for the Illinois Fall Shotgun Turkey season (Oct. 19-27, 2013) at www.dnr.illinois.gov
. The first lottery application deadline is July 1. For more turkey hunting information, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey
Camping Reservations: Make your Illinois campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America 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
Life Jacket - Wear It: As the busy boating season begins, IDNR urges boat operators and passengers to “Wear It!” – a reminder to wear a life jacket whenever they’re on the water in Illinois. The “Wear It!” campaign is highlighted annually as part of National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, 2013. Life jackets save lives on the water, and Illinois law requires that personal floatation devices (PFDs) – life jackets or life vests – be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft or Jet Ski. For more information on the “Wear It!” campaign, click on www.safeboatingcampaign.com
ICF Raffle: Get your tickets now for the 2013 Illinois Conservation Foundation Raffle and help support ‘kids never pay’ youth programs at the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, IL. Raffle tickets are $100 each or three for $250. Raffle prizes – including a grand prize of up to $100,000 – will be presented at a drawing in Sangamon County on November 1, 2013. Upcoming Early Bird prizes will be awarded for tickets drawn in Sangamon County on June 13, July 18, and Aug. 15, 2013. The raffle is being conducted in accordance with the Raffles Act. All business operations of the raffle take place exclusively in Sangamon County. Raffle tickets are available online at www.ilcf.org
and by mail at: ICF, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
Women in the Outdoors: The National Wild Turkey Federation will host a ‘Women in the Outdoors’ event on Sat., May 18 at the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, IL. Courses include archery, shooting skills, nature crafts, outdoor photography, fly casting and more. Registration fee is $60. For registration and more information, phone 815-222-5010.
Deer Meetings: IDNR has scheduled a series of open houses for the public to ask questions and receive information about Illinois' deer herd. IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources staff will be on hand at each meeting to discuss the deer management program, hunting regulations, and surveillance/management of chronic wasting disease. The public is invited to attend the open houses from 4 – 7 p.m. on these dates and at these locations:
• June 3 – Rockford Public Library (East Branch), 6685 East State St., Rockford, IL
• June 4 – Hickory Hills Discovery Center (Twinleaf West room), St. Charles Park District, 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, IL
• June 5 – Champaign County Farm Bureau Auditorium, 801 Country Fair Drive, Champaign, IL
• June 6 – John A. Logan College (TDR room), 700 Logan Drive, Carterville, IL
• June 11 – PASA Park, #1 Pasa Park, Barry, IL (off I-72 west of Pittsfield)
Free Fishing Days: The annual Illinois Free Fishing Days celebration is slated for June 7-10. Free Fishing Days is a four-day celebration of fishing in Illinois in which anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp. “Free Fishing Days is a great way to help our citizens -- no matter their age or experience level -- discover that fishing is a fun, family activity available to all Illinoisans in nearly every corner of the state,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. For more information on fishing opportunities in Illinois, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov
Renew Watercraft Registration by Phone or Online: Watercraft owners in Illinois are reminded that IDNR is no longer mailing watercraft registration renewal notices. Watercraft owners can renew their watercraft registrations by using a touch-tone telephone (1-866-867-3542) or online, with a link on the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/boating/Pages/RenewYourWatercraftRegistration.aspx
This convenient service operates 24 hours a day (a convenience fee will be added to the regular registration fee to offset the cost of the transaction). When renewing, watercraft owners should have handy their Illinois registration number and hull identification number (located on the registration card) and pen and paper to record their confirmation number. Forms of payment include VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and E-Check. Upon completion of the transaction, watercraft owners will receive a confirmation number that will authorize the immediate use of their watercraft on Illinois waters.
Water Usage Stamps: Owners of non-motorized watercraft, canoes, kayaks and paddle boats in Illinois are no longer required to have those watercraft titled/registered in Illinois, unless the vessels have a motor or sail. They are now required to purchase a 'Water Usage Stamp' for $6.00 per calendar year for the each of the first three vessels, and $3.00 each for any additional vessels. All of the new Water Usage Stamps (also known as Paddle Passes) passes must be purchased at the same time to receive the discount. Water Usage Stamps are mandatory. The stamps should be available over the counter from DNR Direct license and permit point of sale vendors beginning July 1, 2013. Use this link to find vendor locations for purchase of the water usage stamp: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx
Links to the Future at Wolf Creek SP: The annual “Links to the Future” youth outdoors festival is Sat., May 18 at Wolf Creek State Park on Lake Shelbyville. The festival features fishing, trap shooting, archery, slingshot shooting and other skills competitions, along with instruction on hunting, trapping, habitat enhancement, wildlife conservation, and outdoor recreation safety. Activities are scheduled from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Organizations interested in registering youth for the “Top Gun” competition, or in otherwise assisting in sponsorship of the “Links to the Future” festival, can contact the Eagle Creek State Recreation Area. The “Links to the Future” festival is sponsored in part by Scheels, Delta Waterfowl, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the NRA. For more information, call the Eagle Creek/Wolf Creek site office at 217-756-8260 or email Richard Glazebrook at Richard.Glazebrook@Illinois.gov
INPC Meeting: The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 7 at 9 a.m. at the Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 Green Belt St., North Chicago, IL 60064. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217-785-8686.
ESPB Meeting: The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will meet on Fri., May 17 at 10 a.m. at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, 30239 South State Route 53, in Wilmington, IL. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217-785-8687.
Science Series: The Ill. St. Museum monthly Science Series program for May is ‘The Big Deal about Big Game: Early Paleoindian Use of Pleistocene Megafauna’ on Wed., May 8 at 7 p.m. The free program will be presented by Dr. Chris Widga, Assistant Curator of Geology at the State Museum. Early Paleo-Indians hunted the last of the Pleistocene megafauna to extinction. Or did they? Learn more on May 8. The program is at the Ill. St. Museum Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash Street, in Springfield. For more information, phone 217-782-0061.
Super Saturdays: The next Super Saturdays at the Illinois State Museum is ‘Blue Stems & Blue Gills: State Symbols’ on Sat., May 11 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Children and families are invited to discover the Illinois State fruit, song, and more through a variety of crafts, games, and activities. This free event will be held at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St., Springfield. For more information, phone 217-782-6044.
Wingshooting Clinics: The IDNR and participating partners sponsor wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois to help improve the shooting skills of participants. Youth/Women's clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm safety and the fundamentals of wingshooting. Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and provide sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics are conducted on weekends throughout the spring, summer and early fall. For a complete schedule, check the webpage at this link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.htm
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. Just click on the Facebook and Twitter icons on the IDNR home page at www.dnr.illinois.gov