Welcome to Kids for Conservation™! On this Web site you can learn about some of the animals, plants and other organisms in our state and possibly in your backyard. A contest each month will let you show us your outdoor experiences. We’ll also feature positive actions that Illinois youth are taking to help the environment. Come back often as more features will be added regularly!
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Southern Leopard Frog
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Jack O'Lantern Mushroom
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Does this image look familiar to you? Probably not! It’s a close-up photograph of the armor of a nine-banded armadillo. Armadillos have been residents of Illinois for several years. They are expanding their range from the southern United States. This unusual mammal will jump straight up if it is startled.
Found in the southern half of the state, the southern leopard frog is about two to three and a half inches in length. The males start calling in March around ponds, streams, lakes and flooded fields. The call sounds something like a chuckle.
The luna moth has large, light-green wings. Its four- to five-inch wingspan makes it one of the largest moths in North America. It is mainly active at night. The adult does not eat and lives only about one week. During that time, mating occurs, and the female lays eggs. Spiny larvae (caterpillars) hatch from the eggs. They eat leaves of trees and shrubs in woodlands statewide. When ready to transform to an adult, the larva spins a thin, gray-brown silk cocoon over its body. You may find one of these cocoons on the ground in leaf litter. The adult moth exits the cocoon during the morning hours and is one of the few times this insect is easily seen.
This bright orange mushroom has gills that glow in the dark (bioluminescence). The blue-green glow is weak, but in total darkness it can be seen. The Jack O’Lantern mushroom is very toxic and should not be eaten. It usually grows in clusters from the soil at the base of trees or stumps, often oaks.
Have you ever heard a hooting sound like “who cooks for you, who cooks for you alllllll” in your neighborhood? If so, then you’ve heard a barred owl. This large bird is mainly a predator of mice, but it will eat other small animals, too.
This Month in 2013
This April we salute Earth Day in the Parks participants
! Thousands of students in Illinois have taken part to help the IDNR improve wildlife habitat in our state. They have done a wonderful job and learned that they can make a difference in our world. Thank you!