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New this Month - February 2018

Earth Day in the Parks
Applications will be accepted from January 1 through February 28 for 2018 Earth Day in the Parks events from the IDNR. You’ll find the application form, information and list of participating Illinois state parks here. Earth Day in the Parks is an event to promote stewardship of our natural resources by Illinois school children. Students will be helping the environment and wildlife, participating in outdoor activities to increase their fitness and learning that their actions can make a difference in the world. Students are encouraged to return to the state park to see and study the results of their work. Some classes may want to perform additional volunteer work at the park.
Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #3
A limited number of Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #3 are available now. Please send your request on school letterhead. Whether you are completing your set of trading cards or starting a new one for your classroom, send your request today! The trading cards provide information and images for a variety of Illinois species. There are 63 species cards per set. Mail requests to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.
Bicentennial Bits
The IDNR is posting “Bicentennial Bits” twice each month (third and fifteenth days) on Facebook in honor of the 200th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood. The first posting of the month will discuss a conservation success story in the state, while the second will highlight the work of the IDNR offices and divisions. Posts can be accessed through the main IDNR Facebook page and the IDNR Division of Education’s Facebook page.
ENTICE Professional Development Workshops – Register Now!
Register soon for ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) professional development workshops for educators sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). ENTICE workshops provide background information, networking opportunities, hands-on lessons, supplemental resources on the topic and the opportunity to work with resources professionals on a variety of topics. Professional Development Hours are available. Correlations to relevant Next Generation Science Standards and/or Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards are provided. Shown below are upcoming workshops for winter, spring and summer 2018. Please note the new date for the workshop in Moline. Visit the ENTICE Web site for the complete list of workshops. Experience ENTICE!

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators, Giant City State Park, Makanda, March 16, 2018

Animal Adaptations and the Next Generation Science Standards, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, March 24, 2018

Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Spring, Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, April 7, 2018

Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Spring. Giant City State Park, Makanda, April 13, 2018

Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, April 14, 2018

Illinois Frogs and Toads, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, April 21, 2018

Illinois Frogs and Toads, Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress, April 23, 2018

Monarch Mania!, Giant City State Park, Makanda, May 12, 2018

Organisms of Flowing Water, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, June 9, 2018

Survival in Numbers, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, June 16, 2018

Monarch Mania!, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, June 23, 2018

Wetland Wonders, Gardner Camp, Hull,  July 17, 2018

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators, Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, July 18, 2018

Using Children’s Nonfiction in PreK through Second Grade Science, WIU Quad Cities Campus, Moline, July 24, 2018

Monarch Mania!, Torstenson Conservation Education Center, Pecatonica, August 25, 2018
Asian Carps: Activities for Middle School and High School Students to Support the Teaching of Next Generation Science Standards, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, September 15, 2018
February Kids for Conservation®: Virginia Opossum
The February edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic of the “Virginia Opossum.” You can learn basic facts about this species in the information section. Watch the video podcast, too. Take the quiz to test your knowledge. Educators, there are resources for you to utilize. We have developed a version of the information section specific to early childhood educators. “Kids in Action” features the students of Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox who developed an outdoor classroom project that is available for all students in the school to use. The March topic is “What Lives in a Dead Tree?”
IDNR Mason State Nursery has Native Seeds and Plants for Sale
The IDNR Mason State Nursery has developed a seed mix of Illinois native forbs and grasses that is suitable for use in developing a monarch/pollinator habitat. One packet of these seeds will cover about one-fifth of an acre. The cost is $40.00 per packet plus shipping and handling. Seeds of the following plants are included: leadplant Amorpha canescens, prairie coreopsis Coreopsis palmata, spiderwort Tradescantia sp., purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea, rattlesnake master Eryngium yuccifolium, prairie blazing-star Liatris pycnostachya, white prairie clover Dalea candida, purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea, obedience plant Physostegia virginiana, prairie cinquefoil Drymocallis arguta, yellow coneflower Ratibida pinnata, compass-plant Silphium laciniatum, prairie dock Silphium terebinthinaceum, smooth aster Symphyotrichum laeve, marsh blazing-star Liatris spicata, Illinois mimosa Desmanthus illlinoensis, common milkweed Asclepias syriaca, wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa, golden Alexanders Zizia aurea, partridge pea Chamaechrista fasciculata, sweet black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia subtomentosa, black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta, prairie dropseed Sporobolus heterolepis, foxglove beardstongue Penstemon digitalis, ox-eye sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides, New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium and side-oats grama Bouteloua curtipendula. The Mason State Nursery also has Illinois native plants available for sale in containers. The container plants must be picked up at the Mason State Nursery in Topeka, Illinois. Delivery is not available for the container plants. Tree seedlings are also available for sale. NO ORDERS WILL BE ACCEPTED BEFORE FEBRUARY 1, 2018.Complete ordering information will be posted soon here.
For more information and/or to order, contact the Mason State Nursery at or 309-535-2185.
Biodiversity of Illinois CD-ROM Series Conversion to Web-based Format – About 800 Files Available
The IDNR Division of Education is in the process of converting the information and images from the Biodiversity of Illinois CD-ROM series (Volume I, Aquatic Habitats; Volume II, Woodland Habitats; Volume III, Prairie and Edge Habitats) into a searchable, Web-based format. Files are being added as they are completed, so check back often. There will be about 1,500 species in this field guide when it is finished. Visit the Web site to access the approximately 800 files that have been posted to date.
Upcoming Programs at Dickson Mounds Museum
The following programs are being held at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. For more information, call 309-547-3721.
Tot Time
Thursday, February 1, 2018, 9:30 a.m.
Adults and their tots will have fun exploring, discovering and learning on the first Thursday of the month in the Museum’s Discovery Center. Spend quality time with your tot, while each of you makes new friends. A different topic and craft will be featured each month. Registration is not required and admission is free. Participants will enjoy light refreshments. The program begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. with the program portion lasting approximately thirty minutes followed by crafts, snacks and time to explore the Museum. This program series is sponsored by Havana National Bank. The February 1, 2018, topic is “Happy Birthday Abe.” As part of the Illinois Bicentennial, tots and their caretakers will celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s 209th birthday with Abe in attendance. David Nance of Jacksonville, a retired teacher and Lincoln impersonator, will present a program for children on Lincoln’s wilderness experiences as he travelled the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois. The prairie and wildlife of Illinois will be brought to life as Lincoln spins his tales.
Fulton-Mason Eagle Day
Saturday, February 3, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Join us for the annual Fulton-Mason Eagle Day event. Activities include live raptor programs, hands-on activities and crafts for kids, and bird watching in various locations in Lewistown and Havana, Illinois.  The event is free and for all ages. Visit for information and the event schedule.  The event is sponsored by the City of Havana, City of Lewistown, Forbes Biological Station, Havana Jaycees, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois State Museum-Dickson Mounds, Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Illinois River Refuges Complex and Lewistown Chamber of Commerce. Activities and displays are contributed by the Astoria High School’s Environmental Club, Emiquon Audubon, Fulton County Arts Council, Havana Park District, Illinois River Scenic Byway, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Carterville, FWCP Wilmington Substation, University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute's Traveling Science Center and the University of Illinois Extension's Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists and 4-H club.
Hickory Ridge Concert Series
Saturday, February 17, 2018
For more than 20 years, people have gathered at Dickson Mounds on the third Saturday of every month for an evening of musical entertainment. Hosted by Chris Vallillo, an accomplished musician and performer in his own right, the series features Roots/Folk music and other genres offered by a talented variety of performers. The Shanties’ “New Irish” music is filled with rocked-up Irish favorites, old, new and original. Though there is nothing sweeter than an Irish ballad played by four singers, the focus is the up-tempo rowdier melodies with pop-Irish influence from Solas, Gaelic Storm, Great Big Sea and Flogging Molly to name a few. The blended singing and instrument sounds of fiddle, mandolin, whistle, guitar and the Irish (drum) bodhran create the unique acoustic rock sound of The Shanties. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. $8 adults, $5 kids. Visit this Web site for information about the artists.
Resources Trunks and Packs for Loan
Resources trunks/packs from the IDNR’s Division of Education are Illinois-specific units on 12 topics. Available for loan statewide, they are filled with items for hands-on learning. Teachers, homeschooling educators, scout and youth group leaders, nature center personnel, librarians, day care center staff and families are among the people who can successfully use these resources. A two-week loan period is suggested. There is no charge to borrow the trunks/packs, although a refundable deposit may be requested. Lessons are correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards, as appropriate. Suggested grade levels are provided but modifications can be made for use at other grade levels. Visit the Web site to access the list of lending locations and more trunk-related information.
Flora and Fauna Poster Series
The IDNR Division of Education offers numerous posters about Illinois’ flora and fauna to support your educational efforts. They can be ordered through the publications order form. These two-sided posters are great resources that can be used in a variety of ways. Check out all the other IDNR publications available for download or order on this Web site, too!
Reporting Monarch Educational Activities
The IDNR and its partners in the monarch initiative are collecting information about educational activities related to monarch butterflies. If you conducted any activities in 2016 or 2017 related to educating people in Illinois about monarch butterflies or to enhancing or developing monarch habitat in Illinois, please send us a brief description (no more than three sentences) describing each activity. Include the date, a description of the activity, the targeted audience (if an educational activity), the organization or person leading the activity and an email address for someone who can answer questions about the activity. Submit the information to We will post the information on the IDNR Monarch Mania! Web site. This Web site is not intended to promote upcoming activities. We want to share information about efforts that have already taken place to help monarchs and their habitat. We will continue to accept information through 2017 and beyond. Please do not send photos. Thank you!
Visit Our Web Page for a Wealth of Resources
The IDNR Division of Education’s Web page offers a great variety of educational resources and information for teachers, home-schooling educators, nonformal educators, scout leaders, youth-group leaders and other people interested in learning about Illinois’ tremendous natural heritage. The “A to Z” button will allow you to access a list of topics. You’ll find basic information, lessons, activity books, grants, educator professional development, correlations to learning standards, video podcasts (with open captioning), trunks and packs for loan and many other items. Let these supplemental resources support your teaching or just learn something new! Updates are made regularly so visit often!
New Video Podcast
The Virginia Opossum video podcast is now available! This video podcast is also available on YouTube. Search "IDNREducation."
Learning Standards Interactive Web Page
Looking for IDNR lessons to help you meet the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, Illinois Social Science Standards or Illinois Early Learning Standards? Now you can easily find them with the new interactive Learning Standards Web page from the IDNR Division of Education. You can search by grade level, topic, learning standard and/or subject area. Try it today!
IDNR Division of Education List Server
Educators throughout Illinois can obtain instant notification about new products, scheduled workshops and many other events and items from the IDNR through the IDNR Division of Education's electronic list server. By participating in the list server, you will receive email messages when new educational materials are available from the IDNR. You'll also be made aware of upcoming workshops and special opportunities. To join the list, send an email to You do not need to write any text in the message or the subject line. You may leave the list at any time by sending an email to You do not need to write any text in the message or the subject line. There is no charge to participate. Messages are usually titled "Items of Possible Interest" in the subject line.
We’re on Facebook!
Visit our Facebook page to find the latest updates about the materials and programs of the IDNR Education Section. Watch for our What Do You Know about . . .? series. Search for “Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Education.”
Central Illinois Educators: Fishing and Aquatic Ecology Programs Now Available from the IDNR
Educators, if you teach in any of the following counties, the IDNR can help you bring hands-on aquatic education to your students. These programs work to develop positive attitudes towards natural resources, conservation and fishing in young people. Lessons align with the state and national learning standards and are adapted to all grade levels. For more information or to schedule a program, contact Van Grissom at
217-720-3501 or
Adams, Brown, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Hancock, Iroquois, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Vermillion
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