Illinois’ Pollinators Resources Trunks
The new Illinois’ Pollinators
resources trunks from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education contain teaching tools to help you and your students explore the variety of pollinators in our state. Targeted to grades prekindergarten through six, there are resources included for classroom use as well as a backpack with field guides and equipment for pollinator observation in the field. Sections in the trunk include “What are Pollinators?,” “Why are Pollinators Important?,” How Does Pollination Work?,” “Helping Pollinators” and “Pollinator Gardens.” Lessons are correlated to Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. See the list of host sites and the contents checklist at this Web address.
Biodiversity of Illinois
The IDNR Division of Education has completed conversion of 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. You’ll find more than 1,000 species accounts with descriptions of their life history, identification features, status, classification, Illinois range map(s), habitat associations and photographs. This information can support your teaching in many ways. More files will be added as they are developed. Give it a try today!
ENTICE Professional Development Workshops
Register soon for ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) professional development workshops for educators sponsored by the IDNR. ENTICE workshops provide background information, networking opportunities, hands-on lessons, supplemental resources on the topic and the opportunity to work with resources professionals. 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 workshops for spring, summer and fall 2019. Visit the ENTICE registration Web page
for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!
Wetland Wonders Exploring the Organisms of Illinois’ Wetland Ecosystems
Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress
June 18, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
We’ll make a splash as we explore the fascinating organisms that live in Illinois’ wetlands. We’ll learn about their life history and identification and will put the skills to practice as we visit a wetland. Hands-on activities will be conducted, and you’ll receive supplemental educational resources. Although targeted to teachers of grades four through eight, other educators are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2019.
Asian Carps: Activities for Middle School and High School Students to Support the Teaching of Next Generation Science Standards
Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown
July 19, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Asian carps are nonnative fishes that have invaded the waterways of Illinois and many other states. These species are responsible for enormous economic, recreational and environmental impacts. At this workshop, we’ll discuss their life history and provide data to quantify their effects. Containment methods being used in Illinois to keep Asian carps out of Lake Michigan will be examined. Student lessons relevant to Next Generation Science Standards MS-LS2-4 and HS-LS2-7 will be incorporated. Although targeted to middle school and high school educators, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to attend but may need to adapt the information as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON JULY 12, 2019.
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
July 27, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Learn how insect pests have unique adaptations that can cause threats to our woodland ecosystem. We will show you how to conduct a tree inventory and risk analysis for future pest threats of trees in a given location. Identification and life history information for beneficial and invasive insects will be provided. Although targeted to teachers of grades six through eight, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to attend but may need to adapt the information as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available.
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
July 30, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Discover the hidden world of pollinators and their unique relationship with the plants they pollinate. Investigate native plants and their pollinators in action through the Garden’s pollinator-focused planting exhibition. You’ll experience hands-on activities that explore how pollination works and how plants attract pollinators. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through four, all educators are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Supplemental resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available.
Barkhausen Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress
August 2, 2019, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
The only true flying mammals will be examined at this workshop for educators of grades one through four. Work with resource professionals as you learn about the life history of bats and their relationships to other species in the environment. Experience hands-on activities that can be instantly implemented into your curriculum. We’ll take a short drive to watch bats emerge from their roosts at dusk, too. Take home many Illinois-specific supplemental materials. Professional Development Hours are available. Educators of other grade levels are welcome to attend the workshop, but they will need to adapt the materials to the grade levels taught, as appropriate.
Aquatic Ecosystems: Lake Michigan Ecology II
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
September 14, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Lake Michigan is one of Illinois’ greatest natural resources. Come to this workshop and learn about the complex relationships between the lake and its inhabitants. Part of the workshop will be held indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, but we will also take a hike to conduct activities on the Lake Michigan shore, weather-permitting. Supplemental educational resources will be provided. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through four, other educators are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available.
Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress
September 17, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The wonderful world of spiders will be explored in this workshop for educators of grades four through six. Jim Louderman of The Field Museum will lead us as we learn about the spiders found in Illinois, their habits and habitats. Go on a hike to find spiders in the wild. Take part in hands-on activities that can be instantly implemented into your classes. Numerous supplemental materials will be provided. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for the workshop but may need to adapt the information as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available.
Oaks and the Animals that Need Them
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
September 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Learn about the interdependence between oak trees and the native Illinois species that rely on them. Discover dynamic interactions that play a vital role in an ecosystem’s overall health. Learn outdoor activities that focus on producers, consumers and decomposers and how species are adapted to survive in oak woodlands. Although targeted to teachers of grades three through five, all educators are welcome to register for the workshop, but the information may need to be adapted, as appropriate. You’ll take away numerous resources to use. Professional Development Hours are available.
Engineering and Life Science
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
September 28, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The inclusion of engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards may seem scary, but there are many easy ways to add an engineering twist even in plant science and ecology. Come learn about biomimicry and the characteristics of plants and animals that inspire solutions to human problems. Investigate the physical properties of plant parts and the structures that animals create. Discover simple tips for setting up engineering challenges. Although targeted to teachers of grades three through eight, all educators are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Supplemental resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available.
Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Fall
Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
October 5, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Fall is a great season for young children to explore nature! There is so much to see and learn. Join us to discover what nature can tell us in fall. We’ll take a hike to put our knowledge to work and will feature the Field Trip Pack from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. We'll be incorporating animal tracks, animal signs, seeds and changes in leaves, too. We’ll show you how to support the teaching of several of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards for science and Next Generation Science Standards with your students. Although targeted to grades prekindergarten through two, all educators are welcome to register for the workshop, but the information may need to be adapted, as appropriate. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature. Professional Development Hours are available.
Illinois Urban Wildlife
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
November 9, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wildlife is all around us, even in downtown Chicago! Educators of grades prekindergarten through four are invited to participate as we learn where to look for urban wildlife, what you can expect to find, how to identify species and how to improve urban wildlife habitat at your school. Natural resources professionals and educators will instruct about these topics and more, including how species adapt to the urban environment, how humans affect urban wildlife and how to use urban wildlife topics as the foundation for locally relevant, place-based teaching. Receive supplemental educational materials to enhance your teaching. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available.
Tracks, Scats and Habitats
Starved Rock State Park, Utica
November 23, 2019, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Often when exploring nature, instead of seeing an animal, we find what it left behind. Join us in this exploration of animal signs and how they relate to habitats. We'll be practicing our skills on an outdoor field trip, too. We'll show you how to incorporate the topic into your lessons and provide resources to help you do so. Although targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten through four, other educators are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available.
Scout leaders, the IDNR Division of Education has resources that you can use to help teach about Illinois' animals, plants and other topics. Videos, publications, resources trunks/packs for loan, activities and other information can be found through the links on the new "Scouting Resources" Web page.
Visit it today!
June Kids for Conservation®: Tiger Swallowtail
The June edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page
features the topic of the “Tiger Swallowtail
.” You can learn basic facts about this topic in the information section. Watch the video podcast, too. Educators, there are resources for you to utilize. “Kids in Action” features students who are taking action to benefit the environment.
Starved Rock State Park Programs for June and July
The following programs are being held in June and July at Starved Rock State Park near Utica. For more information, contact the park’s staff at DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov
Live Hawk Show
June 1, 2, 15 and 16, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
July 6, 7, 20 and 21, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Have an up close and personal visit with three very special hawks and their handler, falconer Rich Escutia. Mr. Escutia will cover the biology and hunting instincts of each of his two Harris’s hawks and his red-tailed hawk at this show located by the Eagles Roost Cabin behind the Visitors’ Center.
Borrow a Trunk or Pack for Your Teaching and Youth Programming
Resources trunks/packs from the IDNR’s Division of Education are Illinois-specific units on topics including pollinators, trees, aquatics, mammals, birds, prairies, insects/spiders, state symbols, invasive species, fossils, Native Americans, amphibians/reptiles and nature exploration. 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 trunks' Web page
to access the list of lending locations and more trunk-related information.
Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #5
The IDNR Division of Education is once again making Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #5 available. These cards have an image on one side and information about the subject on the other side. There are 63 cards in the set, covering a variety of animals, plants and fungi that live in and/or travel through Illinois. One set of these cards per teacher may be requested. Please send your request on school letterhead to the IDNR Division of Education, 1 Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702, and indicate that you are interested in Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #5. Quantities are limited so order soon.
IDNR Publications for Order and/or Download
Many publications are available from the IDNR. They cover a variety of topics for educators and the public. All publications may be accessed through the order form
. Posters, activity books, brochures and other items can help you learn and teach about the topics. Numerous items in Spanish-language versions may be ordered, 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 2018 or 2019 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
. We will post the information on this IDNR Web page.
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. 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 – Tiger Swallowtail
The Tiger Swallowtail video podcast can be found on the Podcasts page.
This video podcast is also available on YouTube.
Illinois State Museum Upcoming Programs
The Illinois State Museum in Springfield is offering several educational programs in the coming weeks. Unless otherwise specified in the description, the programs are held at the Illinois State Museum, 502 South Spring Street, Springfield, IL 62706.
Summer Passport Series
May 27 - August 5, 2019
free with museum admission
This series of five search activities will enable families to take a closer look at the exhibits that they love. A new search will be available every two weeks starting on Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day), 2019. Upon completion of each search, children will receive a stamp for their passport and a drawing entry for a prize. The program will end on August 5, 2019. Complete all five search activities to complete the passport!
Illinois Conservation Foundation Accepting Nominations for Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame
The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) is accepting nominations for the 2019 class of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. Since 2002, the ICF has recognized individuals who have records of exemplary service in and commitments to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois. Some inductees touched the lives of thousands of youth and adults by promoting fishing, hunting, conservation and safety education. Others spearheaded efforts to preserve or enhance fish and wildlife habitat and protect and restore Illinois’ lakes and rivers. Some inductees are national and international leaders in conservation, or advocates for outdoor heritage traditions. All have led by personal example and serve as role models for future generations of conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts. Nominees selected will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame this fall at the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Gala. Nominations must be submitted on the official Hall of Fame Nomination form.
Nominations must be submitted by June 30, 2019, to be considered. For more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271 or at 217-785-2003. Additional information also may be found online at www.ilcf.org.