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New this Month - March 2018

IDNR Mason State Nursery has Native Seeds and Plants for Sale
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (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. For complete ordering information, visit this Web site. 
Butterfly Monitoring Training
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Cache River State Natural Area, Barkhausen-Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, Illinois
Join the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network for this workshop open to anyone who would like to help monitor butterfly populations in Illinois and make a contribution to butterfly conservation. Training includes how to collect and submit data, butterfly identification and field instruction. The training is sponsored by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Professional Development Hours are available for teachers. The program is free and open to the public. Bring your own lunch. If you have questions about the program, please call the Site Interpreter at 618-657-2064.
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 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 natural 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. Visit the ENTICE Web site for the complete list of workshops. The 2019 ENTICE schedule has been posted! Experience ENTICE!
Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators, Giant City State Park, Makanda, March 16, 2018 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2018.

Animal Adaptations and the Next Generation Science Standards, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, March 24, 2018 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP IS CLOSED.

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
March Kids for Conservation®: What Lives in a Dead Tree?
The March edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic “What Lives in a Dead Tree?” 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 St. Theresa School in Palatine where the preschool students partnered with their mentor/buddies from fourth grade to plant a butterfly garden on the school grounds. The April topic is the “American Robin.


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 sponsored by Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. Unless otherwise noted, the programs occur at Dickson Mounds Museum, too. For more information, call 309-547-3721.
Tot Time
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 are 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 30 minutes followed by crafts, snacks and time to explore the Museum. This program series is sponsored by the City of Lewistown, Canton Chamber of Commerce, Havana National Bank, Rusty Melhouse of Edward Jones and Chris Bennett of Dunfermline. The March 1, 2018, topic will be “Colors and Patterns” presented by the Peoria Park District Zoo. “Colors and Patterns” will explore the amazing markings found in the animal world. The program will examine how animals use these markings to hide, attract a mate or warn others that they are dangerous. Tots and their caretakers may view live animals from the zoo, including a snake, turtle, toad and chinchilla.
Illinois Valley Archaeological Society
The Illinois Valley Archaeological Society (IVAS) gathers at Dickson Mounds Museum at 7:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. Each month there is a presentation on contemporary archaeological research in the region, which is open to the general public. The lecture is followed by the monthly meeting of IVAS members. 
Weekend Knap-In
Saturday, March 3, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
Sunday, March 4, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
The public is welcome to view flint-knapping demonstrations during Dickson Mounds Museum’s Third Annual Weekend Knap-In. Learn about the different techniques used by several craftsmen and see their stone tool creations. Flintknappers should call Christa Foster at 309-547-3721 for information on how to participate. The event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated. 
Artifact ID Day
Sunday, March 4, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
Museum staff members and other experts will be available to identify your artifacts, rocks, fossils, animal bones and perhaps anything else you may be curious about. If you don’t have any items to identify, be sure to stop in any way to see these artifacts and live demonstrations. The event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated.
Hickory Ridge Concert Series
Saturday, March 17, 2018, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
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. Internationally acclaimed bluegrass and folk duo, The Gordons, returns to the Hickory Ridge Concert Series for our St. Patrick’s Day concert. Featuring Gary Gordon on guitar and Roberta Gordon on autoharp, this award-winning duo combines world-class bluegrass chops with outstanding vocals on excellent original and traditional music. Fee: $8 Adults, $5 Kids
Kid’s Day: Illinois Frontier
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
As part of the Illinois Bicentennial programming series at Dickson Mounds Museum, kids ages five years old and up accompanied by an adult may enjoy learning about life on the Illinois frontier. Members of the Mackinaw Valley Longrifles will offer demonstrations, such as spinning, weaving, cooking and metal-working. Kids may participate in historic games and make crafts to take home. The event is free of charge, but donations are appreciated.
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.
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 What Lives in a Dead Tree? 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