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New this Month - November 2017

Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant – Application Deadline is November 30
Applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2017, for the Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program. New for the program this year are two application options. Option One will allow you to apply for a standard pollinator garden. With this option, the plant species are predetermined. You and the students must decide how best to use these species in your available space. Other items to be purchased are limited with this option. Option Two allows the applicant to determine what type of wildlife habitat to develop. You can view both options here.  See the detailed instructions and grant information accessible through this Web page. Please use the supporting video podcasts to assist you in completing the application form. Help wildlife species while taking learning to life! The Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Funding is provided by the Jadel Youth Fund and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.
ENTICE Professional Development Workshops: Register Now for Winter and Spring Workshops
Register here 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 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 and spring 2018. New workshops for Moline and Rockford have been added to the schedule. Visit the ENTICE Web site for the complete list of workshops. Experience ENTICE!
Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Winter, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, January 13, 2017

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

Using Children’s Nonfiction in PreK-Second Grade Science, WIU Quad Cities Campus, Moline, May 19, 2018

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

Survival in Numbers, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, June 16, 2018
November Kids for Conservation®: Eastern Cottontail
The November edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic of the “Eastern Cottontail.” 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 third-grade students in Goreville who used team-building skills to develop a butterfly garden on the school grounds. This topic will be available after October 31 at . The December topic is the “Mallard.”
Apply Now for 2018 Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants
Visit the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Web page to find the instructions and application form for the 2018 Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program from the IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Teachers and home-schooling educators of grades prekindergarten through 12 in Illinois may apply. Take learning to life with an Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant. The application deadline is January 31, 2018. All funds for this program are donated. The support of the Independence Tube Corporation in Bedford Park, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation in Skokie and the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation in Wilmington is greatly appreciated.
Borrow a Resources Trunk or Pack to Supplement Your Lessons
Teachers, scout and other youth-group leaders, home-schooling educators and nature center personnel are just some of the people who could benefit by borrowing and using a resources trunk or pack. Developed by the IDNR and available for loan from partner organizations statewide, the trunks and packs are full of hands-on, Illinois-specific items to supplement your curriculum. Topics include birds, mammals, trees, aquatics, fossils, Native Americans, prairies, invasive species, state symbols, amphibians/reptiles and insects/spiders. There is also a field pack for introducing early childhood students to nature. Learn more about each trunk/pack and see the list of lending locations at this Web site.
Upcoming Programs at Dickson Mounds Museum
The following programs are being held at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown in November. 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 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 30 minutes followed by crafts, snacks and time to explore the Museum. This program series is sponsored by the City of Lewistown, Havana National Bank, G-M Mechanical of Canton and Doug Dennis of Manito. Upcoming programs include the following topics: November 2, Gobble Gobble; and December 7, Hugo's Coming to Tot Time, presented by Mike Anderson.
Kids’ Day: Stories-n-Stone
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Join us for an afternoon of Native American storytelling and demonstrations of the creation and use of ancient tools and crafts. Experimental Archaeologist, Larry Kinsella and his wife, professional Storyteller, Marilyn Kinsella have combined their talents to produce this informative, entertaining, hands-on program. Kids may enjoy activities such as cordage-making, pottery, using hand micro-drills, flint knapping and spear-throwing. The program begins at 1:00 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium and should last until about 4:00 p.m. Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis beginning at 12:00 p.m. in the Museum’s lobby. Space is limited. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.     
Ages: 5 years old + with adult
Wonderful Waterfowl
Saturday, December 9, 2017, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join us at the Museum to learn about the different ducks, geese and swans at the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge. View live ducks and learn about current research conducted by Forbes Biological Station. Kids ages 15 and under may participate in a Youth Duck Calling Contest. Afterwards, participants may journey with a Refuge Ranger to view the wildlife at the South Globe parking lot. Binoculars and spotting scopes will be available for use. Participants should dress appropriately for this outdoor activity. This program is in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Complex and Forbes Biological Station. Registration is required. Call 309-535-2290 or email to register or for more information. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. All ages are welcome at this program.
Hickory Ridge Concert Series
November 18 - The Lords of Liechtenstein
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. Concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for youngsters. Visit their Web site for information about the artists.
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!
Biodiversity of Illinois CD-ROM Series Conversion to Web-based Format
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 700 files that have been posted to date.
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 Eastern Cottontail 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

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