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New this Month - September 2017

Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Workshops: Registration Closes Soon for Workshops in Rockford, Chicago and Glencoe
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. Shown below are upcoming workshops for summer and fall 2017. Experience ENTICE!
Illinois Butterflies and Moths, Burpee Museum, Rockford, September 16, 2017 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017.


Using Resources Trunks to Teach Next Generation Science Standards, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, September 30, 2017 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017.

Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Heller Nature Center, Highland Park, October 7, 2017 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017.

Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville, October 7, 2017 REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP CLOSES AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017.

Introducing Early Childhood Students to the Nature of Fall, Giant City State Park, Makanda, November 4, 2017

Aquatic Ecosystems: Lake Michigan Ecology, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, November 4, 2017
New Resources Trunks and Field Packs Search Page
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education has revised the resources trunks and field packs loan page. Now, along with descriptions of each trunk and a content check list that includes photos of the items, you will be able to search for lending locations for all trunks from the same Web page. Visit this Web page and make reservations now for your summer school, summer camps and other programming that you will be offering. Review the lessons that support the trunks, too!
September Kids for Conservation®: Yellow Garden Spider
The September edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic of the “Yellow Garden Spider.” 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 Pana Junior High School in Pana who planned and planted a butterfly garden to increase wildlife habitat and to inspire student interest in gardening. The October topic is the “Raccoon.”
Applications Being Accepted for 2018 Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants
Visit the grants Web site 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.
Discover Archery with the Friends of Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry, Illinois
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Register for a one-hour time slot.
Ages 10 - 90
Fee: $18.00 per person payable upon arrival to “Friends of Moraine Hills State Park”
Try your hand at the "newly discovered" ancient art of archery! Women and girls especially are encouraged to attend. Certified instructor Andy Ferraro and volunteers with the IDNR and Friends of Moraine Hills State Park will share safety instruction, techniques and tips. Register for a 60-minute time slot (limit five persons per slot) by phone 815-344-1294 or email When registering, give first, second and third choice of time slot, name of each person and ages of kids (minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian). Time slots are 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Registrants will be emailed a confirmation with directions and further instructions to print and bring along to the event. If confirmation is not received within 72 hours of emailing, or no later than 12:00 p.m. Thursday, October 19, 2017, please call 815-344-1294. Moraine Hills State Park is located at 1510 South River Road in McHenry Illinois.
Upcoming Programs at Dickson Mounds Museum
The following programs are being held at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown in September. 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 Havana National Bank, G-M Mechanical of Canton, Doug Dennis of Manito and the City of Lewistown. The September 7 topic is “Frogs and Toads.”
Kid’s Night - Bugs
Saturday, September 2, 2017             
7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Using special equipment to attract insects, entomology expert Jim Wiker will share his knowledge and teach participants about species. Participants may also enjoy viewing insect specimens from the Illinois State Museum’s collections. Participants should dress for the outdoors and bring their own blankets or lawn chairs and flashlights. The program is for kids ages five years and older with an adult. Registration is not required. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Nature Trek: Drones
Saturday, September 23, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
All ages are welcome.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), often called drones, are becoming more common. With state-of-the-art technology, they make it relatively easy and increasingly affordable to get a bird’s-eye perspective of the world around us. The Nature Conservancy’s Doug Blodgett will share some basic information about UAVs and, weather-permitting, demonstrate a few of their capabilities for collecting aerial imagery. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Hickory Ridge Concert Series
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., and there is an $8 fee for adults and $5 fee for youngsters. The September 16 program features Bob Bovee.
Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant – Two Options Now Available
Applications will be accepted by the IDNR Division of Education through 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 on the grants Web page. Please use the supporting video podcasts to assist you in completing the application form. Help wildlife species while taking learning to life!
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 of 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 approximately 1,500 species in this field guide when it is finished. Visit this Web page to access the 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 Yellow Garden Spider video podcast is now available! This video podcast is also available on YouTube.
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