Utility Links

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New this Month - April 2020

Visit Our Web Page for a Wealth of Resources
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (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!
 
Applications being Accepted for Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants
Would you like to benefit wildlife and provide learning opportunities to enhance your lessons? The IDNR has funding through the Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program to help you do so. Teachers, youth-group leaders and nature-center personnel can apply for up to $1,000.00 for projects such as pollinator gardens, butterfly gardens, prairie plots, bird nesting boxes, tree and shrub gardens and vernal pools. There are two application options to select from: Option One for a standard pollinator garden; and Option Two for a wildlife habitat of your choice. The final application deadline is November 30, 2020. The optional preliminary application deadline is October 31, 2020. You will find the application forms, instructions, instructional video podcasts and other information at this Web site. Funding is administrated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Funding is provided by generous donations from the Jadel Family Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.
 
Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards Set #6
The sixth in the series of Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards from the IDNR Division of Education has been reprinted and is available now! This set was originally printed in 2014 and has been out of print for several years. Send your request on school letterhead to IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. One set per teacher, please, and only for teachers in Illinois schools.
 
ENTICE Educator Workshops for 2021 and 2022
The ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) professional development workshop schedule for 2021-2022 is posted, and workshops are open for registration. You will find many new topics as well as some that are always popular. Professional Development Hours are available. Correlations to relevant Next Generation Science Standards and/or Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards are provided. These workshops are sponsored by the IDNR. Register at the ENTICE Web site.
 
Upcoming 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 the workshops for spring and summer 2020. Visit the ENTICE Web site for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!
 
Illinois Tree Squirrels
Kennekuk Environmental Education Center, Kennekuk County Park, Danville
April 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
How much do you really know about squirrels? Come to this workshop and learn about the life history of Illinois’ tree squirrels. We’ll go for a hike to observe squirrels and evidence of their presence. We’ll look at how you can use squirrel observations to help you meet some of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards in science and Next Generation Science Standards. Although targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten 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. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Learning about Birds for Early Childhood Educators
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
May 2, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
For this workshop in the Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators series, we will focus on common birds that you and your students can easily see and learn about. We will teach basic facts about birds and will learn how to identify birds. We will discuss different types of field guides and how to use them so you can choose the best one for your purposes. We will learn proper techniques for using binoculars. Our new skills will be tested with a hike on the grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden to observe birds. Information regarding plants for your school grounds that can help you attract birds will be provided, too. We will provide you with activities, resources and hands-on experiences to get you started when you return to the classroom. Although targeted to educators of grades prekindergarten through two, educators of other grade levels are welcome to register but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP IS CLOSED. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING THIS WORKSHOP, SEND AN EMAIL MESSAGE TO DNR.TEACHKIDS@ILLINOIS.GOV AND ASKED TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST FOR THE MAY 2 WORKSHOP.
 
Illinois Prairies
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
June 6, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Imagining the vast prairies of Illinois' past is difficult, but you can visit a restored prairie if you join us for this workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Designed for educators of grades kindergarten through eight, you will learn about prairie ecology as well as the history of the prairie in Illinois and how humans have affected prairies. We will take a walk through the prairie and discuss the prairie plants that we find. Illinois-specific educational resources will be provided, and suggestions will be given for using the prairie and prairie-related resources from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help you meet Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the information. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Butterflies
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
June 13, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Flutter in and join other educators of grades prekindergarten through four as we are introduced to the butterflies of Illinois! Butterfly life history, identification, conservation and adaptations will be discussed. Information on developing butterfly habitat will also be included. Learn about Monarch Watch and other butterfly conservation programs. Correlations between the information presented and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards and Next Generation Science Standards will be addressed. Supplemental educational resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Raptors
Illinois Raptor Center, Decatur
June 13, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Educators of grades prekindergarten through eight are invited to register for this workshop to learn about the hawks, owls, vultures, falcons and eagles of Illinois at the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur. Life history and identification information will be provided. Staff from the Illinois Raptor Center will have live raptors to observe, too. You'll participate in educational activities related to raptors and will receive many resources to help you incorporate the topic into your curriculum. Professional Development Hours are available. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the information as appropriate. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Turtles
Cache River State Natural Area, Cypress
June 16, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for this workshop as we learn about the life history and identification of Illinois’ 17 species of turtles. We will take a hike to look for turtles, and you will participate in hands-on, educational activities. Resources will be provided to help you incorporate the topic into your curriculum. Although targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten through four, educators of other grade levels are welcome to register for the workshop but may need to adapt the information and activities, as appropriate. Correlations to relevant Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards will be provided and discussed. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Headquarters, Springfield
June 17, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
How is your habitat? Join us to learn how you and your students can take action to improve wildlife habitat on your school grounds. Educators of grades prekindergarten through middle school will learn basic habitat design, development and maintenance techniques. Become aware of grant opportunities and obtain supplemental materials to help you get started with your own schoolyard habitat development. Staff from the University of Illinois Extension’s Horticultural Program at the Logan-Menard-Sangamon unit office will be featured. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease
Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford
June 26, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Protein synthesis is a topic that many students will not be interested in studying, yet you can make it relevant by using this unit. Prion diseases are caused by errors in protein synthesis. One of those diseases, chronic wasting disease, is affecting the white-tailed deer population in Illinois. During this workshop for middle school and high school teachers, you will preview the six lessons and activities, video and other materials in the unit, “Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease.” You will receive this DVD unit and other supplemental materials and work with staff from the University of Illinois’ Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory. The information from this workshop can be used in teaching about protein synthesis, genetics, DNA replication, wildlife management and other topics. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators
Hoover Forest Preserve, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
July 11, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This workshop for educators of grades prekindergarten through two will provide you with the information and resources that you need to successfully teach about and observe wildlife. We will focus on the life history of common wildlife species, and we will go on a hike to look for wildlife and their signs. You will receive training in using basic equipment. We will also discuss developing wildlife habitat on your school grounds. We will 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. You will take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature. Professional Development Hours are available. Sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Ecosystems: Producers, Consumers, Decomposers, Oh My!
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
July 18, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Crawl, slither, hop or branch out to The Morton Arboretum and join us for this workshop about the plants and animals that make up an ecosystem. Designed for educators of grades pre-kindergarten through four, you will learn about the flora and fauna of Illinois’ ecosystems and receive many Illinois-specific resources. Habitat studies, identification, relationships and interdependence will be among the topics covered. Professional Development Hours are available. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for the workshop but may need to adapt the information, as appropriate. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Tree Squirrels
Hoover Forest Preserve, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
July 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
How much do you really know about squirrels? Come to this workshop and learn about the life history of Illinois’ tree squirrels. We will go for a hike to observe squirrels and evidence of their presence. We will look at how you can use squirrel observations to help you meet some of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards in science and Next Generation Science Standards and will introduce you to Project Squirrel, a citizen science program that can be incorporated into your teaching. Although targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten 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. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Bats
Beall Woods State Park, Mt. Carmel
July 30, 2020, 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 will go outdoors at dusk to observe bats, 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. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois Moths and Butterflies
Volo Bog State Natural Area, Ingleside
August 22, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Flutter in and join other educators of grades prekindergarten through eight as we are introduced to the butterflies and moths of Illinois! Jim Louderman of The Field Museum will teach about butterfly and moth life history, identification, conservation and adaptations. Learn about Monarch Watch and other butterfly conservation programs. We will go outside to observe and identify butterflies and moths. Professional Development Hours are available. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program. 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. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Introduction to Illinois Arthropods
Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford
August 29, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
What animals are invertebrates, have a segmented body, an exoskeleton and paired, jointed appendages? They are arthropods! They include insects, crustaceans, spiders, centipedes, millipedes and their relatives. Join us for this introduction to the types of arthropods present in Illinois. We will discuss their diversity, classification, life cycles, adaptations and importance to other organisms. Learn how to incorporate them into your lessons to support the teaching of Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards and take part in hands-on activities. Supplemental educational resources will be provided. Although targeted to grades prekindergarten through four, all educators are welcome to register for the workshop, but the information may need to be adapted, as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease
Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
September 12, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Protein synthesis is a topic that many students will not be interested in studying, yet you can make it relevant by using this unit. Prion diseases are caused by errors in protein synthesis. One of those diseases, chronic wasting disease, is affecting the white-tailed deer population in Illinois. During this workshop for middle school and high school teachers, you will preview the six lessons and activities, video and other materials in the unit, “Prying into Prions: Investigating Chronic Wasting Disease.” You will receive this DVD unit and other supplemental materials and work with staff from the University of Illinois’ Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory. The information from this workshop can be used in teaching about protein synthesis, genetics, DNA replication, wildlife management and other topics. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
September 12, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The slimy and scaly creatures of Illinois will be featured in this workshop for educators of grades prekindergarten through eight. We will learn about their life history and will take a hike to look for reptiles and amphibians. We will provide you with resources and activities. Regulations regarding keeping these animals in the classroom will also be discussed. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. Correlations between the information presented and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards and Next Generation Science Standards will be addressed. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois’ Aquatic Insects
Cache River State Natural Area, Cypress
September 15, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Aquatic insects are easily found and information about them can be incorporated into lessons on water quality, insects, ecology, survival adaptations/needs, biodiversity, life cycles and other topics. Join us for this workshop and learn to identify adult and immature forms of common aquatic insects. We will discuss their ecological importance, too. Take part in hands-on activities indoors and at the wetlands. Illinois-specific supplemental materials will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through four, educators of other grade levels are welcome to attend the workshop, but they may need to adapt the materials to the grade levels taught, as appropriate. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Energy and Survival
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
September 19, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bring your sunny disposition to The Morton Arboretum to learn how energy moves through an ecosystem and what plants and animals need to survive. Energy, cycles, producers, consumers, decomposers and adaptations will be among the topics covered. Designed for teachers of grades five through eight, educators of other grade levels are welcome to register for the workshop but may need to adapt the information, as appropriate. Illinois-specific resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.
 
Illinois State Museum to Offer Workshop for Teachers
Teaching the Holocaust: Empowering Students
Illinois State Museum
June 16, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Explore and gain access to a range of classroom content and consider instructional enhancements to support students' study and reflection of the history of the Holocaust and its ongoing meaning in the world today. Educators enhance their own knowledge about the Holocaust, including the history of antisemitism, and build confidence and capacity to teach this complex subject. Discover and utilize classroom-ready digital assists including lesson plans, visual history testimonies and additional primary source materials. Training is conducted by Echoes & Reflections staff. Professional development for this is aimed at secondary educators in a variety of subject areas. Registration for this workshop will close on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, or as soon as the maximum number of registrants is obtained. Register online at http://bit.ly/echoestraining20. If you have questions about the workshop, please contact Lorna Shuman at Lorna.Shuman@illinois.gov or 217-782-0061.
 
April Kids for Conservation®: Illinois Wetlands
The April edition of the IDNR Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic of "Illinois Wetlands.” 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.
  
Video Podcast – Illinois Wetlands
The Wetland Habitats video podcast from the IDNR can be found on the Podcasts page. This video podcast is also available on YouTube.
 
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 Items for Loan Web page to access the list of lending locations and more trunk-related information. Be sure to check the lists for the most recent updates.
 
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 Illinois Monarch Project are collecting information about educational activities related to monarch butterflies. If you conducted any activities in 2019 or 2020 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 dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov. 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!