New this Month - August 2022

Visit Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair!
Conservation World will be open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. from August 12-21, 2022, during the Illinois State Fair. Visit this green haven on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds for plentiful, free activities for children and adults. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Division of Education's tent will feature the topic "Snake of Illinois." Come to see us!

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Application – New Format!
Applications from teachers and home-schooling educators of grades prekindergarten through 12 in Illinois are being accepted for the 2023 Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Conservation Foundation. For those of you who have applied in the past, the application form has been revised and should be even easier for you to complete. Click here to find the instructions and application form. Why wait until the deadline of January 31, 2023? Start planning now to take your students on a learning experience outdoors!

September 30 Application Deadline for Illinois Department of Natural Resources Historic Sites Field Trip Grant
Funding for students and teachers to visit select state historic sites in the state is available through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Historic Sites FieldTrip Grant. Applications for the 2022-2023 school year are due by September 30, 2022. Click here for details.

Let Resources from the IDNR Support Your Lessons
School will be starting soon! Let the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Education provide you with Illinois-specific information on a variety of topics. Publications, basic information, lessons, resources trunks, podcasts and many other items are available.  

Visit the Wild about Illinois. . . Web Page Soon
This Web page is updated regularly with new information. Check out the milkweeds and orchids pages in the "Plants" section. Click on the common name/scientific name to see the species page. Visit and explore!

Resources Trunks and Packs are Great Teaching Tools
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' resources trunks and packs are available for loan from locations throughout the state. Trunk topics include wild mammals, trees, prairies, aquatics, invasive species, birds, fossils, pollinators, amphibians and reptiles, state symbols, people and animals from Illinois' past and nature exploration for early childhood students. Teachers, homeschooling educators, scout and youth group leaders, nature center personnel, librarians, day care center staff, camp coordinators 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. Click here to find the contact information to make a reservation and view the trunk/pack contents lists.

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 Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 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 is a list of upcoming workshops through November 2022. Visit https://www.enticeworkshops.com for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!

Illinois Prairies
Vermilion County Conservation District, Forest Glen Preserve, Westville
August 27, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Imagining the vast prairies of Illinois' past is difficult, but you can visit an existing prairie if you join us for this workshop. Designed for educators of grades kindergarten through eight, you will learn about the organisms of the prairie and how they interact. We'll take a walk through the prairie and discuss the animals and plants that we find. Illinois-specific educational resources will be provided, and suggestions will be given for using them 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, as appropriate. 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 here.

Illinois' Butterflies
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
September 10, 2022, 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. 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. Register here.

Pollinators on the Prairie
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
September 17, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Buzz over to The Morton Arboretum to learn about pollinators on the prairie. We will look at how plants and animals have adapted to survive in this harsh ecosystem, collect and analyze data to determine how humans impact the ecosystem's balance and see how bees see when learning about energy transfer within the prairie. Although targeted to teachers of grades four through eight, all educators are welcome to register for the workshop, but the information may need to be adapted, as appropriate. You will take away several resources to use in your classroom! 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 here.

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators: Insects
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
September 24, 2022, 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 insects. We will focus on the life history of common insect species, and we will go on a hike to look for insects 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 here.

Tracks, Scats and Habitats
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, St. Charles
October 1, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 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. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register here.

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators: Amphibians
Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
October 8, 2022, 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 amphibians in your community. We will focus on the life history of common amphibian species, and we will go on a hike to look for amphibians. We will show you how to use the topic of "Illinois amphibians" to support the teaching of several of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards for science and Next Generation Science Standards with your students. 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 here.

Illinois Woodlands
Kennekuk Environmental Education Center, Kennekuk County Park, Danville
October 15, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join staff members from the Vermilion County Conservation District as they teach us about the interrelationships of organisms in Illinois woodlands. Targeted to educators of grades four through 10, this workshop will include discussions of species adaptations, relationships of woodland organisms to each other and the physical environment, invasive species and much more. We'll take a tour to see examples of these topics and will do some hands-on sampling. Supplemental educational materials and activities will be provided and demonstrated throughout the day. 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 here.

Winter Birds of Illinois
Forest Park Nature Center, Peoria
November 5, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Educators will learn birding basics such as how to use binoculars and field guides and how to incorporate these skills in the classroom. They will also receive ideas for activities and lesson plans about birds that are present year-round or as migrants to the area. We will go on a hike to observe birds in their natural habitats and learn how technology can be used in the classroom to learn about migration patterns. Although targeted to teachers of grades six through eight, other educators are welcome to register for the workshop but may need to adapt the information and resources, 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 here.

Wildlife Conservation
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
November 5, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for this exploration of wildlife conservation practices in the state. We'll discuss what wildlife conservation is, how it is implemented and how it has changed over time. We'll look at how changes in the environment can affect wildlife conservation and how people and legislation affect wildlife conservation, too. Correlations between the information presented and Next Generation Science Standards will be addressed. Although targeted to teachers of grades three through middle school, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for and attend this workshop but may need to adapt the information for their students, as appropriate. Supplemental educational 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 here.

Tracks, Scats and Habitats
Starved Rock State Park, Utica
November 12, 2022, 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. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Register here.

August Kids for Conservation®: Invertebrates of Illinois
The August edition of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic "Invertebrates of Illinois." 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 Illinois environment.

August Video Podcast: Invertebrates of Illinois
The Invertebrates of Illinois podcast is available on the Podcasts page and on YouTube.

Species Search Web Page
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Biodiversity of Illinois Species Search Web page allows you to find information quickly and easily. Give it a try!

Tours available at the IDNR's Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery
Ever wonder where the big bass, plentiful panfish or massive muskie in your local lake come from? Come to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery in Topeka, Illinois, and find out! Now is a great time to visit Illinois' largest fish hatchery to see where many of your favorite sportfish begin their life. Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery accepts requests for scheduled tours, by appointment only, Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tour groups are limited to 15 people. All ages are welcome. For more information on public tours please call the hatchery at 309-968-7531 or email site coordinator Frank Sladek at Frank.Sladek@illinois.gov. For more information on the hatchery, visit https://ifishillinois.org/programs/hatchery.html or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JakeWolfHatchery/.

Giant City State Park Provides Monthly Topics for Teachers
If you teach in the Carbondale area or other parts of southern Illinois, you can ask to be added to the monthly teachers' topic email from the Natural Resources Coordinator at Giant City State Park. Each month you will receive an email with links to teaching resources and learning standards for the topic as well as ideas on how you could teach about the topic by bringing your students to Giant City State Park. For more information or to sign up, send an email to Jennifer Randolph at jennifer.randolph@illinois.gov.

Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks Summer Educational Programming
Thank you for choosing Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks as a field trip destination for your students, scouts and classmates! What better location to engage students in their natural surroundings than the trails, canyons and sandstone overlooks of these two state parks. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) offers FREE guided hikes/programs by request through the Natural Resources Coordinator. Can't make it to the park for an on-site field trip? The IDNR has educational trunks and packs available for loan to educators on topics such as mammals, birds, trees, insects, people of Illinois' past and more. Further information can be found here. Not comfortable using the educational trunks and curriculum? No problem, the Natural Resources Coordinator can come to you! Schedule a Classroom Visit or a Virtual Visit with a Naturalist here. Call or email to set up your field trip today! Lisa Sons, Natural Resources Coordinator, lisa.sons@illinois.gov, 815-667-5356