Utility Links

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New this Month - December 2020

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Application Form for 2021 Available
Teachers of grades prekindergarten through 12 in Illinois, including home-schooling teachers, may apply to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to receive funding to support natural resources-related field trips. Bus transportation and substitute teacher fees are the primary expenses covered. Applications must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2021. The optional preliminary application deadline is January 15, 2021. Visit this Web page for the application form, instructional video podcasts and complete grant instructions. This program is made possible through the generous donations of the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation in Wilmington and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation in Skokie. Funding is administrated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation.

Earth Day in the Parks for 2021
Earth Day in the Parks is an event to promote stewardship of our natural resources by Illinois school children. During April and May, students and their teachers from throughout Illinois visit participating Illinois state parks, state historic sites and state museums to take part in natural resources stewardship activities such as: planting native trees and wildflowers; building and installing nesting/roosting boxes; removing invasive exotic species; and building brush piles for wildlife. Students will be helping the environment and wildlife, participating in outdoor activities to increase their fitness and learning that their actions can make a positive difference in the world. While the COVID-19 pandemic may cause these events to be rescheduled or held with volunteers other than school children, we are offering this opportunity now and will make changes as needed. Social distancing will be maintained at all events, and face masks will be worn. Applications are required and will be accepted from January 1, 2021, through February 28, 2021. You will find the application form at this Web address.

Updating the Wild about. . . Web Pages
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Education is updating the Wild about . . . series of Web pages. Take a look and see what’s new!

Species Search Pages
Many Biodiversity of Illinois species search pages have recently been posted to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Education’s Web page, and many more will be added in the coming months. We are also working to make searching the large number of files easier for you.

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. Visit the ENTICE Web page for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!

Winter Nature Phenomena
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
January 23, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Winter provides many opportunities for learning about and observing seasonal changes and how nature is affected, especially as winter weather becomes increasingly unpredictable. Join us as we discuss winter-based phenomena to drive student investigations around topics like tracking weather changes, observing animal signs and interactions, and examining adaptations and methods for surviving the winter. We will take a hike to test our observational skills, too. You will receive many resources to support teaching this topic. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten 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. Registration for this workshop will close at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 14, 2021, or sooner if the maximum number of registrants is reached. Register here.

Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
March 6, 2021, 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 here.

Illinois’ Amphibians
Henry Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Visitors’ Center, Cypress
March 6, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for this workshop as we learn about the life history and identification of Illinois’ amphibians. You will participate in hands-on, educational activities and 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. 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.

Creating and Keeping Collections
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
March 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. For more than 160 years the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has been assembling and maintaining a variety of natural history specimens and collections. Learn about the Museum’s collections and why collections are important for both scientific and educational purposes. We will discuss how to build and maintain a collection, guidelines for collecting natural materials and how to use living and preserved collections in the classroom. Participate in numerous hands-on activities and take home many supplemental resources. Educators will be pinning dead invertebrates as part of this workshop. 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. This workshop is suitable for teachers of all grade levels. Register here.

Pollinator Gardens
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
March 20, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Pollinator populations are in decline, but you and your students can take actions to help them. By planting a native pollinator garden at your school, you can provide food and shelter for pollinators and a place of learning for students of all ages. We will discuss what makes a successful pollinator garden and how to maintain it. Connections to learning standards will also be provided. We will show you how to apply for an Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant to help fund your project, too. This workshop is targeted to educators of grades prekindergarten through 12. 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 here.

Ecosystems: Producers, Consumers, Decomposers, Oh My!
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
April 17, 2021, 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 here.

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators
Hoover Forest Preserve, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
April 24, 2021, 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 here.

Comparing the Biodiversity of Aquatic Habitats
Red Oak Nature Center, Batavia
May 1, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for this workshop that will have you sampling and observing the components of four aquatic habitats at Red Oak Nature Center: river; lake; stream; and spring. We will discuss what the results show and talk about how to incorporate this type of activity into your curriculum to support Next Generation Science Standards. Although targeted to teachers of grades five through eight, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register for 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 Conservation
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
May 8, 2021, 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.

Illinois Butterflies
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
May 15, 2021, 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! The emphasis of this workshop will be on butterfly conservation and the related work of staff members of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in the field and lab. Information on developing butterfly habitat on the school grounds and how to incorporate learning activities related to it will also be included. 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. 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.

Wonders of Wetlands
Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield
May 22, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wetlands are habitats for a wealth of animals. At this workshop, we will visit the swamp and marsh habitats at Brookfield Zoo as we learn about adaptations, movement of matter in wetlands and interactions of organisms in a wetland. We will discover how humans are impacted by wetlands and how humans can also help maintain biodiversity in wetlands. Developed for teachers of grades four through middle school, other educators are welcome to register but may need to adapt the information and activities, 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.

Insects, Arachnids and Isopods: Oh My!
Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville
June 5, 2021, 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 here.

Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators: Schoolyard Wildlife
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
June 12, 2021, 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 species at your school. We will focus on the life history of common wildlife species that you might see, and we’ll 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’ll take away numerous resources and plants 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.

Illinois Turtles
Cache River State Natural Area, Cypress
June 15, 2021, 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. 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 Birds for Junior High School and High School Teachers
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont
June 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bring the biodiversity of Illinois birds into your classroom. Targeted for educators of junior high school and high school, this workshop will focus on the ecology of birds. We will spend time in the field studying avian behavior and participating in a bird banding demonstration. We will also provide bird banding data sets for two species of birds to take back to your classroom for students to analyze and interpret. You will leave feeling confident leading students in observing and interpreting birds while meeting Next Generation Science Standards. Educators of other grade levels 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 here.

Teaching about Birds to Address Next Generation Science Standards
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago
June 24, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Attend this workshop and learn how a third-grade teacher in Chicago uses the topic of Illinois birds in his curriculum to address Next Generation Science Standards in science and engineering. You will participate in activities and lessons that are used in his classroom. Teaching tools and methods will be discussed as will ways to adapt the information, lessons and activities to other grade levels. Here's your chance to see practical teaching methods in action and learn from someone who uses these lessons daily. Although the lessons are targeted to grade three, teachers of other grade levels are welcome to 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.

December Kids for Conservation®: American Beaver
The December edition of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic of the “American Beaver.” 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.

Video Podcast – American Beaver
The American Beaver video podcast will be available on the Podcasts page. This video podcast is also available on YouTube.

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 at Giant City State Park. For more information or to sign up, send an email to Jennifer Randolph at jennifer.randolph@illinois.gov.

Virtual Visit with an IDNR Naturalist
Field trips may be cancelled during COVID 19 guidelines and precautions but that doesn’t mean your students have to miss out on discovering nature in Illinois at Starved Rock State Park! Virtual Visits with an IDNR Naturalist programs are being offered.
What is a virtual visit with a Naturalist?
- 30- to 45-minute virtual program for the classroom
- online platform provided by the school with an invitation to the presenter
- topics: trees, mammals, birds, insects, Starved Rock Native American history, Civilian Conservation Corps at Starved Rock, and Starved Rock geology
Who can benefit from the virtual visit?
- Most programs are suitable for students of grades K-6.
- The Civilian Conservation Corps and Starved Rock Geology programs are targeted to students of grades 6-8. How much information is covered in a virtual visit?
- Basic concepts and general information are covered using props, photos and exhibits.
 When and How do I register for a virtual visit for my classroom?
- You may register now by emailing the Natural Resource Coordinator, Lisa Sons, at lisa.sons@illinois.gov to set up a date, time and topic.
- Programs can be scheduled between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, October through December 2020.

Reporting Monarch Educational Activities
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and its partners in the Illinois Monarch Project are collecting information about educational activities related to monarch butterflies. If you conducted any activities in 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 the IDNR 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. Please do not send photos. Thank you!

Visit Our Web Page for a Wealth of Resources
The Illinois Department of Natural Resurces’ 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), species of Illinois, 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!