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!
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 March 2023. Visit
https://www.enticeworkshops.com for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!
Birds of Illinois
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Carlyle Lake Visitors’ Center, Carlyle
February 4, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Fly into this workshop and take a closer look at how birds use their physical characteristics to adapt to the environment and how each species has a unique niche in the ecosystem. Many visual aids as well as mounted bird specimens will be on hand for observation. Come dressed to take a walk along the Kaskaskia River identifying birds in their natural habitat. Educators will learn first-hand by participating in educational activities related to birds and will receive many resources to incorporate into the curriculum. Although targeted to teachers of grades three through six, other educators are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Supplemental resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available.
Wild Illinois History
Red Oak Nature Center, Batavia
February 18, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wild Illinois History is a self-contained teaching unit for educators of grades four through eight. The online interactive student activity and lessons are designed to supplement Illinois history instruction by focusing on information regarding early exploration and settlement, riparian and geography in what was to become Illinois and the uses of wildlife by indigenous peoples and the trappers who came from Europe. The activity also highlights the conservation movement and how it affects views and uses of wildlife today. Educators of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Supplemental resources will be provided. Professional Development Hours are available.
Illinois Wild Mammals
Camp Wartburg, Waterloo
March 4, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This workshop for educators of grades prekindergarten through 12 will provide an introduction to and educational resources about the wild mammals in our state. We will focus on the life history of these species, and we will go on a hike to look for mammals and their signs. We will show you how to use the topic of “Illinois wild mammals” 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.
December Kids for Conservation®: Winter Residents
The December edition of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources'
Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic "Winter Residents" 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.
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
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
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,