Utility Links

​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

New this Month - September 2021

Back to School Resources
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Education offers numerous resources that support teaching about the state’s natural heritage. Professional development workshops, lessons, publications, grants, video podcasts and trunks and packs for loan are just some of the options. Visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/default.aspx to find the details. Looking for resources to support a specific topic? Start with the “A to Z” button.

Application Deadline September 30 for Illinois Department of Natural Resources Historic Sites Field Trip Grants
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Education offers grants to support taking students of grades prekindergarten through 12 on field trips to visit select Illinois state historic sites. Applications are being accepted now. Visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/GrantsIHSFTG.aspx to access the application form and instructions. The application deadline for the 2021-2022 school-year grants is September 30, 2021. Funding is provided through donations.

Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Optional Preliminary Application Deadline is October 31
Pollinator gardens, butterfly gardens, rain gardens, prairie gardens, tree arboretums, bird nesting boxes and bat roosting boxes are just some of the projects to benefit wildlife and learning that can be developed through the Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program. Submit your application by the optional preliminary application deadline of October 31, 2021, and it will be reviewed for common errors that cause disqualification. Should you have any of those errors, you will be given until November 30, 2021, to revise the application and submit it again. A program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Education, funding is administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation. Funds are donated by the Jadel Youth Fund and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.  https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/GrantsSHAG.aspx 

Resources Trunks and Packs for Loan
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ resources trunks and packs are available for loan from locations throughout the state. These Illinois-specific units are filled with items for hands-on learning. There are trunks for 11 topics and field packs on three additional topics. 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. 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 https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/ItemsForLoan.aspx to find the contact information to make a reservation, trunk/pack contents list and other information.

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. Visit https://www.enticeworkshops.com for details, the complete list of workshops and to register. Experience ENTICE!

Observing Patterns in Nature to Support Science Education, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, September 11, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This workshop will introduce participants to strategies and activities that assist students in developing observational skills. Through observations of plants and animals around the Chicago Botanic Garden, participants will examine how observations can lead to developing questions, interpreting signs and identifying natural patterns and phenomena. Techniques can be used when students are outdoors or observing nature through a window. Although targeted to teachers of grades PreK through 8, 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 IS CLOSED. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING THE WORKSHOP, SEND AN EMAIL MESSAGE TO DNR.TEACHKIDS@ILLINOIS.GOV STATING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE PLACED ON THE WAITING LIST FOR THE SEPTEMBER 11, 2021, WORKSHOP.

Insects: Bugs and Plants, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, September 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Plant your roots at The Morton Arboretum for an engaging workshop on Illinois’ bugs and plants. Designed for educators of grades prekindergarten through three, you will learn about how bugs and plants are classified and how they survive, adapt and work together. 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 at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.

Illinois’ Urban Wildlife, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, September 25, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wildlife is all around us, even in downtown Chicago! Educators of grades prekindergarten through four are invited to participate as we learn where to look for urban wildlife, what you can expect to find, how to identify species and how to improve urban wildlife habitat at your school. Natural resources professionals and educators will instruct about these topics and more, including how species adapt to the urban environment, how humans affect urban wildlife and how to use urban wildlife topics as the foundation for locally relevant, place-based teaching. Receive supplemental educational materials to enhance your teaching. This workshop is part of the ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Teachers of other grade levels are welcome to register and attend the workshop but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. Professional Development Hours are available. Register at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.

Wildlife through the Year, Hoover Forest Preserve, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville, October 9, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for this workshop targeted to teachers of grades prekindergarten through middle school. We will show you techniques and options for observing wildlife throughout the year and collecting data from these observations. We will demonstrate how to use these data sets to help your students meet relevant learning standards in science. Local, abundant wildlife species that can easily be observed throughout the year will be used as examples. 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.

Illinois Biodiversity 101, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, October 23, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
What is biodiversity? Does Illinois have much biodiversity? How are plants and animals adapted for survival in the four major habitat types in the state? Can some species live in all of these habitats? We’ll answer these questions and provide much more information about aquatic, woodland, wetland and urban habitats and their inhabitants in this introduction to the natural resources of our state. Numerous supplemental educational items will be provided. Although targeted to educators of grades kindergarten through three, educators of other grade levels are welcome to register but may need to adapt the materials 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 at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.

Energy and Survival, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, October 30, 2021, 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.
 
Tracks, Scats and Habitats, Starved Rock State Park, Utica, November 6, 2021, 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 at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.

Trees Create Habitats for Wildlife, Cache River Wetlands Visitors’ Center, Cypress, November 6, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.   
Join us at this workshop to discover how trees provide important habitats for many wildlife species. We will discuss common trees in the area and how they provide benefits to specific animals. Learn how you can use trees on your school grounds to help you study wildlife with your students. 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 at https://www.enticeworkshops.com.

Forest Habitats, Forest Park Nature Center, Peoria, November 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  
Educators will learn about forest types in Illinois and the animals that inhabit them. The focus of this workshop will be on the interconnectedness of forest creatures and the trees and other plants that provide their home. Teachers will receive activities and lesson plans to use both inside and outside of the classroom, as well as gaining hands-on experiences. Although targeted to teachers of grades one through three, 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 at https://www.enticeworkshops.com

September Kids for Conservation®: Plant Galls
The September edition of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Kids for Conservation® Web page features the topic “Plant Galls.” 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. This topic will be available starting August 31, 2021. https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/outreach/kidsconservation/Pages/default.aspx

September Video Podcast – Plant Galls
The Plant Galls video podcast is available on the Podcasts page at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/outreach/kidsconservation/Pages/MonthlyVideos.aspx. This video podcast is also available on YouTube.

Visit the Wild about Illinois. . . Web Page Soon
This Web page is updated regularly with new information. Visit and explore!  https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/WildAboutPages.aspx

Species Search Web Page Revised
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Biodiversity of Illinois Species Search Web page has been updated. It's fast and easy to find information. Give it a try! https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/Biodiversity-of-Illinois.aspx

September Tot Time at Dickson Mounds Museum: Let’s Make Art
September 2, 2021, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Tot Time is happening in September at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown! Adults and their tots will have fun exploring, discovering and learning. Registration is not required. Tots are welcome to pick up an activity bag of arts and crafts supplies to create their own art! Tots and their caretakers may enjoy drawing on sidewalks, finger painting and molding their own sculptures. Supplies are limited and are on a first come, first served basis. The 2021 Tot Time program series is sponsored by Canton Chamber of Commerce, Havana National Bank, Jeff and Linda Sisson of Havana and an anonymous donor.

Family Day at Dickson Mounds Museum: Shorebird Viewing Giveaway
September 25, 2021, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
admission free, donations appreciated
Dickson Mounds Museum is encouraging families to get outside and view shorebirds! Families may visit the Museum on Saturday, September 25, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. to pick-up FREE binoculars, an identification pamphlet and other items to enjoy viewing shorebirds at the Emiquon Preserve or Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. Giveaway items are limited and available on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Admission to the museum is free; however, donations are appreciated. 

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’ (IDNR) Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery in Topeka, Illinois, and find out! With over one million fish on site, 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 Fall 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 at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/ItemsForLoan.aspx. 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 at https://www2.Illinois.gov/dnr/parks/pages/starvedrock.aspx. Call or email to set up your field trip today! Lisa Sons, Natural Resources Coordinator, Lisa.sons@illinois.gov, 815-667-5356

Reporting Monarch Educational Activities
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (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 2020 or 2021 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 at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/monarchgen.aspx. 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!