Illinois DNR Newsbits - January 2020

Rachel Torbert
Illinois DNR Newsbits - January 2020
Spring Turkey Applications:  Hunters should plan ahead for spring by applying for the second lottery for 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits. The application deadline for the second lottery is Jan. 13. Go to the IDNR website for more information at

Lake Le-Aqua-Na Improvement Projects:  Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area in northern Illinois is closed as of Jan. 1 for site improvement projects that will continue through 2020. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will oversee a road improvement project that will include culvert replacements, road realignments, pavement removal and replacement, dump station replacement, and campsite improvements for the park. The scope of the projects requires closing the park throughout 2020, with the park reopening with improved facilities and amenities following completion of the work.

Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Days:  Enjoy watching bald eagles on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers near Pere Marquette State Park this winter by participating in one of the park’s popular Bald Eagle Days tours. The informative programs are conducted on select winter dates in January, February and March. The programs are free, but registration is required by calling 618-786-3323. For more, visit

Super Saturday at the Illinois State Museum:  Children and their families will have the opportunity to escape the frigid temperatures and be transported to the prehistoric and modern beaches of Illinois through the Illinois State Museum’s Super Saturday program Jan. 4. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., kids can learn about Illinois’ underwater past and present with objects from the Museum’s collection, build a sandcastle, decorate a pair of sunglasses, and explore the depths of the ocean. Super Saturday activities are recommended for children ages 5 and up and their caregivers. For more information, contact or 217-782-6044.

Kid’s Day at Dickson Mounds:  Dickson Mounds Museum is hosting a new program — “Kid’s Day: Animals in Winter” — Saturday, Jan. 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Those attending will learn about how a variety of animals survive the changing of the seasons. The Peoria Zoo will present “An Animal for all Seasons,” featuring live animals. Hot or cold, discover how animals make it through the summer without air conditioning and through the winter without mittens. The Zoo's program will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Dickson Mounds auditorium. Free tickets for the program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Museum's lobby beginning at 1:00 p.m. the day of the event.  Participants also may enjoy hands-on activities and crafts between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Museum's Discovery Center. Kid's Day programs are for kids ages 5 years old and up; children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is free; however, donations are greatly appreciated. Dickson Mounds is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97. For more information, call 309-547-3721.

Cocoa the Bison: Fifth graders in Mr. Bacidore’s class at Trinity Catholic Academy in La Salle named the newest bison to live at Buffalo Rock State Park. Cocoa has become fast friends with the park’s resident bison, Pebbles, who was named by schoolchildren after she was born at the park in 2005. Cocoa arrived at Buffalo Rock in November from the bison herd at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. She was relocated to Buffalo Rock following the passing of Pebbles’ mother, Holly, last September.

ERA Fight in Illinois:  The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) battles in Illinois are the subject of a talk Wednesday, Jan. 8 by Dr. Mark DePue, director of Oral History at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Titled “An Unlikely Defeat: The ERA Fight in Illinois,” the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Illinois State Museum’s Thorne Deuel Auditorium in Springfield. In his talk, DePue will feature the stories of those who participated in the ERA struggle in Illinois and whose voices are recorded as part of the Oral History Program at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Each month, the ISM Paul Mickey Learning Series features a different speaker and topic. For additional information, contact or 217-558-6696.

Late-Winter/CWD Deer Season Jan. 17-19:  The Illinois Late-Winter Antlerless-only and Special CWD deer hunting seasons conclude Jan. 17-19. There will be 20 counties open for the final segment of the Late-Winter season and 15 counties open for the final weekend of the Special CWD season.  Hunters should check the IDNR website to make sure the county they intend to hunt is open for the Late-Winter or Special CWD season:

Eagle Days on Old Chain of Rocks Bridge:  The Eagle Days at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18-19 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. both days. Visitors can view eagles through spotting scopes from the historic Old Chain of Rocks Bridge at Granite City. Visit for more details.

Starved Rock Bald Eagle Watch Weekend:  The Bald Eagle Watch Weekend in and around Starved Rock State Park is set for Jan. 25 and 26. Activities are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. both days at the Illinois Waterway Lock and Dam Visitor Center, Starved Rock Visitor Center and Starved Rock Lodge. The Bald Eagle Watch Weekend is hosted by the Illinois Audubon Society, Illinois Raptor Center, IDNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Starved Rock Lodge, and is sponsored in part by Ameren Illinois. For more details, visit

Music at the Museum:  The Burr Oak String Band will offer up a crowd-pleasing mix of lively instrumentals and heartfelt harmonies at the first “Music at the Museum” concert of the New Year on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Masters of a variety of instruments and styles, the Burr Oak String Band appeals to a range of musical sensibilities. Music at the Museum is a monthly concert series produced by Chris Vallillo featuring the best in contemporary and traditional folk and acoustic music of all styles. For more information, visit

INPC Meeting:  The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will meet Wednesday, Jan. 22, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the IDNR headquarters, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call 217-785-8686.

Ice Fishing Safety:  Ice fishing can be great fun, but safety should be taken seriously. Review important ice fishing safety information on the I Fish Illinois website:

Fulton-Mason Eagle Day:  The annual Fulton-Mason Eagle Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Activities will include live raptor programs, hands-on activities and crafts for kids, and bird watching in various locations in Lewistown and Havana, Illinois. The event is free and for all ages. For event schedule, sponsors and other details, visit this link:

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants:  Teachers in Illinois can apply now for the annual Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program. Funding for the program is donated by the Independence Tube Corporation in Bedford Park, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation in Skokie, and the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation in Wilmington. Application details for these nature field trip grants are online at; the application deadline is Jan. 31.

Camping Reservations: It is not too early to make reservations for campsites and shelters for many Illinois state parks and other IDNR sites for 2020. Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America website at
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