Illinois DNR Newsbits for April 2018

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits for April 2018
2018 Licenses Now Available:  Don’t forget to buy 2018 Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman combination licenses now from DNR Direct license and permit vendors throughout Illinois, or online through the IDNR website at The new license year in Illinois began on April 1, and 2018 licenses are valid through March 31, 2019.

LWCF Grant Applications Due May 15:  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is accepting applications for grants through the federally-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides up to 50 percent funding assistance to eligible local units of government to acquire land for public outdoor recreation areas. Local agencies must possess the ability to finance the cost of an approved land acquisition project prior to receipt of grant reimbursement funds. LWCF grants are awarded through a competitive application process. The deadline to apply for this round of LWCF grants is May 15, 2018. Local units of government interested in applying for a LWCF grant should contact the IDNR Office of Grant Management and Assistance, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1272; phone 217-782-7481; email

Free Program on Habitat in Illinois:  The Illinois State Museum’s monthly Paul Mickey Learning Series program on Wed., April 4 at 7 p.m. is “The Comeback of Conservation in Illinois” presented by Jared Duquette of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.  Numerous agencies and organizations work together to conserve and manage Illinois’ native wildlife and habitat. This presentation will discuss the road to modern wildlife conservation in Illinois, with highlights on initiatives that have bolstered wildlife and habitat across the state, particularly around Springfield. The program, in the auditorium of the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, is free and open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-558-6696 or email

Spring Trout Season Opens April 7:  The 2018 Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season opens on Sat., April 7 at 54 lakes and ponds throughout Illinois.  Fishing licenses and Inland Trout Stamps for those interested in fishing for trout are available at DNR Direct license and permit vendors, and online through the IDNR website.  For a list of locations stocked for the spring trout season and more details:

Apply Now for Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits:  Residents of Illinois can apply now through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2018 Illinois Firearm and Muzzleloader-only Deer Season permits.  Hunters can apply online through the IDNR website at The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only.  Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries.  The 2018 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 16-18 (first season) and Nov. 29-Dec. 2 (second season). The 2018 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 7-9 (and in the second firearm season, Nov. 29-Dec. 2).

Recycled Play Day at Illinois State Museum:  The green fun returns to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sat., April 7 with a “Recycled Play Day” Super Saturday family event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  Bring the kids to kick off Earth Month with engaging activities centered on reducing, reusing, and recycling. Participants will work together to build a giant play city out of repurposed cardboard boxes. Children will also enjoy environmental games and recycled art projects.  The event is sponsored by Bank of Springfield.  For more information, phone 217-558-6696 or email

Seed Packets Available:  The IDNR Mason State Nursery has developed a seed mix of Illinois native forbs and grasses that is suitable for use in developing a monarch/pollinator habitat. One packet of these seeds will cover about one-fifth of an acre. The cost is $40.00 per packet, plus shipping and handling.  The state nursery also has Illinois native plants available for sale in containers. The container plants must be picked up at the Mason State Nursery in Topeka, Illinois. Tree seedlings are also available for sale. For complete ordering information, visit   

Turkey Hunting Safety Reminder:  Visitors to Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and other IDNR-managed sites with spring turkey hunting programs in April and May are reminded that hunting areas are closed to activities other than spring wild turkey hunting from one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. daily during the spring turkey season.  The hunting area safety restrictions apply to all visitors, including mushroom collectors.  For turkey season dates, check the IDNR website:

Mushroom Collecting:  No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, but mushroom collectors always need landowner permission.  On public sites, mushroom collectors must adhere to approved regulations and hours.  Collection of mushrooms is allowed in many IDNR state parks, fish and wildlife, and other recreation areas, but it is prohibited in any area designated as a dedicated nature preserve.  Areas under the jurisdiction of the IDNR that offer spring turkey hunting are not open to mushroom collecting until after 1 p.m. daily during turkey season to ensure the safety of all site visitors.  Mushroom collectors should call ahead to the IDNR site they intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations.

Hunter and Boating Safety Education Courses:  Register now for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations:

Fishing Information Booklet:  The 2018 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available at many IDNR license and permit vendor locations, and in PDF format online at this link:
Regulations in the guide took effect on April 1, 2018.  A reminder to anglers, and would-be anglers, that Illinois Free Fishing Days for 2018 will be during the Father’s Day weekend – June 15-18.

Songbag Concert at Sandburg Site on April 8:  Small Potatoes will bring a delightful variety of music traditions to the Carl Sandburg Songbag Concert Series with a performance on Sun., April 8, from 4-6 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site in Galesburg.  Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, the Chicago-area duo known as Small Potatoes, describe their music as “Celtic to Cowboy – ranging from country, blues, and swing to Irish. The Small Potatoes performance will be in the Sandburg site’s barn at 313 E. Third Street in Galesburg.  A donation of $5 per person is suggested.  The concert is sponsored by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association and the IDNR.

Tales from the Vault – Civil War Weapons on April 11:  Get up close and personal with the Illinois State Museum’s collection of Civil War-era sabres, pistols, and rifles at a free program on Wed., April 11 at 12:30 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield. Dr. Greg Kane, an expert on Civil War munitions, will detail what the typical soldier would have carried into battle, how the weapon worked, and how military technology evolved during the war. “Tales from the Vault” is a collaborative program between the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Museum that offers the public a chance to see and learn about rare and rarely-seen treasures from both museums' collections.  The ISM Research and Collections Center is at 1011 East Ash St. in Springfield (accessible off of Laurel on 10 ½ St.). 

Music at the Illinois State Museum on April 12:  Escape the workweek with Escaping Pavement, featured performers for the Music at the Museum concert on Thurs., April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield.  There is plenty of life and vitality in the Americana-folk journeys of Escaping Pavement, sprung entirely from an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and two voices. Tickets are available at the door; $10 for adults, $8 for Museum Society members, and free for children under 12. For more information on the featured acts and a full museum concert series schedule, check

Camping Reservations:  Make your 2018 Illinois state park campsite reservations now.  Just go to the Reserve America website at and be all set for your camping trips in the months ahead.

Bicentennial Series Program on April 15 at Illinois State Museum: “Becoming a State: The Illinois Way” is the free Bicentennial Speaker Series program at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sun., April 15 at 2 p.m.  Historian and writer Tara McClellan McAndrew will discuss the wayward way Illinois became a state, and how the first lawmakers in Kaskaskia started from scratch in creating state government. The series is presented by the Academy of Lifelong Learning at Lincoln Land Community College, in collaboration with the Illinois State Museum.  For more information, phone 217-782-0979.

Art in Antebellum Springfield:  The Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center hosts a lunchtime Brown Bag Program on ‘Art in Antebellum Springfield’ on Wed., April 18 from 12 noon until 1 p.m.  ISM curator Erika Holst presents the program on the ways in which the people of Springfield accessed and experienced art in the years before the Civil War. The program is free and open to the public.  Access the ISM Research and Collections Center (1011 E. Ash, Springfield) via 10 ½ St. from Laurel.  For more information, phone 217-558-6696.

Jubilee College State Park Earth Day Celebration April 21-22: Join us at the first annual Earth Day Celebration at Jubilee College State Park on Sat., April 21 and Sun., April 22 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.  Exhibits and activities are planned on fish and aquatic life, art, music, astronomy, geocaching, and trail riding.  The Earth Day Celebration is sponsored by the Jubilee College State Park Volunteer Group.  Jubilee College State Park is located at 13921 W. Route 150, Brimfield, IL 61517.

Bluebirds of Illinois Parent/Child Workshop at Dickson Mounds April 28:  Join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Dickson Mounds Museum staff to learn about bluebirds and build a bluebird house to take home. The program will be held at Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 N. Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown (with an optional hike to view bluebirds in the wild afterward) on Sat., April 28 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon.  The program is free.  All materials and supplies will be provided.  This program is for kids ages 8 years and older with an adult (register by 4/25).  Call 309-535-2290 or email to register, or for more information.

INPC Meeting:  The 229th meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tuesday, May 8 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the DeSoto House Ballroom, 230 S. Main St., Galena, IL 61036.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone the INPC at 217-785-8686.
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