Illinois DNR Newsbits - February 2020

Rachel Torbert
Illinois DNR Newsbits - February 2020
Spring Turkey Applications:  Permit applications for the third lottery for 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season are due by Feb. 10. Hunters wishing to apply should visit the IDNR website for more information:

Fall Archery Turkey Harvest:  Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 740 wild turkeys during the 2019-2020 Fall Archery Turkey Season. The total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 738 in 2018-2019. For the 2019-20 season, 22,728 permits were sold (excluding landowner permits) compared to 23,298 for the 2018-2019 season. The season dates were Oct. 1, 2019 – Jan. 19, 2020 and all 102 counties were open for hunting. The top counties for fall archery wild turkey harvest were Jefferson (25), Knox (23), Cass (20), Jackson (18), and Randolph (18).

2020 Licenses Available Beginning March 1:  2020 Illinois Hunting, Fishing and Sportsman Combination licenses will go on sale beginning March 1 at 8:00 a.m. – and those 2020 licenses will be valid through March 31, 2021. Illinois 2019 licenses are valid through March 31, 2020. Licenses purchased prior to March 1, 2020 are 2019 licenses that will be valid only through March 31, 2020.

Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Days:  Enjoy watching bald eagles on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers near Pere Marquette State Park by participating in one of the park’s popular Bald Eagle Days tours. The informative programs are conducted on select winter dates. The programs are free, but registration is required by calling 618-786-3323. For more information, visit
Music Featured in Illinois State Museum Program: “The Central Illinois Roots of Lloyd Loar and the Growth and Development of the Mandolin Orchestra Tradition in America” is the topic of the monthly Paul Mickey Learning Series program at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 p.m. Presented by James Stanlaw, professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University, the program highlights the mandolin orchestra and its rise and fall — and rise again — in popularity, along with the roots of musical virtuoso and acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 217-558-6696.

Lincoln Birthday Event at Mount Pulaski Courthouse: The Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site will host an early celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday Saturday, Feb. 8 with an appearance by Brian “Fox” Ellis portraying John A. “Black Jack” Logan, the son of Dr. John Logan, for whom Logan County is named. The event will be held from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., with the “Black Jack” Logan program at 1:00 p.m. inside the historic courthouse. The younger Logan became a Civil War general, a U.S. Senator, and an enthusiastic worker for President Lincoln’s re-election. During the celebration, visitors will also be greeted by Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by John Walther of Bloomington, who will tell Lincoln stories. Other activities will allow visitors to write with a quill pen, tap out Morse code messages with oscillators, make a Lincoln birthday card or a Valentine, and put together a giant puzzle.

Lincoln Celebration at Davis Mansion:  The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday Saturday, Feb. 8 with a meet and greet with President Lincoln, portrayed by Randy Duncan. The free event starts at 9:00 a.m. with the final tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. Children and families will get to meet Mr. Lincoln, take pictures with him and enjoy birthday cake at the home of one of Lincoln’s closest friends and political allies, Judge David Davis. The Davis Mansion is located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington.

Vandalia Statehouse Lincoln Celebration:  The Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday with a special event Saturday, Feb. 8 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pam Brown, who will portray Mary Lincoln, will present the program, “Taking Leave,” starting at 2:00 p.m. Music will be provided by Mike Anderson – “The Dulcimer Guy.” Anderson also will provide an informative session following Brown’s presentation. Refreshments will be available following the presentations. The Lincoln’s Birthday celebration is provided by the IDNR, Vandalia Historical Society, and the Old Capitol Foundation. The Vandalia Statehouse is the oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois. It is open to the public each Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is located at 315 W. Gallatin Street, Vandalia, IL 62471. For more information, call 618-283-1161.

Snake Program at Giant City:  Snake Road, located in the Shawnee National Forest, is not only a place to find a diverse array of amphibians, reptiles, and other wildlife. Join biologist John Palis on a virtual walk of the world-famous Snake Road Saturday, Feb. 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Giant City State Park Visitors Center. Palis will share his observations of snakes and other natural wonders. No registration is needed for this free program; for more information, call 618-457-4836.

Underground Railroad Program at Giant City:  The Underground Railroad was a vast but secret network of travel routes and safe havens to help African Americans escape slavery. Did you know that there are several natural landmarks in the Shawnee National Forest that remain as markers of the Underground Railroad? Head out to the Giant City State Park Visitors Center Sunday, Feb. 9 at 1:00 p.m. as Mary McCorvie, Heritage Program Manager for the Shawnee National Forest, discusses the role that southern Illinois and African American communities played in the Underground Railroad network. No registration is needed for this free program; call 618-457-4836 for more information.

Cahokia Mounds Winter Lecture:  The Angel Mounds of Indiana will be featured as part of the Winter Lecture Series at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2:00 p.m. The lecture, “Architectural Alignments and Lunar Landscapes: Tracing the Construction of Angel Communities in Southwestern Indiana,” will be given by Elizabeth Watts Malouchos, research scientist at Indiana University’s Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology. The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the auditorium at the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center. Recent remote-sensing research at Angel and outlying sites suggests aligning residential and mound architecture to the movements of the moon was important for more than three centuries. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located in Collinsville just off Interstates 55/70 (Exit 6) and Interstate 255 (Exit 24) on Collinsville Road. For more information, call 618-346-5160 or go to 

Music at the Museum:  The Nathan Taylor Band will perform at the monthly Music at the Museum concert at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m. The band explodes with rich sound and purely blended talent, bathed in a wide range of vintage American blues and roots music. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. More information is available online at

Camping Reservations: It is time to make 2020 reservations for campsites and shelters for many Illinois state parks and other IDNR sites. Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America website at

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

Earth Day in the Parks:  Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28 for 2020 Earth Day in the Parks events from the IDNR in which students and their teachers conduct natural resources stewardship activities, such as planting native wildflowers and grasses, building bird nesting boxes and removing invasive exotic plants at participating Illinois state parks. Participants are selected through an application process. The application form is available at

Museum Fashion Calendar:  Stunning photographs of 12 historic gowns from the upcoming Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900 exhibition are featured in a new calendar produced and sold by the Illinois State Museum. All of the dresses are from the Illinois State Museum’s collections.  Many of them were photographed “in situ” at historic sites in central Illinois. Copies of the calendar sell for $10, or $8 for Illinois State Museum Society members. The calendars also can be purchased online at, by calling the Museum at 217-782-7386, or by visiting the main Museum building at 502 S. Spring Street, Springfield. 

Conservation Achievement Scholarship Program:  Applications are now being accepted by the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) for the 2020 Conservation Achievement Scholarship program. The ICF annually awards scholarships to outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who demonstrate effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection or enhancement of the state’s natural resources. Four scholarships of $2,000 each are available for the current school year. One of the scholarships is earmarked for a qualified applicant who is a dependent of a current employee of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Applicants must be an Illinois resident and a senior in an Illinois high school. Applications must be received by the ICF by March 1, 2020. Detailed instructions and the 2020 application form can be found on the ICF website at Contact the ICF at 217-785-2003 or for more information or to make a donation to support the Conservation Achievement Scholarship program.

Civil War Saturday at Old State Capitol:  Visit the Old State Capitol in Springfield for a fun, family-friendly free program hosted by the Springfield Soldiers' Aid Society Saturday, March 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Volunteers in historic attire will help those attending to learn about the women who worked in the building during the Civil War and experience history by trying crafts that were popular during the Civil War. The Old State Capitol, a reconstruction of Illinois’ fifth statehouse, served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839 to 1876. It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Dana-Thomas House Specialty Tours:  Two specialty tours to provide visitors the opportunity to enjoy extra time inside the historic Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site in Springfield are planned for Saturday, March 7. “Attention to Detail,” held 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., will explore details and stories of the Dana House that enrich our understanding of art and architecture and the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. “Of Glass and Wood,” held 1:15 to 3:15 p.m., will focus on details of the amazing art glass collection and the Wright-designed furniture in the house. Call the site at 217-782-6776 to reserve your place on these tours.

Illinois Deer Classic:  Visit with IDNR biologists, CPOs and permit/license staff at the 2020 Illinois Deer Classic at the Peoria Civic Center, March 27-29. For more info:
Follow IDNR on Facebook and Twitter