Illinois DNR Newsbits - May 2015

Chris Young
Illinois DNR Newsbits - May 2015
May is Invasive Species Awareness Month:  Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month is a statewide effort held each May to educate and inform citizens of Illinois about the threats posed by invasive species. This year's theme is 'Preserving Illinois' Wild Side.�  Invasive species of concern include plants like buckthorn, garlic mustard and kudzu, plus aquatic species like Asian carp and zebra mussels, and animals like feral swine. For more information, check the website at

Firearm Deer Permit Applications:  Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2015 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits.  Non-resident applications can be submitted beginning May 5.  The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30.  For more information, check the IDNR website at

Camping Reservations:  Spring and summer are great times for camping in Illinois.  Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at using a credit card.   For more information, check the IDNR website at

IDNR Site Safety Reminder:  Mushroom collectors and other visitors to Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and other IDNR-managed sites with spring turkey hunting programs 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 turkey hunting area restrictions are in place for the safety of site visitors and hunters.  Spring turkey hunting continues through May 7 in the South Zone and May 14 in the North Zone.

Mushroom Collecting:  No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, but mushroom collectors always need landowner permission and, on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting 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 to ensure the safety of all site visitors.  Mushroom hunters are urged to call ahead to the state site they intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations regarding mushroom collecting.

Second Friday at the Illinois State Museum: Experience the Illinois State Museum after hours during �Second Friday� at the ISM on Friday, May 8 from 5-8 p.m. Enjoy live local musicians, local food, and art and science. Investigate the museum�s many original dioramas, explore the latest exhibits, shop the Museum Store, and learn more about the processes that make local art, produce, products, talents, and businesses so special.  Admission is free.  For more information, check the ISM website  The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex at 502 South Spring St., Springfield.

Cache River Nature Fest:  Join the fun at the annual Cache River Nature Fest on Sat., May 9 at the Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center.  The festival is from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL 62923.  Check the event website at

Super Saturdays:  The Illinois State Museum in Springfield hosts �Art Speaks!� on Sat., May 9, a �Super Saturdays� event for children and families.  For centuries, artists have combined text and art to convey stories. Find out more about the ways artists incorporate text into art, and children can make their own masterpieces. The event is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sat., May 9 at the Illinois State Museum, located in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield.  Phone 217-782-6044 for more information.

Bike to Work:  May is National Bike Month, and May 11-15 is national Bike to Work Week.  A special day is National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15.  Go riding during May, or anytime, and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycle riding and biking to work. For more information on National Bike to Work efforts:

Spring Bird Count:  The Illinois Natural History Survey is coordinating the annual Spring Bird Count in Illinois on Sat., May 9.  Learn more at the INHS website at this link:

INPC Meeting:  The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 5 at 9 a.m. at the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club, 701 North Point Road, Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8686. 

ESPB Meeting:  The next meeting of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will be held on Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m. at the Lowell Park Nature Center, 2114 Lowell Park Road, Dixon, IL 61021.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8687.

Science Series: The Illinois State Museum Science Series program on Wed., May 13 in Springfield is �End of an Era? Early Holocene Caribou Hunting Strategies in the Upper Great Lakes� -- on unique archaeological finds in the upper Great Lakes basin. The free program will be at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash in Springfield, on Wed., May 13 at 7 p.m.  For more information, phone 217-782-0061.

Dickson Mounds Nature Trek:  Take a tour of history at Dickson Mounds Museum�s Nature Trek Mound Survey on Sat., May 16 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  The most obvious evidence of the prehistoric past of the area is manifest by earthworks, and participants will visit several earthworks located in the Lewistown-Havana area and discuss what is known about them. For more information, call 309-547-3721.

Wear a Life Jacket:  The busiest boating season of the year brings a reminder for boat operators and passengers to wear a life jacket whenever they�re on the water in Illinois.  National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22.  Life jackets save lives on the water, and Illinois law requires that personal floatation devices (PFDs) � life jackets or life vests � be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft.  State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property.  Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft.  For more information, check the National Safe Boating Council�s �Wear It� campaign website at

Wingshooting Clinics:  Wingshooting clinics will be conducted this spring, summer and fall in Illinois at IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs and hunting preserves.  Most clinics are conducted on weekends. Wingshooting clinics for youth (age 10-15) and women provide instruction on safely firing a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability.  Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations.  For this year�s wingshooting clinic schedule and more information, check the IDNR website:

U.S. Open:  The annual U.S. Open Trapshooting Championships will be held May 28-31 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL.  For details, check the IDNR website:

Memorial Open Water Swim at Lincoln Trail State Park:  Make plans to participate or attend the annual Geoffrey Keller Memorial Open Water Swim on Sat., June 6 at Lincoln Trail Lake at Lincoln Trail State Park, Marshall, IL.  The event will be held in honor of the late Geoffrey Keller in support of Malignant Hyperthermia awareness.  For more information, contact the Lincoln Trail State Park office at 217-826-2222, or check

Free Fishing Days for 2015:  Mark your calendars for the 2015 Illinois Free Fishing Days promotion on June 5-8. 

Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair:  The 24th annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair will be held at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, IL on Sat., June 6 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  The free event features fun for children and families.  For details, call 618-786-3323 or check the website at

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