Free materials for teachers available from IDNR     Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 10, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Teachers heading back to their classrooms are encouraged to supplement their lessons with free, Illinois-specific educational materials and programs from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The department's Educational Services Section offers a wide variety of free natural resources materials that are correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards.

Posters, activity books, CD-ROMs, DVDs

More than 20 posters are available, most with supplemental information, on topics including trees, birds, insects, threatened and endangered species, frogs and toads, snakes, turtles, rivers, and wetlands. Activity books and worksheets are available in classroom sets. Topics include trees, birds, prairies, insects and state symbols. The CD-ROM formats include information, lessons, student activities, nature sounds and video. Five videos in DVD format help explore natural resources of Illinois without leaving the classroom.

Resources on loan

Items for loan include the “Illinois Tree Trunks” and the new “Illinois Wild Mammals Trunks.” The trunks are large plastic containers full of resources. Each Illinois Tree Trunk has lessons, videos, posters, tree "cookies," lumber samples, rubber leaves, seeds, tree sampling equipment and more items related to trees and forestry. The Illinois Wild Mammals Trunks are filled with field guides, CD-ROMs, a DVD, fur samples, skulls, track and scat replicas, lessons, activity sheets, posters, and other items. Suggested loan time for the trunks is two weeks. For information about both trunks, visit


Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants of up to $600 can provide funds for schoolyard wildlife habitat improvement projects. Applications are due by Oct. 15. Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants of up to $500 per teacher can pay for transportation, substitute teachers, equipment and other items to take students outdoors to study the biodiversity of our state. The two application periods per year have deadlines of Oct. 15 and Feb. 15. Information and application forms for both grant programs can be found at


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Teacher workshops

Illinois ENTICE and Project WILD, WILD Aquatic, Learning Tree and WET workshops for educators offer continuing professional development units as teachers learn about natural resources concepts and receive classroom-ready supplemental materials. For more information about these programs and to view workshop schedules, visit

Federal junior duck stamp design contest

An art contest for grades K-12 promotes wetland and waterfowl conservation. For more information, visit

National Arbor Day poster contest

Arbor Day poster competition for fifth-grade students focuses on forests, tree diversity and tree planting. Application packets are mailed to the schools each fall and are also available online at

More information on all of the free materials available to teachers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is available by contacting the department's Educational Services Section at (217) 524-4126, by e-mail to or on the Web at

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

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