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[JULY 30, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Attention, shutterbugs! The Aug. 2 entry deadline for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' annual photography contest is just around the corner. Winning entries in the five outdoor recreation and natural resource categories will be published in the February 2005 issue of Outdoor Illinois magazine, the first-ever full-photographic issue produced by the Department of Natural Resources. Entries may be slides, digital images or prints and must have been photographed in Illinois. Photos of captive and domestic species will not be considered. Additional entry requirements are detailed at

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Access to some facilities at Kankakee River State Park will be restricted due to rehabilitation work that begins Aug. 2 on the Warner Bridge near the park. The Class D campground located just west of the bridge will be closed for the duration of the bridge project. The fishermen's parking area on the east side of the bridge will be a left-turn-only on exit from the parking area. Also, the bike trail beneath the bridge will be closed from time to time during the construction. The bridge project is expected to take approximately 100 working days.

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The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission's 183rd meeting will be on Tuesday, Aug. 3, beginning at 9 a.m. The meeting will be in the University of Illinois ACES Library Heritage Room in Urbana. For more information, call the commission at (217) 785-8686.

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The 123rd meeting of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, in Lakeview Conference Room A of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. If anyone has reason to address the board, the board requests advance notification of such intent and an advance written copy of the matter to be presented. Without an advance copy of such presentations, the board cannot make on-the-spot evaluations concerning any matter and will not be able to formally act on that matter during the meeting. For more information, contact the board at (217) 785-8687.

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Free education resources for teachers

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Educational Services Section, has six CD-ROMs and one DVD available for teachers. The CD-ROMs and DVD contain lessons, student activities, videos, sounds and more and are compatible with both Windows and Macintosh formats. The DVD contains five videos taking students on a tour of Illinois' natural heritage without leaving the classroom. These resources are free, but note appropriate grade levels before ordering.

The CD-ROMs are "Career Opportunities in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources," for grades 7-12; "Kids for Trees," grades K-3; "Wild Mammals of Illinois," grades 4-6; "Illinois Birds," grades 4-6; "Aquatic Illinois," grades 5-9; and "Illinois Biodiversity," grades 5-10. The DVD is "Exploring Illinois' Natural Resources," for grades K-12.

Send requests by title on school letterhead to: IDNR Education, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. For more information, contact the department's Division of Education at or (217) 524-4126.

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New "mammal trunks" available

Illinois educators teaching about mammals can borrow an "Illinois Wild Mammals Trunk" to supplement their classroom lessons. Developed by the Educational Services Section of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, these supplemental kits are available for loan to educators statewide. Each trunk -- an easy-to-transport plastic container -- is 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 is two weeks.

Lending locations are listed at
. For more information, contact the department's Division of Education at or (217) 524-4126.


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New book explores links between "green" chemistry and agriculture

Exploring how "environmentally friendly" chemistry can be applied to agriculture is the subject of a new book edited by Dr. William Nelson of the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center. "Agricultural Applications in Green Chemistry" is published by the American Chemical Society and distributed by Oxford University Press.

Nelson directs the alternative cleaning technology and chemical process alternatives labs at the Waste Management and Research Center. He is an expert on cleaning processes that reduce waste generation and is the author of a recently published book on "green" solvents for use in chemistry.

Green chemistry is the concept of reducing or eliminating hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products. The book examines the connection between green chemistry and sustainable agriculture, as well as agricultural products as examples of green chemistry. Product examples include ethanol as an alternative fuel and the use of a plant's essential oils as alternative pesticides. Also included is material on agricultural processes in green chemistry. Examples include bioremediation, in which plants or microbes clean up contaminated soil, and increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis so that crop yields are naturally higher, decreasing the need for artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The book also looks to nature for models of how to deal with agricultural problems, such as using biological control instead of chemical pesticides to eliminate pests.

The book is written primarily for researchers and educators in chemical and agricultural sciences, though farmers and other agricultural land owners may also be interested. It is available from the Oxford University Press and the American Chemical Society.

The Waste Management and Research Center is a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and is headquartered on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

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