Highlighting IDNR Programs and Upcoming Events For the Month of May
Free Fishing Days: Dozens of organizations conduct fishing derbies and other special events as part of Illinois Free Fishing Days, to be held this year June 6-9. Organizations interested in receiving educational and promotional materials to be used as part of an Illinois Free Fishing Days event should contact Gary Watson, IDNR Free Fishing Days events coordinator, at 217/782-9990. During Illinois Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish without the need to have a sport fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Make arrangements now to join women from throughout Illinois for the next Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop, July 11-13 at the Lorado Taft Campus in Oregon, Illinois. The popular Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops introduce participants to a wide variety of outdoor recreation skills and activities. The cost of $185 includes all meals, lodging, use of equipment, and course materials. For more information and registration materials, click on the IDNR website at the following link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Bow/index.htm
OutdoorIllinois: Discover Illinois’ great natural resources by picking up a copy of the May issue of OutdoorIllinois, the Department of Natural Resources’ award-winning monthly magazine. One of Illinois’ nearly 100 heron and egret rookeries is captured on the cover, and a feature article describes the status of the state’s nine colonial nesting birds. Other stories include Green River State Wildlife Area, the return of nesting trumpeter swans to the Prairie State after a 150-year absence, and a largemouth bass refuge at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Also included are feature articles on the transformation of the Savanna Army Depot into the Lost Mound Unit, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, and the Bridgehouse Museum, located in downtown Chicago and celebrating the Chicago River. Details on the 9th annual OutdoorIllinois photo contest (entries are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 8, 2008) will send shutterbugs to the field for that award-winning shot. OutdoorIllinois is a great tool for learning about Illinois’ natural, cultural and recreational resources-and a bargain at only $15 for a one-year, 12-issue magazine subscription. Call 1-800-720-3249 to subscribe or visit www.dnr.state.il.us/OI. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at www.dnr.state.il.us/OI. For information on advertising in OutdoorIllinois, call (217) 785-8610 or e-mail michelle [dot] silver [at] illinois [dot] gov.
Funscapes Family Art Event: Celebrate Illinois’ diverse landscapes at the Funscapes Family Art Event on Sat., May 10 in conjunction with the exhibition “The Grammar of Landscape: Eleven Photographic Visions of Illinois” at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Enjoy fun hands-on art for children including an activity led by Springfield artist Helen Stannard, an artisan demonstration, door prizes, and much more. The event is free and open to the public. Hours for the event – sponsored by the Bank of Springfield – are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, phone 217/782-5993.
Upcoming Weekend Bird Walks at McHenry Dam and Volo Bog: Spring is a great time for birding – and novice and experienced birders are invited to join weekend morning bird walks at McHenry Dam and Volo Bog State Natural Area. Walk times vary from one to three hours for ages 7-adult.
McHenry Dam – May 24 and May 31, beginning at 8 a.m. Meet at south end of McHenry Dam parking lot.
Volo Bog – May 11 and May 17, beginning at 8 a.m.
Programs are co-sponsored by the McHenry County Audubon. Make reservations at dnr [dot] volobog [at] illinois [dot] gov or 815/344-1294.
Trail of Twelve Trees: Join a nature hike and open house at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Ingleside, on Sat., May 24 and Sun., May 25 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Take a leisurely stroll in search of twelve tagged trees. Learn how to identify them, a bit about their ecology, and even a little social history. Those turning in a completed scavenger hunt will receive prizes. This event is ideal for youth groups as well as individuals and families. All ages are welcome and no reservations required for the open house. For more information, phone 815/344-1294.
ICF Grant Program: The Illinois Conservation Foundation is accepting applications for the 2008 ICF Grant Program, which provides funds to not-for-profit groups, organizations, and schools to assist with conservation projects and programs that encourage outdoor recreation involving youngsters and people with disabilities. The application deadline is May 30. An application form is available on the ICF website at www.ilcf.org. For more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003.
INPC Meeting: The next meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tues., May 6 at 9 a.m. at the Ramada Hotel, 11383 Route 20 West, Galena. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217/785-8686.
Oil and Gas Board Meeting: The next meeting of the state Oil and Gas Advisory Board on Wed., May 7 at 10 a.m. will be held at the Illinois Oil and Gas Association building located at 824 East Highway 15 in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call 217/524-6750.
ESPB Meeting: The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will meet on Fri., May 16 at 10 a.m. at Giant City Lodge, Giant City State Park, Makanda. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217/785-8687.
May is National Bike Month: National Bike-to-Work Week is May 12-16 and this year’s Bike-to-Work Day is Fri., May 16. Riding a bike to work it is less costly than driving, it is better for the environment, and it is great exercise. Bicycling is also a great way for families to spend time together. Hop on your bike, head to a local bicycle trail, or ride your bike to work. For more information on bicycle riding and safety, contact your favorite local bike shop or cycling organization.
Wingshooting Clinics: The IDNR and partnering organizations are hosting a series of wingshooting clinics for beginning shooters and for more experienced hunters this spring and summer. Youth/Women’s clinics are free. Saturday sessions generally provide instruction for girls and boys ages 10 – 15, while Sunday sessions are generally used to provide instruction for girls and women ages 10 and older. (Youth participants must be at least 4 feet 6 inches tall and weigh at least 75 pounds). Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association. Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of those ages 16 and older. Hunters with wingshooting skill levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to attend. A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of clay targets and refreshments.
Upcoming Youth/Women’s clinics (and contact phone numbers) include:
May 17-18 – Des Plaines Conservation Area (Will Co.); phone 217/785-8129
June 14 – Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area (Cass Co.); phone 217/452-7741
June 28-29 – St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club, Elburn (Kane Co.), phone 630/363-6180
Upcoming Hunter Wingshooting Clinics include:
May 31-June 1 – Des Plaines Conservation Area (Will Co.); phone 217/785-8129
June 7-8 – Briar Knoll Hunting and Fishing Club (Lee Co.); 815/857-2320
June 21-22 – Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA (Cass Co.); phone 217/452-7741
For the complete wingshooting clinic schedule, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us.
Fort Massac Program: Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis, on Sat., May 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., will host the Massiac Marines French and Indian War re-enactors living history program. The program is free and more information is available by calling 618/524-9321.
French Colonial Sites: The Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield hosts a lecture on May 14 at 7 p.m. on the study of the 18th century fur trade. Dr. Misty Jackson researched fur trade artifacts using trade invoices of Montreal merchants and fort storehouse inventories recorded by military personnel. The resulting folk classification was applied to a collection of artifacts from the 18th century site of Fort Ouiatenon on the Wabash River near present-day Lafayette, Indiana. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, phone 217/782-0061. The ISM Research and Collections Center is located at 1011 East Ash St. in Springfield.
New Poster: The IDNR Division of Education has just released the new “Illinois Wild Mammals” poster. This 24″ x 36″ poster features images and information about 23 representative species. Information is also provided about mammal characteristics, conservation, and additional resources available. To order a copy, visit http://www.idnrteachkids.com. A grant from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund was used to help produce the poster.
ENTICE Workshops: Registration is open for spring and summer ENTICE workshops from the IDNR Division of Education. Register at http://www.ilcf.org/Workshop/Courses.asp. Upcoming workshops include:
Illinois Threatened and Endangered Species, Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, May 31
Illinois Mussels, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, June 17
Illinois Millipedes and Centipedes, Giant City State Park, Makanda, June 20
Illinois Wetlands, Vermilion County Conservation Area, Danville, June 21
Illinois Prairies, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington, June 21
Lake Michigan Fishes, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, June 28
GPS, Hamilton-Jefferson ROE, Mt. Vernon, July 14
Illinois Bats, Fermi Lab, Batavia, July 16
Save a Tree: The IDNR deer and turkey programs are going green. To help preserve natural forest habitat, the Illinois deer and turkey programs will no longer be printing large quantities of paper permit applications. Instead, the applications will be available online. Hunters are also reminded that permits can be applied for directly online through DNR Direct using a credit card or an electronic check at www.dnr.state.il.us. To accommodate those without access to the internet, paper applications are available at select IDNR offices.
Non-Resident Archery Deer Permits: Non-resident archery deer hunting permits for the 2008-09 Illinois Archery Deer season will be available through the DNR Direct online and by phone beginning June 1. Non-residents can purchase combination archery permits via DNR Direct Online License Sales at http://dnr.state.il.us (Click on DNR Direct on the home page) or by phone at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). Non-residents are allowed to purchase one combination archery permit (one either-sex/one antlerless only) at a cost of $400. There will be 25,000 non-resident combination tags available for the 2008-09 archery deer season, which is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2008 through Jan. 15, 2009. Antlerless only permits for $15.50 will be available throughout the season over the counter at local license agents, as well as through DNR Direct online or by phone.
ICF Golf Benefit: The 13th annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Downstate Golf Benefit will be held at the Rail Golf Course in Sherman on Fri., June 27 beginning at 1 p.m. The registration fee is $150 per golfer or $500 for a foursome. Proceeds benefit ICF youth fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs. To register or to obtain more information, phone 217/782-7181.