Illinois has a wealth of natural resources and exploring them can be great fun for children as well as a wonderful educational experience. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) offers resources trunks and field trip packs for loan to help educators encourage children to take a closer look at the natural world.
What are trunks and packs? “Trunks” are large plastic tubs filled with materials to make learning come alive. There are 10 topics: Aquatic Illinois; Illinois Birds; Illinois Fossils; Illinois Insects and Spiders; Illinois Invasive Species; Illinois Prairies; Illinois’ State Symbols; Illinois Trees; Illinois Wild Mammals; and People and Animals from Illinois’ Past.
Furs, skulls, fossils, sampling equipment, specimens, posters, field guides, books and lessons are just some of the many items available for use. The trunk resources provide educators with the opportunity to utilize teaching tools they otherwise might not be able to access. Lessons are correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards. Each trunk is targeted to specific grade levels but may be adapted for use with other students.
Classroom teachers, homeschooling educators, youth group and scouting leaders, day care center staff and families are among the variety of people who have successfully used the trunks and packs. For a list of lending locations and to access a content list for each trunk, use the links at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/teach.htm. There is no charge to borrow the trunks and packs, although a refundable deposit may be requested.
The IDNR provides many other Illinois-specific, educational programs, too. Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/education/, call 217-524-4126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.