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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Insect and Spider Resources

Posted by Ron Wolford -

1. New Posters from the IDNR Division of Education

Habitats are Homes and Illinois' Threatened and Endangered Species are the latest additions to the flora and fauna poster series from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Division of Education. Each 24" x 36" poster is two-sided. The front of the Habitats are Homes poster depicts animals found in the four main habitats in the state. The back side provides information about the value of wildlife habitat, how habitats change, what you can do to enhance/develop/maintain wildlife habitat, resources to access and grant programs available. Thirty species currently listed as endangered in Illinois are depicted on the Illinois' Threatened and Endangered Species poster. Information about these species is provided along with why species are listed as endangered or threatened, what students and the general public can do to help endangered/threatened species and more. These posters were made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund. To order, visit the online order form at

2. Teachers and Students: Help Us Learn About Spiders in Illinois

Join teachers and students from throughout Illinois as they take to the outdoors (and indoors) to collect data about spiders! A cooperative project between the IDNR Division of Education, Northwestern University, the Field Museum and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the IDNR Illinois Biodiversity Spider Study will be conducted through Northwestern University's online Collaboratory Project.

Teachers and their students will learn about spiders in the state and undertake a year-long data collection study about two species commonly found in and around schools. All information is accessed through and posted to the Collaboratory Project. Scientists from the IDNR will monitor data collections and utilize the results in their research. There is no cost to participate, and classes will be able to communicate with students/teachers at other schools to compare results and discuss their experiences.

Teachers who participate in the workshop will be able to share experiences and best practices. Fifteen Continuing Professional Development Units are available as well. To enroll in the IDNR Illinois Biodiversity Spider Study, interested teachers should email the following information to Valerie Keener at your name; school email address; school name; school city; school phone number; and the grade(s) that you teach.

3. Illinois' Insects and Spiders Resources Trunks Now Available for Loan

Students are fascinated by insects and spiders. Help them learn more about these creatures by borrowing one of the new Illinois' Insects and Spiders resources trunks produced by the IDNR Division of Education. Each trunk contains books, field guides, equipment, posters, CD-ROMs, life cycle models, observation containers and much more. There's also an Illinois-specific "Crime-Solving Insects" forensic activity. Targeted to grades K-6, the trunks can be borrowed from 30 locations throughout Illinois. For a list of lending locations, visit then click on the "Education" button in the right side bar. On the next page, select the link to "Items for Loan."

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