Iam often reminded
of the vastly expand-ed
role of the Depart-ment
Resources when I am asked
the question: “What does the
Department of Natural
I take no offense. The
innocent question might
come from anyone, a con-stituent
I’ve just met—and
they’re usually slightly
embarrassed to ask. People
everywhere seem to sense
they really should know the functions of
their own government and all of its agen-cies.
Unfortunately, the Department of
Natural Resources happens to be one of
those state departments whose function
isn’t always obvious to everybody I meet.
“I should know this,” people apologize,
“but…” They cringe. It’s as if they’ve
heard the name of a profession—an actu-ary,
for instance—and realize they have no
idea what that person does, but should.
It’s a sign of the times for us. Millions of
people enjoy the outdoors today. But our
specific interest in the outdoors is as varied
and diverse as the people themselves.
There are mountain bikers and kayakers
who are nature fanatics. Dedicated nature
photographers snap millions of photos.
People hike trails and rappel off cliffs. Some
fish. Some hunt. Many visitors to nature
simply open up a lawn chair and read a
book under some shady tree in a state park.
It’s easy to imagine that no single state
department could be responsible for man-aging
and protecting the natural resources
currently being utilized by all of these
millions of varied outdoor recreationists
in Illinois. Yet that is precisely our job at
DNR—and much more.
Yet this wasn’t always the case. Years
ago, everybody assumed that everyone
who headed into the great outdoors was
either a hunter or a fisherman. Usually,
they were right. And all of those hunting
and fishing outdoor recreationists instant-ly
recognized the services provided by
the old Illinois Department
of Conservation—the pre-decessor
the Department of Conser-vation
issued each sports-man
their hunting and
fishing licenses. What’s
more, those sportsmen
who bought their licenses
literally helped pay for the
lands and waters managed
by the Department of Con-servation
from license sales,
along with dedicated taxes
on hunting, boating and
fishing equipment, all paid for the man-agement
and development of the public
lands and waters where hunters and
fishermen spent their time.
It was a smart choice in its day: The
Pittman-Robertson Act (1937) and the Din-gell-
Johnson Act (1950) were created to
provide funds for the management of the
wild lands and waters utilized by hunters
and fishermen in America. As the primary
users of our lakes, rivers and forests, it
only made sense sportsmen would help
pay for the resource they shared.
Yet times have changed. Today DNR
still is responsible for issuing licenses to
sportsmen. But the lands and waters
utilized by millions of other outdoor
recreationists now suffer from a lack of
funding for even basic management pro-grams.
At the same time, services and
responsibilities of DNR have grown to
include mine inspections, drug enforce-
The changing role of DNR
and the nature of Illinois
ment, roadway maintenance and scores
of other seemingly unrelated obligations.
It’s understandable the public would not
instantly recognize the services provided
by the Department of Natural Resources.
There are, however, ways in which all
of us who enjoy the outdoors can support
the stewardship and management of our
natural resources, regardless of our specif-ic
interest. Recently, the Illinois Secretary
of State unveiled a newly designed E plate,
a great way for motorists to show their
support for our natural resources. With
the sale of each plate, $25 will be donated
to the State Park Trust Fund—a direct
investment anyone can make to help sup-port
these natural resources we all share.
Also, consider making a tax-deductible
donation to the Illinois Conservation
Foundation, the non-profit, charitable
affiliate of DNR. All proceeds help sup-port
ICF programs, including educational
materials for schools, habitat improve-ment
and other conservation projects and
more. Although the millions of outdoor
recreationists in Illinois might not realize
the Department of Natural Resources
manages and protects the nature they
enjoy in so many ways, here’s something
everybody should know: We all share the
responsibility to support what we love.
Marc Miller, Director
OutdoorIllinois August 2011
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 8
OUTDOOR ILLINOIS (USPS 0978-720) is published
monthly by the Department of Natural Resources,
Office of Public Services, One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone (217) 782-7454,
(Publication number: ISSN 1072-7175)
Periodical Postage Paid at Springfield, IL
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to OUTDOOR
ILLINOIS, Department of Natural Resources, Dept. NL,
One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
Pat Quinn Governor
Marc Miller Director
John D. Rogner Assistant Director
Travis Loyd Deputy Director
Todd Main Acting Deputy Director
Elizabeth “Beth” Penesis Deputy Director
STAFF: Kristin DiCenso, office director; Kathy Andrews,
editor; Joe McFarland, staff writer; Adele Hodde, chief
photographer; Charles J. Copley, design & layout; Kelly
Frederick, production coordinator; Minak Porter, circu-lation;
Michelle Silver, marketing.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Internet Address: dnr.state.il.us
Copyright 2011 Illinois Department of Natural
Resources. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole
or part is prohibited without the written permission of
Equal opportunity to participate in programs of the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and
those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
other agencies is available to all individuals regardless
of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion or
other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been
discriminated against, contact the funding source’s civil
rights office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity
Officer, IDNR, One Natural Resources Way, Spring-field,
IL 62702-1271; 217/785-0067; TTY 217/782-
9175. This information may be provided in an alterna-tive
format if required. Contact the DNR Clearinghouse
at 217/782-7498 for assistance.
All public meetings conducted by the Department of
Natural Resources will be accessible to handicapped
individuals in compliance with Executive Order No. 5 and
pertinent state and federal laws, upon notification of the
anticipated attendance. Handicapped persons planning
to attend and needing special accommodations should
inform the Department of Natural Resources at least five
days prior to the meeting by telephoning or writing the
Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Department of
Natural Resources, One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone (217) 785-0067.
Department of Natural Resources information is avail-able
to the hearing impaired by calling DNR’s Telecom-munications
Device for the Deaf (217) 782-9175.
The mission of the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources is to manage, protect and sustain Illinois’
natural and cultural resources; provide resource-com-patible
recreational opportunities; and promote natural
resource-related public safety, education, and science.
Printed by the authority of
the State of Illinois
Illinois Department of
Printed on recycled and
recyclable paper with soy-based ink.
Where are we going
August 2011 OutdoorIllinois
On the cover
The 2011 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design
contest winner is Illinois’ own Abraham
Hunter. The then 17-year-old Vienna resident
received recognition as the nation’s best entry
with a pair of ring-neck ducks he titled “Rest-ing
The Calumet Area celebrates its youth’s dedication to conservation
through hands-on action projects.
4The Top Duck
Abraham Hunter won the 2011 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design
contest. What’s next for this southern Illinois teen?
With teal populations at or near record numbers, biologists predict a
flood of opportunity for Illinois hunters in 2011.
8Chicago’s Newest Prairie
More than 100 years after Daniel Burnham created Chicago’s nature-filled
landscape, the Burnham Centennial Prairie is getting wild.
11 Blood-sucking Fish
Call them underwater vampires. The seldom-seen parasitic lamprey
makes its living feeding on body fluids of its host.
12 Trailer Tags
State-of-the-art technologies provide quick and efficient means of tracking
hundreds of thousands of Great Lakes fish.
14 American Arboretum
Stroll through Conservation World with George Washington, Abraham
Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Johnny Appleseed, Betsy Ross…and Elvis Presley.
17 The Fall of Fungi
The diversity of mushrooms in Illinois peaks in early autumn. Meet some
of the weird, wild and wonderful fungi popping up right now.
How Are We Doing?
Your input is important to us. Please
take a moment and visit www.illinois.
gov/OI to evaluate this issue of
OutdoorIllinois and provide suggestions
for future stories.
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