IDNR Resource Loan Program

Hawthorne Hill Nature Center is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) lending location and has FREE field trip packs and trunks available for educators, scouts, and homeschool groups to check out for up to two weeks at a time. If you are interested in checking out IDNR field packs or trunks from Hawthorne Hill Nature Center, please call 847-531-7055, or contact Naturalist Corey Zak at zak_c@cityofelgin.org.

Field packs are backpacks with resources to support learning outdoors. Resource trunks are large plastic containers filled with Illinois-specific, hands-on items to supplement your lessons in science and social science. The trunks are available on 10 topics and are targeted to specific grade levels, but many of the materials can be adapted for use at other grades. The contents include laminated posters, field guides, equipment, lesson plans, student activities, hands-on materials, CD-ROMs and DVDs, books, and other Illinois-specific resources. All contents are correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards and other Common Core Standards. Click on this link (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Documents/TrunkPromoSheet.pdf) to view the different types of resource trunks and field packs as well as their suggested grade levels, or refer to the table below. Watch IDNR video podcast to see descriptions of each trunk/pack.

Field Pack or Trunk Type

Suggested Grades

Field Trip Pack 

PreK – 3 

Illinois’ Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack

K – High School

Aquatic Illinois Trunk

3 – High School

Illinois’ Bird Trunk

3 – Middle School

Illinois’ Fossils Trunk

3 – Middle School

Illinois’ Insects and Spiders Trunk

PreK – Middle School 

Illinois’ Invasive Species Trunk

Middle – High School 

Illinois’ Pollinators Trunk

PreK – Middle School

Illinois’ Prairies Trunk

K – Middle School

Illinois’ State Symbols Trunk

K – Middle School 

Illinois’ Trees Trunk

PreK – 10 

Illinois’ Wild Mammals Trunk

K – Middle School 

People and Animals from Illinois’ Past Trunk

K – Middle School