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Illinois Parks & Recreation
May/June 1995 Volume 26, Number 3

Conservation Bits

Campground Hosts and Interpreters Sought for State Parks
Retired individuals, couples or graduate students can earn free camping privileges by volunteering as a campground host at an Illinois state park this summer.

Campground hosts assist campers, answer questions, collect camping fees and encourage compliance with park regulations. They also may be asked to greet visitors, distribute park and Conservation Department literature, report emergencies to the site's permanent staff, and perform minor maintenance tasks such as picking up liner.

Volunteers are also needed to serve as host interpreters to assist park staff with interpretive activities such as nature hikes and craft demonstrations using natural materials. Volunteer host interpreters are expected to have public speaking ability and a knowledge of outdoor recreation skills or natural sciences.

By serving as host interpreters, college students majoring in recreation or park administration may be able to meet school internship requirements.

Applications for campground hosts and host interpreters may be obtained by calling Volunteer Coordinator Jay Johnson at (217) 785-8285 or writing the Department of Conservation, 524 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62701- 1787. Individuals may send their completed application forms either to the Springfield address or to the park where they wish to volunteer. A current listing of host program sites will be provided with the application form.

Applicants for campground host positions must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver's license and agree to work 35 hours per week, usually during a five-day period, for a minimum of four weeks. Weekend and holiday duty is mandatory.

Compensation is $1 per day for the days worked. In addition to the small monetary payment, volunteers will receive on-site training, limited medical and personal insurance coverage, and free camping privileges at their campground during their period of service.

More than 40 sites offer the campground host program statewide, with applications accepted year-round and positions filled as they open.

Fishing Hotline Provides Angler Information
Where can anglers get up-to-date information on fishing conditions statewide? Call 1-800-ASK-FISH (1-800-275-3474), the Department of Conservation's toll-free fishing hotline.

Callers will hear a recorded message, updated weekly, on fishing conditions and prospects statewide. Anglers in northeastern Illinois can get information on 12 area lakes and rivers, updated on Tuesdays and Fridays, by calling (312) 814-2070.

Illinois' 1995 Fishing Information Booklet Available
Since regulations have changed at some state fishing sites, anglers are asked to familiarize themselves with the rules ahead of time to make sure they are in compliance. The Illinois' 1995 Fishing Information booklet, available at Conservation Department offices, bait shops and fishing license vendors, lists all the site-specific regulations that are now in effect. New regulations are shaded in gray to help anglers identify changes.

Affected waters include lakes within Department of Conservation recreation sites and sites owned by other units of government but whose fisheries are managed by the Department.

Acreage Added to Sanctuary
The Department of Conservation recently purchased 60 acres of land to add to the 1, 361 acres at the prairie chicken sanctuary southwest of Newton in Jasper County.

The Department intends to seed the land to provide nest habitat for prairie chickens and other threatened and endangered species. The site hosts the largest wintering breeding population of northern harriers and short-eared owls. A total of 13 endangered and threatened species use the site.

Illinois Parks & Recreation ¦ May/June 1995* 59

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