University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Natural History Survey | University of Illinois Archives

Name: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Natural History Survey

Historical Note:

The Illinois Natural History Survey, established in 1917 and located at the University of Illinois,1 is a division of the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources.2 The Survey conducts studies of insects, plants and animals; acquires and organizes information about the fields of entomology, botany and zoology in the state; identifies needs and makes recommendations for the protection, development and use of biological resources; and supplies information about these resources and their use and management.3 The Survey offers research and analytical services on a grant and contract basis, and performs state-supported research.4 The Survey operates research facilities at Bogota, Dixon Springs, Grafton, Havana, Kinmundy, Lake Shelbyville, Lisle and Ridge Lake.5 Its five scientific sections include Aquatic Biology, Botany and Plant Pathology, Economic Entomology, Faunistic Surveys and Insect Identification, and Wildlife Research. The Administrative Section includes a technical library and a Supporting Services unit. A special Publications and Public Relations section handles information dissemination.6 The Chief of the Natural History Survey reports to a Board of Natural Resources and Conservation, which is responsible for the Survey's activities.7

In 1858, the Natural History Society of Illinois was organized. A state charter, awarded to the Society in 1861, authorized it to establish a natural history museum at the Illinois State Normal University.8 Ten years later, the Society turned over its museum to the state. It was placed under the State Board of Education. When a new natural history museum was established in Springfield in 1877, the Illinois Museum of Natural History at Normal became the State Laboratory of Natural History.9 In 1885, the Laboratory was transferred to Urbana and placed under the authority of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. At the same time, the State Entomologist's Office (established in 1867) was moved to Urbana.10 Both units conducted biological research and interchanged personnel and materials. In 1917, they were combined as the Illinois Natural History Survey, under the Department of Registration and Education.11 In 1978, the Survey became part of the Illinois Institute of Natural Resources which was renamed the Department of Energy and Natural Resources in 1981.12

1. Illinois Natural History Survey, Bulletin, 27, December 1958, pp. 98-9.

2. Illinois, Illinois Blue Book, 1981-1982, p. 364.

3. Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1983, p. 3.

4. Ibid., pp. 3-4.

5. Ibid., pp. 4-5.

6. Ibid., pp. 6-7.

7. Bulletin, p. 99.

8. Illinois Natural History Survey, p. 6.

9. Bulletin, p. 87.

10. Ibid., p. 88, 90.

11. Bulletin, p. 98.

12. Illinois Blue Book, 1981-1982, p. 364.

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