BELLEVILLE – Illinois American Water is celebrating Earth Day by awarding over $14,000 in Environmental Grants for water source protection. Eight innovative community projects will share over $14,000 to help improve, restore or protect watersheds.
According to Justin Ladner, Illinois American Water President, including the 2022 commitment more than $290,000 will have been contributed to 90 projects dedicated to water source protection and environmental projects since 2009 via Illinois American Water’s Environmental Grant Program. “These organizations play an important role in environmental stewardship in our communities every day, not just Earth Day. By providing critical funding and collaboration, we can further support environmental and sustainable partnerships to enhance our watersheds.”
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Projects supported by Illinois American Water’s Environmental Grant Program will be completed by Nov. 30, 2022. The 2022 Environmental Grant recipients and projects are described below.
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) located in East Alton will receive a $3,150 grant to fund books and kits for a three-day teacher training symposium in July. The program will train up to 30 teachers in three different watershed protection programs. The program will provide teachers valuable standards-based resources to teach about watersheds in their classrooms. NGRREC is partnering with Lewis and Clark Community College, Northern Illinois University, Swarovski Waterschool USA, Project Water Education Today and Critical Interface Network.
HeartLands Conservancy located in Southern Illinois will receive a $2,000 grant for the Watershed Adventures and Discovery Experiences Program (WADE) Phase 2. Funds will be used to purchase trees. The project aims to increase awareness of watershed health issues, increase wildlife awareness and increase engagement and active stewardship of water resources. The project will provide a curriculum-based, outdoor experience coupled with community service and environmental science. HeartLands Conservancy received a 2021 Environmental Grant for Phase 1 of the WADE program.
Hickory Grove Elementary School PTO in Dunlap will receive a $2,500 grant to support the group’s Outdoor Learning Center at Hickory Grove Elementary School. The grant will be used to help build a water feature and expand the current bioswale. The bioswale will include rock, waterfall and local vegetation to attract wildlife. The Outdoor Learning Center will allow students to observe and learn about indigenous animals and insects in their habitats.
Live Well Streator will receive a $2,000 grant for the Marilla Park Water Redevelopment Project. Funds will be used to install a bottle filling station. The new water station will be bi-level and will include a bottle filling station and pet hydration station. Live Well Streator is partnering with City of Streator Engineering Department, Streator Tourism, OSF HealthCare and City of Streator Parks and Open Spaces Board. Live Well Streator will partner with Illinois American Water on educational signage explaining plastic pollution. Live Well Streator received a 2021 Environmental Grant for their Streator Parks Placemaking Project.
Living Lands and Waters will receive $1,000 for disposal costs related to their river clean-up program. Living Lands and Waters will host 15-20 community-based river clean-ups to remove an estimated 30,000 lbs of garbage from the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. They plan to visit the Peoria, Alton, Grafton and St. Louis Metro areas between May and July 2022. Living Lands and Waters is partnering with Anheuser-Busch, Archer Daniels Midland, CAT and the Caterpillar Foundation, Illinois Tool Works, multiple scout groups, school clubs and more.
Nature at the Confluence located in South Beloit will receive a $1,000 grant to purchase an Enviroscape Model to strengthen their watershed-focused educational programming for K-12 students, scouts, adults and families. The Enviroscape is an interactive and portable tabletop educational tool that demonstrates how residential, recreational, agricultural, industrial and transportation areas are possible sources of water pollution in the environment. Nature at the Confluence is partnering with the City of South Beloit and Rock River Trail.
Urbana Park District will receive a full grant request of $920 to support the Weaver Park Wetland Plant Re-establishment project. The Weaver Park Wetland Plant Re-establishment will support effects of ATV damage to the wetland system, restore habitat, increase plant diversity and educate community members on the importance of wetlands. Urbana Park District will partner with East Central Illinois Master Naturalists and Grand Prairie Friends Land Trust. Urbana Park District will partner with Illinois American Water on educational signage. Urbana Park District was also a 2021 Environmental Grant recipient.
Woodridge Rotary Club will receive a $2,300 grant to support the Native Plant Pollination Garden in Woodridge. The group will be planting in a bioswale to safely maximize water runoff. The plants will aid in the collection and removal of pollutants, silt, debris and the prevention of flooding in the park. The group will partner with Illinois American Water on educational signage to explain the need for pollinators.
For more information on Illinois American Water or the Environmental Grant Program please visit www.illinoisamwater.com.
About Illinois American Water – Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE:AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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