SPRINGFIELD – Seventeen Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants totaling more than $55,200 have been awarded for habitat development at schools and other public places, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) announced today.

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“The Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program provides children and educators with an opportunity to increase the use of native plants in Illinois landscapes while benefitting wildlife species,” said IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie. “By participating in these projects, students learn that their efforts can make a positive difference in the world, and they gain experience in problem-based learning by planning, developing, and maintaining a native habitat.”

The Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program supports the development or enhancement of wildlife habitat on school grounds or other public places. Funding is provided through donations to the ICF. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation are the major sponsors for this program.

Nearly $400,000 in Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant funding has been distributed since the program’s inception.

“We want school children to learn about nature through hands-on experiences,” Finnie said. “Our goal is to have Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program projects developed in every county of the state and eventually at every school. So far, we have supported projects in 87 of Illinois’ counties.”

Applications will be accepted soon for the next round of Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action grants, with an application deadline of Nov. 30, 2024. Go online to access the application and related information or email dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov.

The latest Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants awarded are:

Cass County

  • A-C Central High School, Ashland, ninth through 12th grades, butterfly garden – $1,920

Champaign County

  • The High School of Saint Thomas More, Champaign, fifth through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $850.32
  • Cunningham Children’s Home, Urbana, sixth through 12th grades, native trees – $1,005

Clinton County

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  • Bartelso School District 57, Bartelso, fifth through eighth grades, pollinator garden – $2,000

Cook County

  • Amundsen High School, Chicago, ninth through 12th grades, butterfly garden – $1,592.80
  • Congress Park Elementary School, Brookfield, sixth grade, standard pollinator garden – $2,000
  • Congress Park Elementary School, Brookfield, third grade, woodland garden – $2,000
  • Jordan Community School, Chicago, second and eighth grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,792.32
  • LaGrange School District 102 Science Center, third through sixth grades, pollinator garden – $1,274
  • Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago, seventh through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $2,000
  • Longfellow PTO, Oak Park, kindergarten through fifth grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,998.07.
  • Loyola Academy, Wilmette, ninth through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $444
  • Oakton Elementary School, Evanston, kindergarten through fifth grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,958.84
  • Park Junior High School, LaGrange Park, seventh and eighth grades, pollinator prairie – $2,000
  • Park Junior High School, LaGrange Park, seventh and eighth grades, wildlife woodland – $2,000
  • Reavis High School, Burbank, ninth through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,952
  • Tildon High School, Chicago, ninth through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,685
  • Washington STEM Elementary, Chicago, kindergarten through eighth grades, standard pollinator garden –$1,998.35

Jackson County

  • DeSoto Grade School, DeSoto, sixth through eighth grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,990

Kane County

  • Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School, Elgin, second grade, standard pollinator garden – $1,998

Lake County

  • Prairie Crossing Charter School, Grayslake, sixth grade, prairie pollinator garden – $2,000
  • Woodland Intermediate School, Gurnee, fourth and fifth grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,965.40

McLean County

  • Eugene School, Normal, 12th grade, pollinator garden – $150

St. Clair County

  • Carriel Junior High, O’Fallon, seventh grade, pollinator plants and native trees – $2,000

Will County

  • Elwood CCSD #203, Elwood, fifth through eighth grades, pollinator garden – $1,841
  • Izaak Walton League, Geneseo, kindergarten through 12th grades, nesting boxes – $2,000
  • Joliet Public Library, Joliet, kindergarten through 12th grades, standard pollinator garden – $1,580
  • Wilco Area Career Center, Romeoville, 11th and 12th grades, butterfly garden – $1,306.55

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