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October 23, 2009

Applications now Available for Two Educational Grants
Grant Programs Support Natural Resources Stewardship by Youth

SPRINGFIELD-  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) Division of Education and The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) are working together to offer the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant and the Rain Garden Initiative grant programs for 2009. Educators and youth group leaders may apply for up to $600 from the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant and/or up to $500 from the Rain Garden Initiative.

“Today’s youth need opportunities to become involved in the natural world,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “These two grant programs can actively engage students in outdoor educational activities that benefit wildlife and our environment.”

The Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant has been available since 1995 and has provided more than $92,000 in funds. The Jadel Youth Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation are major program sponsors. Butterfly gardens, prairie plots, wetlands, outdoor classrooms, bird nesting boxes and many other projects have been developed by students statewide with the assistance of these funds.

The Rain Garden Initiative began in 2005 through (then) Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn’s office with financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program has recently been transferred to the ICF. Rain gardens utilize native plants to help control storm water runoff, increase wildlife habitat and address flooding concerns. A rain garden is designed to have a depression in the center to collect water.
The instructions and application forms for both programs may be accessed at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/grants.htm, All applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2009. Teachers, youth group leaders and others are encouraged to apply. See the grant applications for details.

The ICF administers both of these grants. The Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program is funded by private donations. Partial funding for the Rain Garden Initiative is provided through a Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 
For more information, contact Dick Little of the ICF at 217/557-0500 or dick.little@illinois.gov or Valerie Keener of the IDNR at Valerie.keener@illinois.gov or 217-785-0973.



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