Menus Calendar

Students develop natural habitats

Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 10, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Wildlife gardens, prairie plots, butterfly gardens and bird habitats will be emerging at 18 schools and nature centers throughout Illinois next spring, thanks to the Illinois Conservation Foundation and the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program.

"Schoolyard Habitat Action grants provide funding that enables young people to study nature through the hands-on creation of animal habitats," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold, who chairs the Illinois Conservation Foundation board of directors. "Student-based projects such as these not only enhance education but create lasting environmental benefits."

Along with a grant of up to $600, those awarded grants can receive related classroom materials and a schoolyard habitat sign to post at the habitat site. Technical assistance from Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists is available.

Funding for the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program is made possible by a donation from the Jadel Family Foundation. The program is administered through the Illinois Conservation Foundation, a not-for profit organization established to enhance the programs of Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The foundation plays a significant role in raising funds for many worthwhile causes, including the planting of millions of trees, restoration of species such as the river otter and mud turtle, and support of youth outdoor recreation programs.

"The Jadel family has been very generous and supportive of this program," said Jeff Vose, Division of Education administrator for the Department of Natural Resources. "Their generosity and enthusiasm have spurred other conservation-minded businesses and individuals to donate to the foundation and help bring these outdoor classrooms to even more Illinois children."

Businesses, corporations and other contributors wishing to help fund the grant program in the future can contact the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Education, at (217) 524-4126 or the Illinois Conservation Foundation at (217) 785-2003.

To receive a copy of the new 2005 Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant application, call (217) 524-4126 or e-mail Information is also available online at Click on the "Education" link on the home page.

The following is a list of the 2004 Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant recipients:

Henry County
Galva Community School District 224, Galva
Project: To create habitat for birds, bats and butterflies in the district's existing sensory garden and prairie plot. Award: $300.

Kendall County
Yorkville Grade School, Yorkville
Project: To construct bird feeders and develop and maintain a natural bird habitat. The habitat will include native plant species. Award: $362.73.

LaSalle County
Circuit Breaker School, Seneca
Project: To create a butterfly habitat where students can observe the interaction of plants and animals and preserve the function of butterflies in pollination of plants in general. Award: $400.

Logan County
Lincoln Community School District, Lincoln
Project: Students in the Lincoln Community High School landscaping class will draft landscape plans and construct a prairie garden containing native Illinois plants at New Holland-Middletown Grade School. Students will study and identify plants and learn about plant care. The area will be used to perform and research environmental science projects. Award: $200.

Mason County
New Central Elementary School, Havana
Project: Students will collect, stratify and start native seeds, which will be transplanted to establish a Prairie School Habitat. Award: $600.

McDonough County
Lakeview Nature Center, Macomb
Project: To build a bird feeding and observation station that will include native species of wildflowers, grass, shrubs and trees for wildlife. Award: $600.

[to top of second column in this article]

McDonough County
Bushnell-Prairie City Community Unit School District 170, Bushnell
Project: Students in grades 8-12 will add trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers native to Illinois in the existing outdoor classroom area. Award: $500.

McLean County
Life Crossing Academy, Bloomington
Project: Students of grades 2-12 and teachers will create a prairie plot using native Illinois plants. This plot will be shared with the community to enhance awareness of prairie plants. Award: $291.00

McLean County
Timber Point Outdoor Center, Hudson
Project: To provide an accessible ornithological trail to children and adults who use wheelchairs. Summer 2005 campers will construct and place birdhouses along the interpretive trail at a height visible to those in wheelchairs. Award: $600.

Menard County
Cantrall Elementary School, Cantrall
Project: To establish a wildlife habitat area that will educate students and the community about the diversity of wildlife, ecological principles, management and conservation. Award: $578.

Moultrie County
Bethany Elementary School, Bethany
Project: To rejuvenate an existing butterfly garden for the purposes of observing the life cycle of a butterfly from egg to adult and providing student opportunities to observe hummingbirds in a natural habitat. Award: $344.75.

Piatt County
Allerton Park, Monticello
Project: To create a bird feeding and viewing area outside the park's visitor center in order to benefit local wildlife and provide a hands-on teaching tool for park visitors. Award: $600.

Randolph County
Sparta Community Unit School District 140, Sparta
Project: To provide cross-curricular, natural learning opportunities through the development of 2.5 acres between two schools into a nature learning center with environmental learning stations. Students will learn to identify species of grasses, wildlife and trees. Award: $600.

Sangamon County
Washington Middle School, Springfield
Project: To landscape and beautify the grounds near the entrance to the school with a garden of native plants that will attract wildlife. Award: $359.

Washington County
Nashville Community School District 49, Nashville
Project: Junior high students will plant a butterfly garden and construct a weather station for use by K-8 students. Award: $400.

Whiteside County
Whiteside County Soil and Water Conservation District, Morrison
Project: To restore a wildlife garden at Northside School and introduce prairie forbs and grasses to the plot. Award: $200.

Will County
Nelson Prairie Elementary School, New Lenox
Project: To provide an outdoor area which will offer students in first, second and third grades opportunities to observe and study the interdependence of plans and animals. The habitat area will be filled with plants providing either food, water or shelter to native birds, small mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians native to northern Illinois. Award: $364.02.

Winnebago County
Winnebago School District 323, Winnebago
Project: A joint school district and Eagle Scout project to create an Illinois prairie habitat. The site will be used for observations, experiments and journaling. Award: $300.50.

[Illinois Conservation Foundation news release]

Previous articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor