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Biodiversity field trips give students hands-on experiences       Send a link to a friend

[JAN.  7, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Students from 14 Illinois schools will be able to study the state's biodiversity while on field trips to state parks, museums and other natural resources sites as recipients of grants from the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The grants announced Wednesday are in addition to 17 others awarded to schools in November.

"This generous contribution from the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation allows students in 32 Illinois schools to get hands-on experience outside the classroom," said Joel Brunsvold, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. "The additional $9,293 brings to more than $17,000 the total in grants for this important education program during the fall application period."

The Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program, which began in 2001, allows Illinois teachers to apply for grants to take students to the outdoors to study some aspect of Illinois' biodiversity. The learning activities must be related to the Illinois Learning Standards of the Illinois State Board of Education. Two application periods are available each year, with the fall deadline being Oct. 15 and the spring deadline Feb. 15. Funding is administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation and covers expenses such as transportation and substitute teachers.

"We were able to fund 31 of the 49 applications received for the fall grant period," said Jeff Vose, administrator of the Division of Education of the Department of Natural Resources. "These schools are located throughout Illinois and represent students from first grade through high school. We greatly appreciate the continued sponsorship of this popular program by both the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie and the Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago."

Forms for the Feb. 15, 2005, field trip grant application deadline are available. They can be downloaded at
or requested by phone, (217) 524-4126, or by e-mail:

For more information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program, contact Jeff Vose at or (217) 524-9505.

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Fall 2004 grants, second award period

Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park, Cook County. Grades 11-12. Students will visit Volo Bog State Park in an introduction to the biodiversity and habitat composition of bogs. Grant award: $928.

Lake Louise School, Palatine, Cook County. Grade 4. Students will go to Spring Valley Nature Center to become familiar with the history and preservation of prairies. Grant award: $296.

Community High School, West Chicago, Du Page County. Grades 9-12. Students will travel to Tri-County State Park to observe prairie management and restoration activities. Grant award: $287.

Hadley Junior High, Glen Ellyn, Du Page County. Grade 7. Students will visit Morton Arboretum to study relationships and interactions within an ecosystem. Grant award: $1,271.

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Vandalia Elementary School, Vandalia, Fayette County. Grade 4. Students will learn about the habitats and adaptations of native birds while on a visit to the Ballard Nature Center in Altamont. Grant award: $630.

Unity Point School, Carbondale, Jackson County. Grade 6. At the Cache River State Natural Area and Shawnee National Forest, students will study macroinvertebrates to help in understanding the value of wetlands. Grant award: $1,150.

Dundee Crown High School, Carpentersville, Kane County. Grades 9-12. Students will tour Brookfield Zoo to learn about career opportunities and the role of the zoo in education and conservation. Grant award: $896.

St. Mary School of Buffalo Grove, Buffalo Grove, Lake County. Grade 7. At the Lake County Forest Preserve, students will prepare and analyze soil and water samples to learn about the water cycle. Grant award: $500.

Harristown Elementary School, Harristown, Macon County. Grades 2-3. Students will visit Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria to learn about the habitats and adaptations of native wildlife. Grant award: $980.

Zion Lutheran School, Staunton, Macoupin County. Grades 5-8. Students will travel to Waterloo to develop an awareness of groundwater and topography. Grant award: $415.

Zion Lutheran School, Staunton, Macoupin County. Grade 1. Students will visit Cahokia Mounds to observe the natural environment and changes that occur in it. Grant award: $235.

Collinsville Middle School, Collinsville, Madison County. Grade 7. Students will travel to Silver Lake to observe a lake ecosystem and how it changes. Grant award $690.

Columbus School, Edwardsville, Madison County. Grade 3. On a field trip to the Watershed Nature Center, students will receive an introduction to wetlands and the plant and animal adaptations suited for survival in this habitat. Grant award: $665.

Oak Grove East, Bartonville, Peoria County. Grade 1. Students will tour Dickson Mounds Museum and the Emiquon Trail to learn how native Illinois cultures used natural resources. Grant award: $350.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]

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