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Privately Funded Program to Assist Nearly 8,000 Students in Learning about Illinois’ Natural Heritage

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller today announced the awarding of more than $96,000 in Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants. The 103 grants to schools in 41 counties, made possible through private donations, will assist more than 7,700 students to visit Illinois state parks, museums and other natural resources sites to learn about nature and conservation.

“This program allows students to visit locations throughout the state to see first-hand what they’ve been learning about in the classroom,” Miller said. “These grants help facilitate a whole new world for students, who may not otherwise have such an opportunity and they support the goal of leaving no child inside.”

The entire $96,400.54 being awarded for 2014 was made possible by private donations to the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The Independence Tube Corporation of Chicago and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie provided the funds.

The Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program has distributed more than $688,000 and reached more than 68,700 students since its inception in 2001. Grant recipients are located throughout Illinois and represent students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

The grant awards have been made to schools in the counties of Calhoun, Carroll, Champaign, Coles, Cook, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Greene, Grundy, Jackson, Jersey, JoDaviess, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Massac, Mercer, McLean, Peoria, Piatt, Randolph, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Washington,. Will, Williamson, and Winnebago. For a List of this year’s winners or to download an application for next year’s grants log on to the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/grants.htm.

The competitive grant program allows Illinois teachers to apply for funds to take students out of the classroom to learn about Illinois’ biodiversity. Learning activities must directly relate to the school’s curriculum and to the Illinois Learning Standards and Common Core/Next Generation Science Standards from the Illinois State Board of Education. The annual application deadline is January 31. Funding is administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation and covers expenses such as the costs of transportation and substitute teachers.

For more information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program, contact the IDNR Division of Education at dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov or (217) 524-4126. The Illinois Conservation Foundation accepts donations for the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program. Visit http://www.ilcf.org/ for additional information.

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