spacerspacerIllinois Department of Natural Resources  

March 1, 2010  

IDNR awards Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Students from throughout Illinois will soon be taking a hands-on approach to learning as they develop wildlife habitat areas to support their lessons. Sixteen organizations are receiving a total of $8,000 in funds through the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF). The prairie plots, butterfly gardens, rain gardens and nature classrooms developed will provide the opportunity for biological research as well as increasing available wildlife habitat.

“Students are involved in all aspects of these projects, from design to maintenance,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “They will learn first-hand how their stewardship efforts make a difference for wildlife. By studying the plants and wildlife present, they can supplement existing classroom topics and incorporate new ones. From pre-kindergarten through high school, we want students to take the lessons learned and apply them throughout their lives.”

Funding for the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Program is provided through donations to the ICF. The Jadel Youth Fund and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jadel, Evanston, are the major sponsors for this program. With the grant awards this year, more than $100,000 in Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant funding has been distributed since the program’s inception.

Applications for the grant program are accepted annually and must be postmarked by November 30. Instructions and an application form may be downloaded from the IDNR web site at A maximum award of $600 per successful applicant is available. Teachers, youth group leaders and nonformal educators in Illinois are eligible to apply.

“We want school children to learn about nature through hands-on experiences,” Miller said. “It is our goal to have Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Program projects developed in every county of the state and eventually at every school.”

For more information, call 217-524-4126 or email ( the IDNR Division of Education.

The grant award winners by county for the 2010 distribution period are listed below.

2010 Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Recipients

Cook County

Rosa G. Maddock Elementary School, Burbank. Grades: 1-6. Project: Landscape the school courtyard with native plants to attract butterflies and birds. Grant Award: $527.00/p>

North Park Elementary School, Chicago. Grades: K-8. Project: Plant a native prairie plot. Grant Award: $597.00

Crawford County

New Hebron Christian School, Robinson. Grades: K-8. Project: Develop a rain garden. Grant Award: $280.00

De Kalb County

Northern Illinois University Campus Child Care, De Kalb. Grades: Infant through school-aged children. Project: Install a prairie patch/butterfly garden. Grant Award: $78.00

Douglas County

East Prairie School, Tuscola. Grades: 5-8. Project: Restore the school’s prairie plot. Grant Award: $583.90

Du Page County

Glen Ellyn Park District, Glen Ellyn. Grade: 2. Project: Remove invasive species from a section of Churchill Park and restore with native vegetation. Grant Award: $547.20

O’Neill Middle School, Downers Grove. Grades: 7-8. Project: Develop a courtyard classroom habitat with native plants. Grant Award: $600.00

Jo Daviess County

Scales Mound Community Unit School District 211, Scales Mound. Grades: 5, 9-12. Project: Establish a native prairie plot. Grant Award: $590.00

Lake County

Diamond Lake School, Mundelein. Grades: 2-4. Project: Build and install nesting boxes for birds. Grant Award: $504.22

Holy Cross Early Childhood Ministries, CrossWays Preschool, Celebration! Child Care Center, Mom’s Morning Out, Libertyville. Grades: PreK-8. Project: Create native habitats for birds and butterflies to make a nature classroom. Grant Award: $495.00

Macon County

Wee Folks, Inc. Child Care Center, Decatur. Grades: K-6. Project: Plant a butterfly garden. Grant Award: $478.25

McHenry County

Johnsburg Junior High School, Johnsburg. Grades: 6. Project: Implement a prairie plot. Grant Award: $553.26

Sangamon County

Feitshans Academy, Springfield. Grades: K-5. Project: Plant a literacy garden using native plants. Grant Award: $414.67

St. Clair County

Althoff Catholic High School, Belleville. Grades: 9-12. Project: Develop a prairie plot. Grant Award: $600.00 Belleville East High School, Belleville. Grades: 10-12. Project: Construct a pond and prairie on the school grounds. Grant Award: $592.50

Mascoutah High School Environmental/Science Club, Mascoutah. Grades: 6-12. Project: Provide nesting/roosting boxes for bats and birds. Grant Award: $559.00