2016 Large Grant Awardees

FAQ Index


Pipes and Precipitation III, Looking Forward: Integrating Water Protection and Utility Studies into District 65

Grantee: Evanston Skokie Community Consolidated School District 65​
Grant Award $54,299.00
Matching Funds $58,208.00
Project Total $112,507.00

Pipes and Precipitation, a current DNR funded project, will continue to offer watershed-relevant immersive education for Great Lakes youth. During this iteration of their program, Pipes and Precipitation will continue to offer place-based learning programs to 3rd and 6th grade classrooms in 17 schools, while building the capacity of the district and community to sustain environmental education beyond the life of the grant. ​

Migration & Me – Lake County

Grantee: Faith in Place
Grant Award $22,018.00
Matching Funds $22,365.95
Project Total $44,383.95

The Migration & Me program, a current DNR funded project, will continue to educate faith communities and recruit and train volunteers to engage in habitat restoration along the Illinois Lake Michigan coast. This grant will also fund the establishment of the Eco-Ambassador summer youth education program.

Engineering Design for Structural Improvements at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

Grantee: Chicago Park District
Grant Award $44,436.78
Matching Fund $44,823.98
Project Total $89,260.76

Chicago Park District (CPD) will hire a qualified contractor to prepare 100% engineering designs for structural improvements at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary including enhancements to ADA-accessible pathways, mulched pathways, fencing, and the installation of a new water feature. In addition, CPD’s Natural Areas Manager will develop habitat enhancement specifications recommended in the 2015 Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary Master Plan to diversify wildlife habitat throughout the site.

Wild Indigo Activating Community Resources for Conservation

Grantee: National Audubon Society, Inc.
Grant Award $59,787.76
Matching Funds $59,916.83
Project Total $119,704.59

The Wild Indigo program introduces residents of Chicago’s South Side and south suburbs to the biodiversity of the Calumet Region and develops community advocacy for the conservation of natural areas. Through culturally resonant activities designed with community partners and hosted by community engagement staff (Wild Indigo Fellows) in local natural areas, the Wild Indigo program facilitates its participants’ reconnection with nature in an urban landscape. Funding will directly support the hiring of a Spanish speaking Wild Indigo Fellow to adapt messaging and programs to the Latino communities around Eggers Woods, Powderhorn Lake, and Kickapoo Woods.

Nature Along the Lake

Grantee: Friends of the Parks
Grant Award $33,321.50​
Matching Funds $38,700.00
Project Total $72,021.50

Friends of the Parks (FOTP) will connect Chicago youth to Lake Michigan, encouraging access and nature-based recreation to the Lake Michigan coast, while giving the next generation of environmental stewards an understanding and love for the natural world. The Nature Along the Lake program provides environmental education with specific skills development and learning goals for 800 Chicago elementary students with science-based field trips to an Illinois Coastal Zone site. Through this initiative, young students are inspired and empowered to develop a love of hands-on scientific experimentation and observation that leads to creative thinking and well-informed choices concerning the environment.

Throop Street Inlet

Grantee: City of Chicago – Department of Planning
Grant Award $60,000.00
Matching Funds $60,008.00
Project Total $120,008.00

The Chicago Department of Planning will develop a plan for a new riverfront park along the Chicago River in the Pilsen Industrial Corridor. The proposed project will develop a plan for the creation of a protected area for public access, interpretation, riparian plantings, and green infrastructure. The proposed park will allow Pilsen residents access to the river and increase public green space and wildlife habitat along the river.

Fishing and Wildlife Education Program

Grantee: Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago
Grant Award $21,588.00
Matching Funds $21,588.00
Project Total $43,176.00

The Fishing and Wildlife Education Program will bring an education and outreach program to Palmisano Park near the South Branch of the Chicago River and will serve 1,000 youth from 12 Chicago neighborhoods and South Suburban towns during summer camp programs. Activities will include fishing (catch & release), bird watching, turtle and frog education, water sampling, and an 8-week educational curriculum inspired by the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ resources.​

Powderhorn Hydrologic Restoration Plan

Grantee: Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Grant Award $45,000.00
Matching Funds $47,968.74
Project Total $92,968.74

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Powderhorn Lake site contains high quality wet-mesic sand prairie, dry-mesic sand prairie, sand savannas, and marshes that are being degraded by impaired hydrology, altered soil chemistry, and invasive plants. Changes in stormwater inputs are also degrading lake and marsh habitat for the state-listed banded killifish. This planning project will study, define, and propose practices to mitigate non-point source pollution to the Powderhorn Lake site.

Great Lakes Action Days: Coastal Education at Work

Grantee: John G. Shedd Aquarium
Grant Award $42,649.42
Matching Funds $42649.42
Project Total $85,298.84

Great Lakes Action Days: Coastal Education at Work will foster connections to the urban lakeshore by educating and inspiring diverse audiences throughout Cook and Lake Counties with conservation education through action. Participants from community-based organizations, schools, corporate partnerships, and the general public will engage in beach sweeps and ecological monitoring at sites along Chicagoland’s shoreline.

Chicago River Schools Network

Grantee: Friends of the Chicago River
Grant Award $30,744.00
Matching Funds $65,182.00
Project Total $95,926.00

Chicago River Schools Network works in partnership with K-12 teachers to introduce young people to the turbulent history, evolving ecology, and improving health of the Chicago River. Friends of the Chicago River education staff provides one-on-one support for teachers, sharing techniques and strategies to engage students in local environmental issues and activities that solve everyday problems that the river faces.

Center for Conservation Leadership: Lake Michigan Coastal Zone Stewardship and Outreach Program

Grantee: Lake Forest Open Lands Association
Grant Award $51,486.58
Matching Funds $80,836.80
Project Total $132,323.38

The Center for Conservation Leadership will train and empower future conservation leaders through the Lake Michigan Coastal Zone Stewardship and Outreach Program. This outreach program will teach students environmental literacy through scientific instruction, leadership training, and hands-on activities, preparing students to become stewards of the Lake Michigan watershed and undertake meaningful conservation-based projects in their communities.

Recruiting Heroes in the Illinois Coastal Zone

Grantee: Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Grant Award $37,675.00
Matching Funds $37,696.00
Project Total $75,371.00

The University of Illinois will provide targeted invasive species outreach to recreationists and organisms-in-trade hobbyists throughout the Illinois Coastal Area. Efforts will include establishment of aquatic invasive species Removal Zones and detailed signage at harbors, in person outreach to recreationists, and signage targeting multi-ecosystem recreationists in natural areas.

Bluff Land Restoration Plan

Grantee: Winnetka Park District
Grant Award $60,000.00
Matching Funds $60,000.00
Project Total $120,000.00​

Winnetka Park District will undertake a comprehensive planning process to develop a Bluff Restoration Plan for five lakefront properties in Winnetka. The Bluff Restoration Plan will reconnect the table top lands and beaches and address stability issues, invasive species, and lack of native landscape at all five properties.

Out & About Uptown: Increasing Access and Understanding of Uptown’s Coastal Zone

Grantee: Institute of Cultural Affairs
Grant Award $30,575.00
Matching Funds $30,575.00
Project Total $61,150.00

The Institute of Cultural Affairs will raise public awareness of Uptown’s public lakefront and parks, educate residents on ecological and environmental relevance of the area through a multidisciplinary lens, and provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with these local resources.

Designs for Change: The Power of Green Infrastructure in the Calumet Coastal Communities

Grantee: OAI, Inc.
Grant Award $61,709.00
Matching Funds $61,875.00
Project Total $123,584.00

OAI, Inc. will expose students to the water quality benefits of green infrastructure and why such improvements are important for them and their communities. Classroom and field activities will teach students the real-world value of green infrastructure, landscape analysis and site assessment skills, implementation and planning steps to creating rain gardens, and design and construction of a sign that identifies and interprets the rain garden and its value.

2016 Sustainable Public Access Plan

Grantee: City of Waukegan
Grant Award $13,300.00
Matching Funds $6,700.00
Project Total $20,000.00

The City of Waukegan will create a comprehensive Sustainable Public Access Plan to address a fundamental need in Waukegan for safe access to the recreational beach without disturbing any of the endangered species and surrounding sensitive dune habitat. The plan will also promote coastal economic development along the Waukegan Shoreline by enhancing the attractiveness of Waukegan’s lakefront landscape and by improving public access to the beach.