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Earth Day in the Parks

 
Thank you so much for planning this event! The students loved it and we are looking
forward to hopefully attending next year. Several of our students and staff members
described it as the best field trip ever. I appreciate all of the volunteers and staff that
made this such a positive learning experience for our students. 
Teacher, 2022 event at Starved Rock State Park
 
"I feel like I am really making a difference."
2013 Student participant at Beall Woods State Park
 
"Thank you for giving us this opportunity! Many of the kids had their eyes opened to an
entire ecosystem that they had no idea existed in Illinois. I hope we can do it again next year!"
 Teacher, 2014 event at Cache River State Natural Area
 
"We had such a wonderful time!! The students could not stop
talking about how much fun they had and how great each station was.
We greatly appreciate being a part of Earth Day in the Parks!"
Teacher, 2014 event at IDNR Headquarters
 
View the results of some Earth Day in the Parks projects.
 
the Parks event at IDNR Headquarters in Springfield!
  
The 2022 list of participating state parks is shown below.
Last Update: March 17, 2022.

What is it?
This event, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), provides teachers, youth group leaders and their students the opportunity to perform natural resources stewardship activities at state parks and park district sites. Students will: 1) learn the importance of habitat to wildlife; 2) become shareholders in a natural resources stewardship activity; 3) be encouraged to return to the site for further study of their work and its affect on wildlife; 4) take part in a service learning activity; 5) benefit wildlife directly and the general public indirectly; 6) learn techniques and skills that can be applied in other locations and circumstances; 7) gain health benefits from participating in an outdoor activity; 8) reduce fear of being outdoors; and 9) realize that their actions can make a positive difference in the world. The IDNR and park district sites will allow the use of some land for implementation of the project, provide necessary materials and equipment, prepare the site as needed and maintain the project as necessary.

Who sponsors this event?
Earth Day in the Parks is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Donations to the Illinois Conservation Foundation by the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation provided the funds to support the 2022 Earth Day in the Parks events.

When is it?
Events are held in spring at IDNR state parks and park district sites that have chosen to participate.

Can my class participate?
The IDNR Division of Education accepts applications from teachers who would like for their class to participate in the Illinois state parks portion of the program. Only one application per teacher will be accepted. Do not include more than one teacher's class on the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications for 2023 events will be accepted from January 1, 2023, through February 28, 2023. A winner will be drawn for each participating state park and provided with additional information. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of the projects that students will be working on, parks have grade-level and other restrictions for participants.

What else should I know?

  • Classes will be at the park for approximately two hours.
  • Schools are responsible for their own transportation arrangements and transportation costs.
  • Each class will need to bring one adult per every five students attending the event.
  • Applications will only be accepted from schools registered with the Illinois State Board of Education.
  • Plants, tools and other equipment, materials and instructions will be provided.
  • A school administrator will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the IDNR.

 2022 Participating Sites - Registration is Closed

Coles County - April 21 **Registration Closed**
Fox Ridge State Park, Charleston
planting a pollinator garden
grade 5 or 6

Clark County - April 21 **Registration Closed**
Lincoln Trail State Park, Marshall
planting oak seedlings
any of grades 6-12

De Witt County - April 19 or 21, 2022 **Registration Closed**
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, De Witt
planting pollinator plants
any of grades 3-6

De Witt County - April 20, 2022 **Registration Closed**
Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton
planting pollinator plants
any of grades 3-6

Douglas County - April 19 **Registration Closed**
Walnut Point State Park, Oakland
planting oak seedlings
any of grades 6-12

Grundy County – April 6, 2022 **Registration Closed**
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area, Morris
installing bluebird nesting boxes
grade 5

Jackson County – May 6 **Registration Closed**
Giant City State Park, Makanda
planting a pollinator garden
any of grades 5-8

Johnson County - April 8 **Registration Closed**
Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Visitors’ Center, Cypress
planting native wildflowers and grasses in a prairie
any of grades 5-12

Johnson County - April 14 **Registration Closed**
Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Visitors’ Center, Cypress
remove invasive, nonnative plants
any of grades 3-12

Johnson County - April 22 **Registration Closed**
Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Visitors’ Center, Cypress
remove invasive, nonnative plants
any of grades 3-12

La Salle County - April 21 **Registration Closed**
Starved Rock State Park, Utica
planting a pollinator garden and installing bluebird nesting boxes
any of grades 3-5

Lawrence County – April 18, 2022 **Registration Closed**
Red Hills State Park, Sumner
plant a pollinator garden
grades 7 or 8 

Sangamon County - any day from April 18-22 **Registration Closed**
Sangchris Lake State Park, Rochester
planting a pollinator garden
any of grades 5-12

Tazewell County - May 6 **Registration Closed**
Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area, Mackinaw
planting native trees
any of grades 3-6

Vermilion County - April **Registration Closed**
Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Oakwood
remove invasive, nonnative plants
any of grades K-12

 2022 Participating Park District Locations

In 2022, park districts in the state were invited to apply for a grant to participate in Earth Day in the Parks. A donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation by the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation made these grants possible. Listed below are the winners.

Community Park District of La Grange Park, La Grange Park
Des Plaines Park District, Des Plaines
Glenview Park District, Glenview
Kewanee Park District, Kewanee
Naperville Park District, Naperville
North Berwyn Park District, Berwyn
Oak Brook Park District, Oak Brook
Park District of Franklin Park, Franklin Park
Rolling Meadows Park District, Rolling Meadows
Woodridge Park District, Woodridge
Zion Park District, Zion