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Thousands of Illinois students to benefit from donation to Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program

Chris Young
Thousands of Illinois students to benefit from donation to Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program
Independence Tube Corporation�s $75,000 gift to Illinois Conservation Foundation largest ever in support of program
SPRINGFIELD, IL � Thanks to the generosity of Chicago-based Independence Tube Corporation, the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Education will be able to provide conservation education opportunities for more than 6,000 students through the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program.  Independence Tube recently made the largest single gift to the program, totaling $75,000.

�With educational resources tighter than ever, grant requests for nature field trips through the program have continued to be at record levels,� said Valerie Keener, chief of the IDNR Division of Education.  �Through the support of friends such as Independence Tube, the ICF is able to provide funding to allow so many students the chance to learn more about our state�s biodiversity.�

Independence Tube Corporation has been a long-time supporter of the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program.  The company has donated more than $450,000 to the program through the ICF since 2003, making Independence Tube a major reason nearly 70,000 students have been inspired through the program.

�We�re happy to support such a great enrichment opportunity,� said Rick Werner, president of Independence Tube Corporation.  �There�s no substitute for the hands-on learning opportunities schoolchildren get from visiting our statewide resources, and those opportunities continue to get harder and harder for schools to provide because of the expense.  We�re glad to play a role in providing lifetime memories for children through this partnership with the ICF and IDNR.�

Originating in 2000, Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program grants are available to teachers and home-schooling educators in Illinois.  The purpose of the field trip must be to study some aspect of Illinois� biodiversity and must support the school curriculum.  The field trip destination must be in Illinois, and past grants have funded trips to state parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, nature centers, and conservation areas.  Lessons have included how trees are turned into lumber, studying beach ecology along Lake Michigan, and searching for fossils at Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area.

Applications for the next round of grants for the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program are due on January 31, 2015.  Educators can find application information and learn more by visiting http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/grants.htm.

The Illinois Conservation Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in 1994.  The Foundation�s mission, working in cooperation with the IDNR and other partners, is to preserve and enhance the natural resources of Illinois by supporting and fostering ecological, educational, and recreational programs for the benefit of all Illinois citizens.  For more information on the ICF, or to arrange individual or corporate support for ICF educational and other programs, contact the Foundation at 217-785-2003 or online at www.ilcf.org.

Photos from Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant program trips:
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