Biodiversity field trip grant funds awarded to schools

Schools in Union Countty are reported to be sharing in $107,000 in biodiversity field trip grants.

Awarding of the grants was announced Thursday, April 5, by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, IDNR, and the governor’s office in Springfield.

State officials said the funding will make it possible for 9,800 students from 35 counties to visit areas of the state where they can learn about nature and conservation this summer.

The grants, coordinated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation, ICF, will pay for 148 field trips in 2018. 

The following grants were reported to have been awarded to Union County schools:

Jonesboro Elementary School District No. 43, Jonesboro. Grade: 8. Destination: Illinois State Museum, Springfield. Grant Award: $1,280.

Jonesboro Grade School, Jonesboro. Grade: kindergarten. Destination: Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Marion. Grant Award: $331.43.

Shawnee High School, Wolf Lake. Grades: 9-12. Destination: Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Makanda. Grant Award: $3,000.

The grant funds come from private donations by Independence Tube Corporation of Bedford Park, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation of Skokie and the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation of Wilmington.

“These grants offer Illinois students more opportunities to learn about the wealth of species and habitats in our state,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a news release which announced the awarding of the grants. 

“Field trips are an important educational tool that equip our young people with knowledge about conserving and protecting biodiversity in Illinois.”

“We are pleased to be able to support learning outside the classroom with these grants. This program allows students to visit locations throughout the state to see firsthand what they’ve been learning about in the classroom,” IDNR director Wayne Rosenthal said. 

“Our future conservation leaders need the opportunity to experience Illinois’ natural resources in-person.”

The Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program reached two milestones with the 2018 grant-distribution period. 

More than $1,101,000 has now been distributed through the program, and more than 103,000 students have been provided with the opportunity to take part in a field trip since the program’s inception in 2001. 

Grant recipients are located throughout Illinois and represent students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

The competitive grant program allows Illinois teachers to apply for funds to take students on field trips to study Illinois’ biodiversity. 

Learning activities must directly relate to the school’s curriculum. 

The annual application deadline is Jan. 31. Funding administered by the ICF covers expenses such as the costs of transportation and substitute teachers.

“This program is a great example of a private-public partnership,” ICF executive director Eric Schenck said. 

“Thanks to the generous support of our donors, hundreds of schools and thousands of students have an opportunity to go on a nature-based field trip.”

Information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program is available by contacting the IDNR Division of Education at or 217-524-4126. 

The Illinois Conservation Foundation accepts donations for the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program. Information is available online at

The 2019 application form is available at 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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