Centralia Junior High Selected for Biodiversity Field Trip Grant from IL Dept. of Natural Resources

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that one of the schools in his district, Centralia Junior High School (grades 5-8), applied and was granted a biodiversity field trip grant for $1,765.42 in 2018. This privately funded program will assist more than 9,800 students from 35 counties around the state in learning about Illinois’ natural heritage.

“I am pleased to know that students from Centralia Junior High will get a chance to visit Touch of Nature Environmental Center in the Shawnee National Forest to learn about nature and conservation,” commented Rep. John Cavaletto, a member of the Environment Committee. “I was fortunate to spend some summers in that area in high school and college and have very fond memories,” Cavaletto added.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced $107,000 in Biodiversity Field Trip Grants for this year to be coordinated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF). The grants will pay for 148 field trips in 2018 and offer Illinois students more opportunities to learn about the wealth of species and habitats in our state.

"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 United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected that through the next few years there will be increasing job growth in environmental occupations and renewable natural resources. Field trip experiences like these can interest students in potential career paths with high employment opportunities.

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 January 31. Funding administered by the ICF covers expenses such as the costs of transportation and substitute teachers.

For more information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program, contact the IDNR Division of Education at dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov or 217-524-4126. Visit www.ilcf.org for additional information. The 2019 application form is available at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/education/Pages/GrantsIBFTG.aspx.

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