Centralia Junior High to Receive IDNR Grant for Students to Visit Touch of Nature Center

Photo credit: Touch of Nature Environmental Center

State Representative Blaine Wilhour reported that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has announced that Centralia Junior High is on the list to receive a grant for $1,755 for students to visit the Touch of Nature Environmental Center in the Shawnee National Forest in Makanda, Illinois.

“These kinds of field trips for young people are good to help them appreciate the outdoors and learn about our natural resources,” said Rep. Blaine Wilhour. “This is an example of how private donations can help with the teaching of our children without growing the size of government or taxing our citizens more.”

More than 6,500 students will visit Illinois state parks, natural areas, museums and other natural resources sites this year to learn about nature and conservation thanks to grant funding through the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program. One hundred field trips at a cost of $88,815.13 are awarded for 2019. The grants were made possible by private donations from the 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. The donations and funding for the grants are coordinated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF). 

The Field Trip Grant Program has now distributed more than $1,190,000 and more than 110,000 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 a field trip 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, contact the IDNR Division of Education at dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov or 217-524-4126. Visit www.ilcf.org for additional information. The 2020 application form will be available soon at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov.

“I encourage other schools and home school groups to apply for these grants that can be a good compliment to what kids learn from books and in the classroom,” added Rep. Wilhour.