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  2. Education

Earth Day in the Parks


Listen to the podcast of this information.
 
"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.
 
Video podcast of the 2015 Earth Day in
the Parks event at IDNR Headquarters in Springfield!
  
The 2020 list of participating state parks is shown below.
This information will be updated frequently so check the list often.
Last Update: November 25, 2019.

What is it?
Earth Day in the Parks is an event to promote stewardship of our natural resources by Illinois school children. During April and May, students and their teachers from throughout Illinois will come to participating Illinois state parks to take part in natural resources stewardship activities such as: planting native trees and wildflowers; building and installing nesting/roosting boxes; removing invasive exotic species; and building brush piles for wildlife. Students will be helping the environment and wildlife, participating in outdoor activities to increase their fitness and learning that their actions can make a difference in the world. Students are encouraged to return to the state park to see and study the results of their work. Some classes may want to perform additional volunteer work at the park.
.
Who sponsors this event?
Earth Day in the Parks is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
 
When is it?
Earth Day in the Parks is held in April and May. Dates vary by location. The table below shows the 2020 event information.
 
Can my class participate?
The IDNR Division of Education accepts applications from teachers who would like for their class to participate in 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 2020 events will be accepted from January 1, 2020, through February 28, 2020. A winner will be drawn for each 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.

 

The 2020 application is available here.

2020 Participating Sites

Clark County - Lincoln Trail State Park in Marshall, Marshall
Date TBD, Planting native prairie plants
Any of grades 6-12
 
Coles County - Fox Ridge State Park, Charleston
April 22, 2020, Plant native milkweeds and other native plants for pollinators
Grade 5
 
Coles County - Walnut Point State Park, Oakland
Date TBD, Planting native prairie plants
Any of grades 6-12
 
De Witt County - Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, De Witt
April 28, 2020, Plant native wildflowers and grasses
Any of grades 2-8
 
De Witt County - Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton
April 28, 2020, Plant native wildflowers and grasses
Any of grades 2-8
 
Fulton County - Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown – Event 1
May 6. 2020, Plant a pollinator garden
Any of grades 4-12
 
Fulton County - Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown – Event 2
May 13, 2020, Plant a pollinator garden
Any of grades 4-12
 
Johnson County - Barkhausen Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress
April 15, 2020, Remove exotic, invasive garlic mustard plants/plant native wildflowers and grasses
Any of grades 4-12
 
Johnson County - Barkhausen Cache River Visitors’ Center, Cypress
April 16, 2020, Remove exotic, invasive garlic mustard plants/plant native wildflowers and grasses
Any of grades 4-12
 
La Salle County - Matthiessen State Park, Utica
April 22, 2020, Install bluebird nesting boxes and plant native wildflowers
Any of grades 3-5
 
McDonough County - Argyle Lake State Park, Colchester – Event 1
April 29, 2020, Remove nonnative plants and plant native plant species in a prairie
Any of grades 9-12
 
McDonough County - Argyle Lake State Park, Colchester – Event 2
April 30, 2020, Remove nonnative plants and plant native plant species in a prairie
Any of grades 9-12
 
McLean County - Moraine View State Recreation Area, Le Roy
May 1, 2020, Planting a native pollinator plant prairie and removing invasive teasel plants
Any of grades 6-8
 
Sangamon County - Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, Springfield
Date TBD, Plant native wildflowers
Grades 7 or 8
 
Vermilion County - Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Oakwood
April 23 or 24, 2020, Remove nonnative invasive plants and plant native prairie plants
Any of grades 4-12
  
The list of participating parks/museums/historic sites will be updated regularly. Check back often!