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Earth Day in the Parks

Thank you so much for planning this event! The students loved it and we are looking forward to attending next year. Several of our students and staff members described it as the best field trip ever. I appreciate all of the volunteers and staff that made this such a positive learning experience for our students. 

Teacher, 2022 event at Starved Rock State Park

"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

View the results of some Earth Day in the Parks projects.

EDITP Information and Application

What is it?

This event, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), provides teachers, youth group leaders and their students the opportunity to perform natural resources stewardship activities at state parks and park district sites. Students will: 1) learn the importance of habitat to wildlife; 2) become shareholders in a natural resources stewardship activity; 3) be encouraged to return to the site for further study of their work and its affect on wildlife; 4) take part in a service learning activity; 5) benefit wildlife directly and the general public indirectly; 6) learn techniques and skills that can be applied in other locations and circumstances; 7) gain health benefits from participating in an outdoor activity; 8) reduce fear of being outdoors; and 9) realize that their actions can make a positive difference in the world. The IDNR and park district sites will allow the use of some land for implementation of the project, provide necessary materials and equipment, prepare the site as needed and maintain the project as necessary.

Who sponsors this event?

Earth Day in the Parks is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Donations to the Illinois Conservation Foundation by the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation provided the funds to support the 2022 Earth Day in the Parks events.

When is it?

Events are held in spring at IDNR state parks and park district sites that have chosen to participate.

Can my class participate?

The IDNR Division of Education accepts applications from teachers who would like for their class to participate in the Illinois state parks portion of 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 2024 events will be accepted from January 2, 2024, through February 28, 2024. A winner will be drawn for each participating state 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.

2024 Application

2024 Participating Sites

Participating sites as of November 6, 2023. Site list will be updated as new sites become available.

County: Clark
Park: Lincoln Trail State Park
Date: April 24, 2024
Project: Plant native plants
Grade(s): TBD

County: Coles
Park: Fox Ridge State Park
Date: April 24, 2024
Project: Plant native plants
Grade(s): 5th grade, 40 students maximum

County: De Witt
Park: Weldon Springs State Park
Date: April 22, 2024
Project: Plant native plants
Grade(s): TBD

County: De Witt
Park: Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
Date: April 23, 2024
Project: Plant native plants
Grade(s): TBD

County: Fayette
Park: Ramsey Lake State Park
Date: April 22, 2024
Project: Landscape around the entrance sign, using mulch and native wildflowers
Grade(s): Any grade, 10 students maximum

County: Jackson
Park: Giant City State Park
Date: May 3, 2024
Project: Plant native plants
Grade(s): 6th - 12th, 25 students amximum