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Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant

The 2025 applications will be available Spring 2024.

Application deadline is 11:59:59 p.m., November 30, 2024. Teachers, nature-center personnel and adults who are youth-group leaders (grades prekindergarten through 12) in Illinois may apply.

Generous donations from the Jadel Youth Fund, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and others make this program possible.

Below is a recording of a Webex tutorial presented by
the IDNR Division of Education on November 21, 2023.

Purpose

Projects must emphasize student/youth involvement with planning, development and maintenance and increase the educational and wildlife habitat values of the site. The applicant must be prepared to maintain and commit resources to the project for at least five years. The project must be implemented on school grounds or another public place (for example, a park or nature center/forest preserve district land). Illinois Conservation Foundation sites and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites do not qualify for funding. Admission fees cannot be charged to obtain access to the site. Individual student projects will not be funded.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation judging criteria will include but not limited to: detailed information; student involvement; educational value; and the habitat project management plan.

Application Options

Option One

Option One of this grant may only be used to establish a pollinator garden. It must be developed following the criteria stated in the instructions for this application form. This option is helpful if you are new to native gardening. Click here for additional Option One information. Individual student projects will not be funded.

Option Two

Option Two is for all other projects. Habitat projects may include, but not be limited to, the following activities: enhance or establish and maintain a schoolyard prairie plot, butterfly garden, rain garden, wetland, native tree arboretum, nesting platform or watering station; design and build a bird feeder or feeding station; or construct and install bat roosting boxes. Vegetable gardens are not eligible for this grant. Individual student projects will not be funded.

Funding and Payment

New this year, the maximum annual award is $2,000.00 per project. Funds are provided on a reimbursement basis. Only purchases approved by the grant committee from the original application will be reimbursed. Purchases occurring before the notification of the grant award winners for this application period do not qualify for funding. Only the school or organization will be reimbursed. Reimbursements are not made to individuals. Original paid receipts for purchases must be submitted. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for additional funding in subsequent years. Generous donations from the Jadel Youth Fund, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and others help make this program possible.

Eligible Costs

Option One

Funding requests for Option One grants may only include the following items: plants (not seeds) of the 14 native plant species shown in this application form; and mulch, topsoil or related soil product. No other items will be considered for purchase through this option.Items purchased prior to the notification of the grant award winners from this Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant application deadline do not qualify for funding.

New this year, this grant will pay for the purchase of simple gardening tools such as child- and adult-sized gloves, spades, shovels, rakes, trowels and hoes. Tool costs shall not account for more than 25% of the total project cost.

Option Two

Funding requests should focus on items necessary for enhancement or development of wildlife habitat, such as native plants, seeds, mulch and lumber/hardware for constructing nesting/roosting boxes and platforms. Items purchased prior to the notification of the grant award winners from this Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant application deadline do not qualify for funding.

New this year, this grant will pay for the purchase of simple gardening tools such as child- and adult-sized gloves, spades, shovels, rakes, trowels and hoes. Tool costs shall not account for more than 25% of the total project cost.

Ineligible Costs

Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to: consultant fees, bird seed, bird baths, fuel, equipment, equipment rental, signs, labor, books, Web site development, land acquisition, chemicals (fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides), certification fees, decorative items.

Other Information

Reporting Requirements

A Final Report and attachments are required. Instructions will be provided to grant award recipients.

Publicity

Successful grant recipients are required to acknowledge the funding sources in any project publicity or printed materials produced. Details will be provided in the award letter.

Not Transferrable

If a grant award is made, it will be awarded to the Project Leader. This award is not transferable to another person, school/organization or grade level.

Use of Chemicals

According to the Illinois Pesticide Act, a pesticide license is required of anyone applying pesticides in a public space (minimum age to receive a license is 16 years). If you are considering applying any type of pesticide (herbicide, insecticide, fungicide) to your habitat area, please contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 1-800-641-3934 for further information.

Application

The 2025 applications will be available Spring 2024.