Skip to main content

Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program

Photo courtesy of Jim Johannsen of Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

What is the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program?

The Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program provides grants to Conservation Land Trusts to

  1. Increase stewardship on dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves and registered Land and Water Reserves, and

  2. Increase stewardship capacity within Conservation Land Trusts.

Funding for this grant program is derived from the Illinois Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) and must be used by the Department of Natural Resources for the acquisition, protection, and stewardship of natural areas, including habitats for endangered and threatened species (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Act, 525 ILCS 35/14). The Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program was established to make grants to conservation land trusts for the purpose of promoting stewardship actions on eligible lands. Administrative Rule for this program

Application Deadline: June 16, 2023

Grant Amount: Up to $100,000

Match: 5% or $1000, whichever is less.

Eligible Applicants: Conservation Land Trusts exempt from taxation under Section 501 (c) (3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and include in its purposes the restoration and stewardship of land for conservation purposes.

Application Fees: This program does not require an application fee

Prequalification: ALL applicants must be registered on the State of Illinois Grantee Portal prior to the application deadline date. Click for more information on GATA prequalification​. Award Announcement: Awards are generally announced within 180 days following the application deadline date.

What types of projects are eligible for grants?

All projects must be on eligible lands. This includes Illinois Nature Preserves, dedicated buffers, and Land and Water Reserves. Project sites must have a current and approved management schedule and must be either owned by the applicant or there must be an executed agreement between the Conservation Land Trust and the property owner.

Eligible expenses include

  1. Stewardship Activities

  2. Contractual Services

  3. Purchase or Rental of Necessary Equipment

  4. Staff Time (excluding fringe/benefits)

  5. Indirect Costs


Please save these forms to your computer before opening. If you experience any difficulty with these forms or saving them to your computer, please email your request to

NOTE: Please submit Application Materials through the Amplifund portal.

Training for Grantees

  • Project Narrative - this document is provided as a template for applicant's use in planning.  The Project Narrative must be filled out and submitted on Amplifund. 

Press Releases for Past Grant Awards