MATTOON -- The Douglas-Hart Nature Center has received a $500 Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action grant.

The grant was recently announced by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Conservation Foundation following the fall 2017 application period.

β€œThe grant program provides children and educators with an opportunity to develop wildlife habitat and increase the use of native plants in Illinois landscapes,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal in a press release. β€œBy participating in these projects, students learn that their efforts can make a difference in the world, and they gain experience in problem-based learning by planning, developing and maintaining the habitat.”

Douglas-Hart's grant funding will help seventh-graders remove nonnative, invasive plant species from the nature center's grounds. They will then replace these invasive plants with native plants in wetland, savanna, prairie and woodland habitats.

The grant program supports the development or enhancement of wildlife habitat on school grounds or other public places. Funding for the program is provided through donations to the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The Jadel Youth Fund and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation are the major sponsors for the program.

Grant Applications will be accepted soon for the Nov. 30 Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant application deadline. See https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/education/Pages/GrantsSHAG.aspx for the application form and related information, or call 217-524-4126 or email dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov.

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