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MATTOON -- The Coles County SWCD Foundation is now accepting applications for its annual scholarship program.

According to a press release, the program provides merit-based financial assistance to one or more students who are residents or former residents of Coles County and are seniors in high school or currently enrolled full-time in a college, university or vocational school studying a field related to conservation of natural resources.

The deadline to apply is March 18. Application packets and more details about the scholarship can be picked up at the Coles County SWCD office or downloaded at

A chili supper fundraiser supporting the annual scholarship program will be held at 5 p.m. tonight (Saturday) at the Mattoon American Legion, 1903 Maple Ave. Chili will be served from 5-7 p.m., followed by live entertainment from the Sawyer Brothers Band until 9 p.m. During dinner there will be a brief ceremony honoring the recipients of 2018 scholarships (Sheridan Noll, Joseph Perez, and Rebecca Royer), the winner of the 2018 conservation photo contest (Emma Edwards, Sandra Cooper), and the recently announced recipient of the 2018 Conservationist of the Year Award (Grand Prairie Friends).

In addition to the award ceremony and musical entertainment, there will be a silent auction featuring donations from local businesses. A “winner’s choice” gun package raffle featuring a “hunter’s package,” a “home defense” package, or a $1,000 cash option will be drawn at 8 p.m. You do not need to be present to win. The event is open to the public.

Tickets for the chili supper and the gun raffle may be purchased in advance at the Coles County SWCD office, 6021 Development Drive, Charleston. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

Call 217-345-3901, ext. 3, for more information.

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