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Grants to Illinois PreK-12 Teachers and Educators for Environmental Stewardship Projects

Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Division of Education
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Illinois

Important Dates
Deadline: 11/30/23 11:59:59 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $2,000 to Illinois PreK-12 teachers, youth group leaders, and nature center personnel to engage students in hands-on environmental stewardship activities. Funding is intended for projects that are implemented on school grounds or other public spaces, such as parks, nature centers, and forest preserve district lands.

Projects must emphasize student and 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. 

There are two grant options:

Option One: This option may be used to establish a pollinator garden. This option is helpful for those who are new to native gardening. For additional information, see:

Funding requests for Option One grants may only include the following items: plants (not seeds) of the 14 native plant species shown in the application form; and mulch, topsoil, or related soil product. 

Option Two: This option is for all other projectsHabitat 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.

Funding requests should focus on items necessary for the enhancement or development of wildlife habitat, such as native plants, seeds, mulch, and lumber/hardware for constructing nesting/roosting boxes and platforms. 

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.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Teachers, nature center personnel, and adults who are youth group leaders (grades pre-kindergarten through 12) in Illinois may apply.

Illinois Conservation Foundation sites and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites do not qualify for funding. Individual student projects will not be funded.

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

Pre-Application Information
The application deadline is November 30, 2023, at 11:59 PM.

Funds are provided on a reimbursement basis.

According to the Illinois Pesticide Act, a pesticide license is required of anyone applying pesticides in a public space (the minimum age to receive a license is 16 years).

Option One:

Option 2:

Estimated Size of Grant
The maximum annual award is $2,000 per applicant.

Term of Contract
The project must be completed before November 30, 2023.

Contact Information
Online application (Option 1):

Online application (Option 2):

Direct questions to IDNR Education at 217-524-4126 or email

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.

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