'Earth Day in the Parks' promotes natural resources stewardship for students

Seventh annual event will be held across the state on several dates in April and May 

SPRINGFIELD – More than 1,000 students will visit Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) state parks in April and May for the seventh annual Earth Day in the Parks event series. Earth Day in the Parks is an initiative of the IDNR to introduce students to environmental stewardship. 

“Students participating in Earth Day in the Parks will have an opportunity to perform meaningful natural resources stewardship activities, including planting native wildflowers and grasses, building bird feeding stations and removing invasive, exotic plant species,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. 

Sponsored by the IDNR Office of Strategic Services and Office of Land Management, Earth Day in the Parks offers students the opportunity to get outdoors and work in nature. Their hands-on experiences will lead them to develop a sense of ownership of the natural resources in our state while also increasing available wildlife habitat. Students and teachers are encouraged to return to the park to study the effects of their work.

“This is more than just a field trip. It’s an investment in a future generation of potential conservationists,” said Director Miller. “We hope these students will continue to visit the parks, not only to witness the success of their projects, but perhaps to volunteer and develop a personal connection to a natural place.”

School groups were selected by random drawings from an application process held earlier this year. Money from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund through tax check-off donations help to support the events being held at state parks through May 1st.