GURNEE, Ill. – To encourage environmental education in schools, state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, is highlighting the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant. The program was created to teach students about the importance of wildlife preservation by awarding funds to schools that create gardens using native Illinois plants.

“Many insects rely on specific plant species for food and shelter, and we as humans rely on many of these bugs to help us pollinate our crops,” Mason said. “So in addition to the importance of protecting plants for the sake of biodiversity and research, it’s also critical to preserve them for the success of our agriculture industry.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as much as one-third of all food is produced using natural insect pollination. The department also reports that many pollinating insects are in danger of becoming extinct due to habitat loss.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will award Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants as reimbursements for the cost of creating a garden of native Illinois plants. The maximum amount for an individual grant is $1,000. Additional funds may be made available to applicants who pledge to match expenditures beyond $1,000. Applications for the 2021 iteration of the program will be available soon. For more information, please visit

It is vital that we’re doing all we can to protect native plants and the insects that depend on them for survival, and this grant opportunity is a great way to teach that to children from a young age,” Mason said. “And as the pandemic continues to make many indoor activities challenging, there is no better time to start planning a sustainable, environmentally-friendly outdoor garden for the spring.”  

Rep. Joyce MasonRep. Joyce Mason

61st District

Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website

Springfield Office:
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8151
District Office:
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 485-9986