Getting the next generation involved this Earth Day

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will host more than 1,200 students at state parks throughout Illinois in April and May to celebrate Earth Day. The 4th annual Earth Day in the Parks event series has become an increasingly popular way to get children involved in the outdoors through a variety of conservation stewardship activities.

"What better way to celebrate Earth Day and our natural resources than giving students the opportunity to help the environment through fun and fulfilling activities right in their own backyards," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see the next generation of outdoor stewards engaged in nature."

Sponsored by the IDNR Office of Public Services, Office of Land Management and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF), Earth Day in the Parks offers students the opportunity to get outdoors and work in nature. Their hands-on experiences help students develop a sense of ownership of the natural resources while enhancing wildlife habitat and natural areas protection. Students and teachers are encouraged to return to the park to study the effects of their work.

"With more than 40 events throughout the state, there is definitely something for every student of every age. Our hope is that students will be hooked on the outdoors for life," said Miller. "Their visit during Earth Day in the Parks could be the first introduction in a lifetime of stewardship for many of theseyouth."

School groups were selected to participate at park sites through random drawings from an application process held earlier this year.

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