Grants Build and Improve Green Habitat at Hersey High School

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Bill Ridge, of Hersey High School, stands beside a bee box he designed this past spring for migrating pollinators.
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Grants Build and Improve Green Habitat at Hersey High School

John Hersey High School was recently awarded several grants to make its campus greener and enhance its environmentally friendly curriculum.

The Arlington Heights school received a $300 grant from the Cook County Farm Bureau, $500 grant from the Wild Ones Illinois Prairie Chapter and $1,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The funds have been used for planting prairie grass in the basin behind the school's tennis courts and building a pollination station to attract bees and pollinators to improve the school's prairie habitat.

These areas are easily accessible to students, meaning they can use the spaces as an outdoor classroom to work and learn about the environment.

Through a partnership with the Chicago Zoological Society and Brookfield Zoo, the campus has been designated as a pollination station corridor to help combat the decline of bees and other pollinators and improve the habitat.

This spring, Hersey senior Bill Ridge designed and built a bee box made of weather treated plywood for migrating pollinators that primarily travel from the Chicago region to St. Louis. His design incorporates the school's initials and colors.

In addition, Hersey teacher Richard Mortensen received a $1,900 Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant to develop a school garden where Career Life Skills students can learn environmental science, job skills, and connect to Career Pathway curriculums. The students plan to contribute their produce to the school's cafeteria.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also awarded a $900 Illinois biodiversity field trip grant to Hersey to fund trips to the Otter Creek Bend Wetland Park and Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, both in St. Charles, so environmental students have the opportunity to conduct field research with specific attention to native Illinois plants and animals. 

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