Illinois College competing in Tree Campus Contest

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JACKSONVILLE – Illinois College is competing in a contest that could result in $10,000 grant to plant trees in a local neighborhood, as well as provide educational activities for the Early Years Program.

Six colleges nationwide are competing as finalists in the Tree Campus USA Service Learning Contest. Two colleges will be awarded a $10,000 prize to benefit their communities. Illinois College plans to use the money to plant trees in the Vas Homes neighborhood of Jacksonville and put the remaining funds toward the Early Years Program.

The college is leading the project, partnering with Vas Homes neighborhood residents, Morgan County Housing Authority, Starhill Forest Arboretum, the City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville District 117 Early Years Program.

They will plant the trees throughout the neighborhood, which hosts the Jacksonville School District’s Early Years preschool program.

College students will also provide tree and leaf education lessons and activities for children. They will learn to identify tree species, the benefits of trees to the environment and community and how to care for them.

Illinois College is competing in the small-school category (fewer than 15,000 students) against two other colleges, while the remaining three are in the large-school category (more than 15,000 students). Huntingdon College (Montgomery, Alabama) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (St. Geneva, New York) are competing against Illinois College.

Voting will take place online from November 9 – 13 at It may be done daily. The winners will be announced during the week of November 16.

If awarded, Illinois College students will conduct the project in the spring.

Additional information about the contest and projects are available by contacting Illinois College’s Director of Community Engagement and Service Lori Oldenettel by phone at 217-370-4597 or by email at

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