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Homestead State Park

In this February 2018 file photo, Friends of the Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park board members Melody Arnold, left, and Margaret Evans show areas where plans were in the works for new landscaping. 

HARRISTOWN — The Friends of Lincoln Trail Homestead and Memorial are seeking the public's help securing a grant that could provide up to $27,000 for efforts to restore the state park's natural habitat. 

The nonprofit organization has been selected to receive a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, which provides $3 for every one new dollar raised by a nonprofit over an 18-month period that doesn't exceed $21,000.

Grantees are also eligible to receive an additional $4,000 if volunteers have logged 400 hours or more in stewardship activities during the 18 months and $2,000 if volunteers have spent a total of 100 hours publicizing stewardship events and public events at their respective project sites.

The Friends plan to use the grant funds to remove invasive vegetation from the Lincoln Trail Homestead park, plant native trees and wildflowers, install interpretive signage and improve wildlife habitation. 

"With this grant, we can restore the natural habitat so that visitors can see the area as (Abraham) Lincoln saw it in 1830," said Melody Arnold, chairman of the Friends group, in a statement. 

The Friends will announce their participation in the grant challenge during the fourth annual Lincoln Trail Homestead Homecoming at the state park, which is located on the Sangamon River near Harristown.

The event begins at 11 a.m. today (Saturday) and also features a potluck. a presentation from Millikin University professor Dan Monroe and music from the 1st Pres String Band.

Due to construction on Old U.S. 36, attendees are asked to enter the park by going west from Decatur on Interstate 72 and turn right at the Niantic exit. 

For more information about the homecoming and on how to help with the grant, contact Arnold at melody2a@hotmail.com or Judy Parrish at jparrish@millikin.edu

5 Questions with ... Steve John, executive director of Agricultural Watershed Institute

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Contact Jaylyn Cook at (217) 421-7980. Follow him on Twitter: @jaylyn_HR

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Government Reporter

Government reporter for the Herald & Review.

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