High School Students Work with Sen. Barickman and Rep. Bennett to Create Conservation Task Force

A group of Pontiac high school students have bene working with their local lawmakers to protect the state’s natural resources.

“These students are making a difference by working to pass new laws and create the changes they want to see,” said State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington. “It’s great to have a part in seeing their ideas through to fruition.”

House Bill 3928 creates the Thirty-by-Thirty Conservation Task Force, a panel made up of members of various state agencies and bodies, as well as stake holders from multiple backgrounds. The task force would hold hearings with the goal of developing plans for how Illinois could protect 30% of its land and water resources by 2030.

The legislation, filed by State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) in the House and sponsored by Barickman in the Senate, was the initiative of students at Pontiac Township High School and their teacher, Paul Ritter.

The students brought their idea to the lawmakers, and have since worked to help them advance the plan, including testifying via Zoom in a legislative committee.

“This initiative has made us realize how much opportunity exists for change and the need to include younger generations. We have learned that by working together with legislators, government officials, farmers, environmentalists, and everyone in between, we can make a positive change in a major way. We are proud and grateful to be a part of this legislation and we look forward to working with everyone on the committee,” said Pontiac Township High School Students Keagan Hall and Emilie Collins.

“I can’t say thank you enough to Senator Barickman and Representative Bennett for being amazing champions of our students and the State of Illinois,” said Paul Ritter. “Students are passionate about our world and they want to be heard. It is a great day when students can work hand in hand with lawmakers, and stakeholders to make change in Illinois and beyond.

The legislation passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and currently awaits the signature of the Governor.




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