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September 9, 2015

Ballard Hiking Trail Improvements Made Possible Through Local Grant

(Above) Representatives of the Effingham High School cross country team prepare for their upcoming meet as Steve Wendling presents Karan Greuel with the $3,900 check from CommunityWorks.
(L-R) C.J. Schmidt; Patrick Siner; Shayna Phillips; Joshua McCammon; Karan Greuel, Ballard Nature Center; and Steve Wendling, board member, Effingham County Community Foundation.

Ballard Nature Center, Altamont has received a $3,900 grant from the Effingham County CommunityWorks Endowment for the enhancement of its hiking and programming opportunities.

This project will improve the center’s most popular hiking trail, Bluestem Trail, which is frequently used by joggers and hosts several school cross country meets throughout the year. This 1.4 mile trail regularly becomes impassable due to standing water in seasonal wet weather, but the grant will allow the nature center to cut new ditches and build up the trail’s path in order to improve its accessibility.

Ballard Nature Center will also use a portion of the grant funds to improve its summer camps and increase its family programming opportunities. The center estimates that each year it hosts approximately 3,000 school children and 20 home school families, enrolls 120 children in summer camps, and provides programming to countless families.

The Effingham County Community Foundation CommunityWorks Endowment is one of several funds administered by the Effingham County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. For more information visit or contact Joedy Hightower, President/CEO of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, at 217-342-4988.

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