“We look forward to seeing the impact of this event in Illinois and communities around the world,” said Lauren Durham and Claire Nyi, OES legislation co-spokespersons and students at PTHS. “It is an exciting and humbling opportunity to see the students realize the power they possess to make a change in their community and around the world. I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s progress and their new ideas as we continue to work together throughout the school year.” The event was sponsored by Pontiac Township High School, Lemont High School, and the students of Operation Endangered Species. About Operation Endangered Species – OES was created in 2011 under the leadership of Pontiac Township High School Ecology teacher Paul Ritter, English teacher Dr. Michael Soares, and students concerned about protecting, raising, and reintroducing regionally threatened and endangered species. OES is a collaborative effort between students, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Peoria Zoo, communities, city officials, and others to foster the eco-conscious objective of restoring an endangered species to a breeding population in its historical habitat.