Outdoor Classroom Projects Win Funding
|Kindergartners at the William C. Longstreth Elementary School in Philadelphia mix soil to start plants destined for a new butterfly garden at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. A Nature of Learning grant helped fund the Friends project|
Fifteen projects that promote the use of national wildlife refuges as outdoor classrooms will receive funding in 2011 from the Nature of Learning program, a federal-private consortium co-sponsored by the National Wildlife Refuge System. Winners will share about $130,000 in grants from the program, open to schools and nonprofit groups.
Among this year's grant winners are:
- Chula Vista Nature Center Foundation, for a plan to enhance K-6 climate change education at Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge in California;
- Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District in Minnesota, for its plan to develop a wetland and grassland ecological laboratory at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota; and
- Friends of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, in Pennsylvania, for its plan to develop a kindergarten pollinator interpretive garden.
Along with the Refuge System, co-sponsors of the Nature of Learning program include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Conservation Training Center and National Wildlife Refuge Association.
Under the grant program, new projects are eligible for start-up grants of up to $10,000. Existing programs can apply for follow-up grants of up to $5,000 a year.