AEEA Announces 2017 Non-formal ee grant winners
Beaver Watershed Alliance will use funds to help launch their “Native Landscaping Program,” which seeks to establish or increase native vegetation on five public grounds in the Beaver Lake Watershed and increase learning among citizens regarding the vital role that native plants play in our environment.
The message of the program will be to use native plants in the landscape that benefit wildlife habitat, water quality, and natural heritage. The native plantings will be accompanied by presentations to school classes and placement of interpretive signage that will convey the benefits that native plants provide for water quality and a variety of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and insects. Two native plant workshops will also be conducted for adults to help promote the benefits of native plants to the environment. For more information on the Beaver Watershed Alliance, please visithttp://www.beaverwatershedalliance.org/.
Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks will use funds to enhance their “Garden Buds” program, a summer environmental education program for elementary children and their parents on sustainability, nutrition, and gardening. The program aims to encourage children to enjoy the great outdoors while they learn age-appropriate science, sustainable garden practices, and healthy eating habits, while gaining an appreciation for the natural world and a new desire to protect it through garden-based lessons. Students are given the opportunity to grow plants in the garden and return to harvest the food they planted to take home and share with their families. For more information on the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, please visit http://bgozarks.org/
AEEA Offers Mini Grant Opportunities
The Arkansas Environmental Education Association is proud to offer mini grants for up to $500 to its members through the AEEA’s Mini Grant Program. The mini grant program is designed to support, enhance and expand the implementation of environmental education throughout the state of Arkansas.
Eligible Costs and Projects:
Proposals should focus on projects/activities that help to educate students, visitors, or community members about natural resources or the environment. Examples of items eligible for funding include: equipment, books, program materials, displays, guest speakers, field trip expenses, etc.
AEEA members will receive notification by email when the grant cycle opens and proposals are being accepted.
Past Mini Grant Recipients
Spring 2011 AEEA Mini Grant
Liz Smith – Russell D. Jones Elementary, Rogers
Project: Summer Children’s Garden Program
This project is an initiation into environmental education for many of our elementary students. Our summer garden project teaches students how to care for gardens over an extended time, wildlife interactions of insects, mammals and birds that help the garden grow organically, and it also helps students apply math, science and language skills they have learned during the academic year in a real life setting. By enabling students to experience vocabulary, writing, measurement, and scientific observation in the garden we help them understand their direct responsibility to be good guardians of the earth.
The summer garden program will have long term effects by inspiring community gardens in surrounding neighborhoods, welcoming parents and children to our school, and encouraging them to become responsible environmentalists. Many parents come with their children during the summer program to work and learn in the garden. They take produce home with them and learn new gardening techniques while they are here. The garden program has proven to be a worthwhile form of communication between the school and families of our multicultural community. It expands vocabulary, knowledge of environmental awareness and a sense of responsibility to care for our wildlife.
Spring 2010 AEEA Mini Grant
Rebekah Spurlock – Devil’s Den State Park
Project: Birder Backpack
The Birder Backpack is a popular activity for park visitors. It has been checked out over 100 times in the past year. Park visitors have to “sign-up” to check it out and leave a deposit (although no fee is collected). Park visitors are given bird check lists to take with them during their outing. Mostly the birder backpack is checked out by families that would not ordinarily bird. Many times novice birders observe and identify birds around the feeders such as cardinals, robins, gold finches, blue jays, etc.
For many visitors, this is their first birder experience and it gets them excited about birding and makes them more aware of their surroundings. One example to share of a unique experience is when a family checked out the birder backpack and took it to Yellow Rock to try to call in a Scarlet Tanager – and they did! The birder backpack has been a great addition to our educational programs and we look forward to encouraging more birding excursions at the park.
2009 AEEA Mini Grant
Kristi Trotter – Jonesboro Math and Science Magnet School
Project: The Butterfly and Moth Indoor Garden
A successful outdoor classroom led a teacher to have a greater interest to bring nature into the classroom all year long with a butterfly garden. The means to accomplish interaction with nature regardless of the season presented more than a challenge but also a learning opportunity about the natural world.
A valuable lesson was learned, butterflies’ natural environment provides the best place for their survival and the irregular indoor temperature at school (with air conditioning) provided a surrounding that was not conducive to their survival. As Ms. Trotter explained, “Science is unpredictable and many variables affect how a project will turn out.” Even though all the resources were available – netting, growing lights, and plants – the room temperature inhibited plant growth and the success of the butterfly garden. As with any science project; it is trial and error. Ms. Trotter will modify the project in upcoming school years to improve on its success.