Funds Available for Schools to Revitalize Landscapes, Educate Students

May 29, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska schools have an opportunity to revitalize their landscapes while educating students about the environment through a grant from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in partnership with the Nebraska Forest Service.

  Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, grants will be available to Nebraska elementary, middle and high schools through the Sustainable Schoolyards Partnership program. Six to 10 schools will be selected each year, with a total of 20 schools participating during the three-year initiative. Deadline to apply for 2013-2014 funds is June 21.

Funds are provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a beneficiary of the Nebraska Lottery.

"Children who are connected to the natural world can positively shape the future," said Rachel Anderson, conservation education assistant coordinator at the Nebraska Forest Service. "Unfortunately, today's children are disconnected from the outdoors. Recent studies have shown that children ages 3-12 are spending 27 percent of their time with electronic media and only 1 percent outside."

Educators will receive environmental education training from NSA and, using Project Learning Tree's GreenSchools! curriculum, will help students with environmental investigations to discover ways they can make their school grounds more sustainable. They will develop and implement service-learning landscape projects showcasing sustainability and conservation.

The SSP program was developed in response to research showing that most schoolyards do not have enough vegetation to make available any of the social, physiological or ecological benefits nature can provide. Through the SSP, schools can transform their landscapes into beautiful, ecological places that foster learning and healthy mental and physical development.

For more information or to apply for an SSP grant, see outdoorlearning.unl.edu, or contact Rachel Anderson at randerson28@unl.edu or 402-472-0220.

Rachel Anderson
Conservation Education Assistant Coordinator
Nebraska Forest Service
402-472-0220
randerson28@unl.edu

Susan Helmink
Communications Specialist
Nebraska Forest Service
402-472-9869
shelmink3@unl.edu

Dan Moser
IANR News Service
402-472-3030
dmoser3@unl.edu