Many grant programs aim to help kids develop a lifelong love of nature.
Many environmental science grants help teachers and community leaders to provide hands-on opportunities for kids to help their environments. Grants usually focus on empowering kids to learn about and help their local environment, thus gaining exposure to global issues and solutions. Some awards go to schools, and others support local nonprofits.
National foundations are an excellent grant resource for science teachers and environmental nonprofits. The National Environmental Education Foundation, which works closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, awards an annual Green Prize in Public Education of $10,000 to a school that has become environmentally friendly using innovative methods. The school also should educate its students about sustainable living. These schools should serve as models for other schools, using methods that can be easily emulated by other institutions. The foundation also gives annual $5,000 grants to two other schools to recognize their efforts in sustainable design improvements.
Local, regional and national foundations sponsor environmental education awards as well. The Captain Planet Foundation, for instance, gives $250 to $2,500 to programs that engage youth in environmental projects. Successful programs empower kids to solve environmental problems together through both planning and hands-on activities within their communities. Kids should also gain a deeper understanding of the environmental issues they are addressing. Schools and nonprofit community organizations may apply for these grants.
Nonprofits sometimes provide education grants, too. The Earthwatch Institute’s Education Fellowship lets teachers join an Earthwatch Expedition led by the institute, in which teachers learn new methods of field research. Teachers also gain an understanding of groundbreaking science from professionals in action. Teachers must develop lesson plans related to their experiences in the field and should present what they have learned in other public forums. The fellowship waves the expedition fee and covers on-site travel, meals, housing and some or all travel to the site.
Many corporations give to environmental education programs. The Lexus Environmental Challenge gives $10,000 to $30,000 to teams of five to 10 students in grades six through 12 who work under the guidance of a teacher to solve local environmental issues. Teams participate in a “challenge,” in which they work to address a pressing issue, and the teams deemed most successful win prizes. Part of the funds is distributed between the team members with the intention of supporting future scholarship, and part is given to the school. Additionally, the Lowe’s Outdoor Classroom Grant Program awards $2,000 to $20,000 to public schools to help them construct outdoor classrooms where students learn about the natural world in a direct way. Projects can also improve an existing outdoor classroom.