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Deadline: October 28, 2015

Nature Works Conservatory: School Garden Grants

The Nature Conservancy has created Nature Works Everywhere to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us — and how to help keep it running strong. Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students, and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe alongside Nature Conservancy scientists, including interactive games and interactive lesson plans that align to standards and can be customized for each classroom. The Nature Works Everywhere program is currently accepting applications for garden grants during the 2015–16 school year.

The core principle behind the Gardens program is that gardens model conservation science on a relatable scale. The program empowers students and teachers to work together to create and implement their own solutions to environmental challenges in their communities. Whether addressing issues surrounding food deserts, air quality, heat island effect, or storm water collection, youth are empowered as social innovators to model solutions in their school communities through garden design and implementation. Nature Works Everywhere gardens connect students to a global challenge: to protect the natural systems that produce our food, water, clean air, and energy.

Preference for the grant program is given to projects with an emphasis on building urban green infrastructure (i.e. pollinator, rain, native habitat, orchards, etc. gardens). Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils and natural systems to protect or restore urban areas, and refers to the patchwork of natural areas that provide habitat, water management, clean air and water within a city. All types of gardens contribute to the health of urban areas, but rain gardens, native habitat gardens, pollinator gardens, and orchards contribute the most to reducing stormwater run-off, providing habitat for wildlife, reducing heat island affect and additional services provided to cities by the installation of urban green space. While preference is given to these sorts of project, food gardens will also be funded.

Grants will be made to enhance existing school gardens or to create a new garden.

Amount: Grants of $1,000-$2,000 will be made. In addition, schools will receive access to educational webinars designed to support the building and maintenance of a school garden and use of a curriculum in the garden; coaching and support through an online forum; access to standards-based curriculum and teaching materials; and a tablet such as i-Pad or Kindle Fire that can be used to support learning.

Eligibility: Public or charter elementary, middle, or high schools.

Link: https://www.natureworkseverywhere.org/#grants

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