SEEK Bulletin - September 1, 2013

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SEEK Survey Lays Groundwork for Website Redesign

Thank you so much to those of you who completed the SEEK Redesign survey earlier this summer! Your input is invaluable and will help to guide us through a redesign of the SEEK website to best meet the needs of Minnesota's environmental education community.  The survey results are in and show what's most useful, least useful, and offer suggestions on improvements. Learn more.

In this issue:

partner highlight

Silverwood Park

Three Rivers Park District

Silverwood Park is a part of the Three Rivers Park District and operates as a center for nature inspired art. Silverwood's staff of professional Arts Educators and Naturalists teach about the natural world through fine art activities. Classes, programs, and events occur throughout the year. The park features a visitor center that incorporates many green technologies. The visitor center also hosts a small art gallery space, a coffee shop, as well as classroom and banquet hall facilities.

Join us on September 21st for Silverwood's Annual Field Trip and Art Fair from 11:00am - 5:00pm -- No permission slips necessary!


EE News


The 2013 Midwest Environmental Education Conference (MEEC) will be September 25-28 in Iowa
The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and the Iowa Association of Naturalists are hosting the 2013 MEEC. Teachers and naturalists throughout the Midwest will find the conference energizing, useful, and rewarding to attend. This regional gathering is meant to enlighten and inspire teachers, naturalists, and other environmental educators. Conference strands include: Sustainability, EE Literacy, Natural Resources, Inspirational, & Management/Leadership.

Home Energy exhibit to showcase renewable energy at State Fair
Renewable energy is being prominently featured at this year's Home Energy exhibit at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair, with several displays dedicated to solar and wind energy. The Home Energy exhibit, located in the Eco Experience at the north end of the fairgrounds, is intended to educate fairgoers about a wide range of energy conservation and energy efficiency measures and renewable energy opportunities. The exhibit's solar energy area is a partnership with the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and includes four new displays. The Minnesota State Fair runs through September 2.

Schools are Invited to Take the Energy Reduction Challenge 
MN Green Schools Coalition is partnering with Class 5 and other leaders in energy reducing strategies to host an Energy Reduction Challenge among Minnesota students. We are seeking elementary schools to participate in the Challenge, as well as, leaders in energy reduction to partner with us and with the students to increase the impact of each school's efforts. This is a fun and easy hands-on opportunity for students to garner awareness and affect positive change for our environment and their school.

Billion Dollar Green Challenge

Join The Billion Dollar Green Challenge and Help Your University Campus Go Green
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge is helping university campuses across the nation to become more energy and resource-efficient. The program, sponsored by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, works with universities to set aside money for a Green Revolving Fund. The main idea of the program is that the projects will create savings for the university that will then be put back into the fund for more projects in the future. The University of Minnesota is a participant and has yielded $4.6 million in annual avoided utility costs and reduced CO2 emissions by 50,000 tons.

8 Easy Steps To Purge Your Home Of Toxic Chemicals
The world of green living is vast. Most of us come to it from one angle (food?) or another (parenthood?). However you find your way in, at some point you'll start wondering about the safety of your home, especially if you have young children. Healthy Child Healthy World offers these eight areas to consider as you give your living space an eco-makeover. Their motto is, "No one can do everything but everyone can do something."

Call for Abstracts for the Twelfth Biennial Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Research Symposium - Deadline: September 12
This international research symposium that will be held January 10-12, 2014 at Indiana University. The purpose of this gathering is to advance the empirical, conceptual, and theoretical bases of outdoor education. It will bring together a wide array of researchers to explore current and future trends in using the outdoors for educational and therapeutic purposes. In addition to spotlighting current research, the program includes featured presentations on timely issues and ample time for both structured and informal dialogue. We are seeking abstracts of works (oral and/or poster).

Mentor a U of M student this fall - Deadline: September 17
The University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Mentor Program aims to connect CFANS students with alumni and professionals in order to facilitate career exploration and provide students with an opportunity to network and enhance their professional skills. Mentors can apply year-round; however, matching for the 2013-2014 school year will take place based on applications and profile updates submitted by the September deadline.

National Wildlife Federation's FREE Tree Bank for Schools, Youth Groups, Nonprofits and Affiliates - Deadline: September 21
Tree planting is a great service project for youth. The National Wildlife Federation, through the support of donors and supporters, has established a tree bank that can provide FREE trees to schools, youth groups and nonprofit organizations. Special consideration will be given to applications in: Impact zones of droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, floods or other natural disasters. Applications must be submitted by September 21 for Fall Planting dates (Between October-January).

Metro Children's Water Festival

Volunteers Needed for the Metro Area Children's Water Festival on September 25
The Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is a program for 4th grade students in the 7 County metro area. Its purpose is to educate students about our water resources and to present ways they can help ensure a future where both the quantity and quality of water resources are protected and managed wisely. We need over 100 volunteers to help as class guides, arcade helpers, and presenter helpers. All volunteers receive breakfast and lunch.

Change Begins With You - Participate in the 2013 EcoChallenge this October
The EcoChallenge is an opportunity to change your life for good. From October 15-30, the Northwest Earth Institute challenges you to change one action to reduce your environmental impact. You choose your challenge, accrue points for participating, and collectively we prove that small actions create real change. Earn points to win EcoChallenge Raffle prizes, and boost your team's status on the EcoChallenge leader board. EcoChallengers share their progress online, and the combination of collective inspiration, camaraderie and friendly peer pressure makes change a little easier--and a lot more fun

Registration Open for Exhibitors for the 2013 Education Minnesota Professional Conference on October 17 
The Education Minnesota Professional Conference will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul on October 17th. It is Minnesota's largest professional development event for educators, and it's free and open to the public. If you want to reach Minnesota educators, the Education Minnesota Professional Conference is the place to exhibit! The attracts as many as 10,000 teachers, student teachers and other educators and offers an exhibit hall featuring approximately 325 vendors.

NAAEE Conference

Registration Open for the NAAEE Conference and Research Symposium  
The 42nd annual North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference will be held October 9-12 in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference theme is Celebrating the Power of Environmental Education. It convenes top educators, government officials, researchers, nonprofit and community groups, environmental experts, corporations, and others with the shared mission of advancing EE throughout society. Each of the 2013 Keynote Speakers is an experienced and powerful force for social and environmental change, and each has a track record that is guaranteed to inspire you.

Energy Department and NSTA Launch America's Home Energy Education Challenge 2013-2014 Program - Deadline: November 15
Registration is now open for America's Home Energy Education Challenge, a national student competition administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for the Energy Department and created to help families save money by saving energy. Students, educators, and school principals are encouraged to register to participate. Competing schools and classes will compete within 11 regions for more than $60,000 in prizes.

SEEK Calendar

Professional Development for Environmental Educators


  • September 4 - November 13: Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Big Woods/Big Rivers course at Eastman Nature Center in Osseo.
  • September 5 - October 3: Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training North Woods Great Lakes course at the Wildlife Science Center in Columbus.
  • September 9: Minnesota Naturalists' Association and Volunteer Training: Nature Play Spaces at Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake.
  • September 11 - November 20: Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Big Woods/Big Rivers course at Kroening Interpretive Center in Minneapolis.
  • September 11: Webinar: Green Purchasing for Schools: Save Money and Reduce Your Environmental Footprint (GSI) Green Strides Webinar Series.
  • September 12: 2013 Clean Water Summit at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen
  • September 14: The Art of Interpretive Writing workshop at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington
  • September 14: BioBlitz 2013 will be held at Lake Vermilion State Park in   
  • September 18: Webinar: Schoolyard Habitat Program (FWS) Green Strides Webinar Series
  • September 19: Careers in Renewable Energy Class at Century College in White Bear Lake.
  • September 19 - December 5: Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Big Woods/Big Rivers course at Carver Park Reserve in Victoria.
  • September 24 - October 26: Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training North Woods Great Lakes course in Cloquet.
  • September 24: Minnesota Zoo Our World Speaker Series, Hand Raising Sea Otters! It Takes a Village! at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.
  • September 25: Webinar: Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) Conservation and Design Program (FWS) Green Strides Webinar Series.

 To learn more about these events and many more, visit the SEEK Calendar.

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Minnesota Wildflowers

Minnesota Wildflowers website
This website offers a plant identification guide to Minnesota's flora, both native and non-native. Our mission is to educate Minnesotans on our native plants, raise awareness on threats like invasive species, and inspire people to explore our great state, appreciate its natural heritage, and become involved in preserving it. This website is modeled after a field guide. Over 700 plant species and more than 5,000 high quality photos are cataloged here, with more added each week, working towards recording all 2100-plus plant species in Minnesota.

Insect Fair

Monarch Lab's Insect Fair
The Monarchs in the Classroom Insect Fair is based on a Science Fair model, with many of the projects centered on monarch butterflies and their habitat. Each year the Insect Fair is held during the first week of December on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. The Insect Fair encourages students to engage in all steps of the research process, including the important final step of data presentation. Anyone can attend as a visitor; however, we recommend that student researchers be in at least 4th grade. Students working individually, in small groups, or as whole classes are eligible to submit projects. Students interested in participating need to sign up online by October 11.

Air & Waste Management Association - Upper Midwest Section
The Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional organization that enhances knowledge and expertise by providing a neutral forum for information exchange, professional development, networking opportunities, public education, and outreach to more than 5,000 environmental professionals. A&WMA offers a variety of products and services to help meet the professional development and educational needs of environmental professionals, university students, grades K-12 students and teachers, and the general public. A&WMA publishes the Environmental Education Resource Guide curriculum for grades K-12, the Understanding Air Quality outreach products, information booklets, fact sheets, and other materials.

A&WMA's Upper Midwest Section Student Scholarship Program provides financial support to undergraduate and graduate students to ensure adequate human resources and to improve knowledge and skills in the fields of air quality, sustainability, waste management, environmental management, policy and law. The application process for the 2014 student awards and scholarship programs begins in September 2013.

Funding Resources

CPL grant

Conservation Partners Legacy Grants - Deadlines: September 11 and 16; May 14
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant applications for projects ranging from $5,000 to $400,000. Nonprofit organizations and governments can apply for funds to enhance, restore, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, or wildlife. New this year is the dedication of $500,000 to projects located within the 7-county metro area or within a city with a population of 50,000 people or greater. Apply by September 16th through the Traditional CPL cycle for these funds. The Expedited Conservation Project application cycle is open continuously through May 14, 2014, or until all funds are awarded. Apply by September 11th for the first round of ECP funding.

Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Curricula GrantsDeadline: September 13
K-12 teachers are invited to apply for grants up to $1,500 to implement environmental curricula that integrate hands-on ecology exercises into the classroom. To facilitate learning and student empowerment, environmental curricula should be holistic and strive to synthesize multiple levels of learning (facts, concepts, and principles), including experiential integrated learning and problem solving. 

Ben and Jerry’s Foundation Grants for Non-Profit Grassroots OrganizingDeadline: September 13
The Ben & Jerry's Foundation offers grants to non-profit, grassroots organizing groups that are working towards progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems through constituent-led organizing and activist strategies. One-year grants of up to $20,000 are available. Eligible applicants are non-profit grassroots organizations in the US with budgets under $500,000, or organizations that have a sponsoring agency with this status.

Blandin Foundation Community Grants - Deadline: September 15
Blandin Foundation partners with community-focused organizations throughout rural Minnesota to build healthy rural communities. The Foundation awards four types of grants, depending on size of request and geographic impact. Grant awards range from $100 to $250,000. The Foundation's three areas of focus are Expand Opportunity, Itasca County Area Vitality, and Rural Community Leadership. Grant proposals greater than $50,000 should be received by Sept 15. Other grants may be submitted at any time.

EPA's New Methods in 21st Century Exposure Science - Deadline: September 17
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications proposing innovative research to advance methods for characterizing real-world human exposure to chemicals associated with consumer products in indoor environments. Public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations in the U.S., state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. Approximately 5 grants up to a total of $900,000, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of 3 years will be awarded. 

Project GreenWorks!

Project GreenWorks! GrantsDeadline: September 30
Project Learning Tree is providing GreenWorks! grants to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects.  Grants are available two award levels: 1) the traditional GreenWorks! grants up to a maximum of $1,000 and 2) GreenWorks! grants up to $3,000 for registered PLT GreenSchools!

Captain Planet Foundation Grants - Deadline: September 30
The Captain Planet Foundation provides grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Grants serve as a catalyst to getting environment-based education in schools, and inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. Grants are limited to $2,500 with preferential consideration given to requests seeking seed funding of $500 or less and to applicants who have secured at least 50 percent matching or in-kind funding.

Target Field Trip Grants Deadline: September 30
Each Target store will award three Target Field Trip Grants to K-12 schools nationwide -- enabling one in 25 schools throughout the U.S. to send a classroom on a field trip. Each grant is valued up to $700. Funds may be used to cover field trip-related costs such as transportation, ticket fees, resource materials and supplies. Other criteria for selection of grant recipients include the field trip's tie-in to the school's curriculum and the number of students involved.

Green Thumb Challenge

Green Thumb Challenge Award - Deadline: September 30
Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Company are calling on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects in a race to win a $1,000 prize. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.

Freshwater Future's Project Grants ProgramDeadline: September 30
Members of Freshwater Future are invited to apply to the Project Grant Program. These grants support organizations engaging in advocacy activities and projects that protect local lakes, rivers, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats. Grant awards range from $500 to $3,500.

Kids in Need Teacher Grants - Deadline: September 30
These grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource — our nation's teachers. Grant awards range from $100 to $500 each and are used to finance creative classroom projects. Typically, 300-600 grants are awarded each year.

The Donald Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant - Deadline: October 1
The Herb Society of America has established two herb garden grants for teachers in grades 3-6. Public and/or private teachers with a minimum of 15 students may apply for an indoor or outdoor herb garden grant. Schools can apply for indoor herb growing stations or $200 "Seed Money" to establish an outdoor herb garden. 

Toshiba America Foundation Grants - Deadline for Grades K-5: October 1
Toshiba America Foundation grants support innovative projects designed by math and science teachers to make their classrooms more exciting and successful for students. U.S. K-12 teachers in public or private school are eligible. Proposed projects must advance the teacher's science and math teaching units. Grants are awarded in two categories: K-5 grants and 6-12 grants. K-5 teachers can receive up to $1,000 in grant money for their project. Funding is available for 6-12 teachers or teams of teachers that plan and lead projects in their own classrooms. Past projects have included biofuels research and water quality testing at a local lake.

EPA's Healthy Schools: Environmental Factors, Children's Health and Performance, and Sustainable Building Practices Grants - Deadline: October 8
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications proposing research that will inform school (K-12 educational facilities) building design, construction and operation practices in order to foster safe and healthy school environments and maximize student achievement and teacher and staff effectiveness. Public nonprofit institutions/organizations and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. Approximately 6 projects will be funded with up to a total of $1,000,000, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of 4 years.

National Education Association (NEA) Learning & Leadership Grants - Deadline: October 15
The NEA Foundation's Learning & Leadership grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research; or Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study.

National Education Association (NEA) Student Achievement Grants - Deadline: October 15
Student Achievement Grants provide $2,000 and $5,000 awards to improve the academic achievement of students by engaging in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students' habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grants - Deadline: October 15
These $2,000 - $5,000 grants are for permanent facility enhancements (both indoor and outdoor), such as school nature trails, landscaping projects, gardens, playground upgrades, and other projects that encourage parent and community involvement.  Non-profit public K-12 schools or parent groups associated these schools are invited to apply.

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program - Deadline: October 15
This Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other non-profits in the U.S. with a site available for a stewardship project. Successful non-school applicants often partner with a youth group (scouts, 4-H, etc.) and a site owner. Libraries, government agencies and houses of worship are eligible subject to youth participation. Cash awards range from $100 to $500. Funds are restricted to the purchase of native plants and seed for the grant-award year.

SEEK stands for Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge and is the online home of Minnesota's environmental education resources.

For further information visit SEEK or contact Colleen Schoenecker, SEEK Coordinator, at or 651.757.2700 or 800.657.3864.

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