SEEK Bulletin - October 1, 2013

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Greetings from SEEK!

Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the ever-changing colors and beauty in nature. The SEEK Calendar features a multitude of events to get you outside learning and playing.

Visit SEEK to find additional environmental education Resources, Events, Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities and more!

In this issue:

partner highlight

University of Minnesota Duluth's Center for Environmental Education


The Center for Environmental Education is dedicated to facilitating leadership and educational experiences that foster environmental sustainability through outdoor and environmental education. We value an integrated approach to environmental sustainability, as well as an experiential-based approach to engaging students in the environmental challenges of our local, regional, and international communities. We aim for excellence in outdoor and environmental education, leadership, and scholarship.


EE News

MNA 2013 Conference

Registration Open for the 2013 Minnesota Naturalists' Association Conference in November
The 2013 Minnesota Naturalists' Association Conference will be held November 15-17 at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN. It is designed to explore the dynamic relationships between the arts and nature. This year's conference theme is Drawn to Nature and it will feature classic environmental education themes with a dedicated strand focusing on the Arts. Other strands include Interpretation, Natural History, Current Events, Emerging Professional and Leadership & Administrative.

North American Association for Environmental Education Conference will be held October 9-12 in Baltimore
The 42nd annual North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference will be held October 9-12 in Baltimore, MD. 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.

Join The Billion Dollar Green Challenge and Help Your University Campus Go Green
This 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.

Green Ribbon Schools

Announcing the 2014 Green Ribbon Schools Award
The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors public and private schools and school districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. The tentative timeline for 2013-14 includes the availability of the application in early fall, submission deadline in mid-December, and announcement of the award in April.

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.

Undergraduate Students Invited to Participate in the 2013 Student Environmental Challenge - Deadline: October 3
The Student Environmental Challenge sponsored by the Upper Midwest Section of the Air & Waste Management Association and Central States Water Environment Association gives undergraduate college students who are interested in a career in environmental engineering and science a ‘real-world’ and a ‘local’ experience in environmental problem solving. The Challenge is an opportunity for students to solve a complex environmental problem that is typical of those facing environmental professionals today, network with section members and exhibitors, and earn a cash award for the best delivery of a problem solution.

EPA's Campus Rainworks Challenge

EPA Launches 2013 Campus RainWorks Challenge - Registration Deadline: October 7th
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water is pleased to announce the 2nd annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for college and university students. Student teams are invited to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment. Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,000 - $2,000. Registration closes on October 7 and entries must be submitted by December 13.

Registration Open for Exhibitors for the 2013 Education Minnesota Professional Conference
The Education Minnesota Professional Conference will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre 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.

Conrad Foundation Announces 2013-2014 Spirit of Innovation Challenge - Deadline: October 24
Students worldwide are invited to “Get Your Genius On” and create innovative products to benefit humanity; winning ideas receive more than $50K in prizes! The program challenges teens ages 13-18 to work in teams of 2-5 students and use science, technology, engineering and math skills along with creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship to develop innovative products and services to benefit humanity and address global sustainability. Participation is free. The 2013-2014 categories are: Aerospace and Aviation, Cybertechnology and Security, Energy and Environment, and Health and Nutrition.

Community-Based Research Programs - Deadline: October 30
The U of M's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs has a Community-Based Research Program that provides graduate or undergraduate student assistance for community-based applied research projects, program planning and development, program evaluation, and other short-term projects. Student assistantships are generally 200 hours (10 hours per week) during spring or fall and 260 hours (20 hours per week) during summer.

Energy Department and NSTA Launch America's Home Energy Education Challenge 2013-2014 Program - Deadline: November 15
Registration is 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.

IGES Art Contest

Students in Grades 2-4 are Invited to Discover Your Own Animal Collection and Enter the IGES Art Contest - Deadline: November 18
The 18th annual Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Art Contest for students in grades 2-4 invites young scientists and artists to research an animal collection. Think about your favorite animal group and find the collective noun that describes it. Read stories and watch videos to get inspired or think about your favorite animal groups and what they might be called. Then create a picture that shows your animal collection. Prizes include $100, Visa gift cards, and the artwork featured on IGES's Web site.

Apply for $1000 Professional Development Scholarships for the 2014 Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest and Machu Picchu: Deadline: March 1
The July 1-11, 2014 Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest is a life changing, cross-curricular professional development workshop for educators to use and learn instructional approaches and protocols while exploring one of the world’s most important natural resources – the Amazon Rainforest. PLT Certification, BirdSleuth and GLOBE training and PD Hours included. Land cost is $2140, plus air; $1000 scholarships available to defray costs.

SEEK Calendar

Professional Development for Environmental Educators


  • October 2: Webinar: Creating a Culture of Energy Efficiency: Innovative Ways to Engage the Whole School while Saving Money and the Environment (Alliance to Save Energy) Green Strides Webinar Series
  • October 5-6: Workshop: The Four Season Food Revolution: Organic, Local and All Year Round will be held at the Women's Environmental Institute (WEI) Farm Campus in North Branch
  • October 8-12: North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conferencewill be held in Baltimore
  • October 9: Webinar: The Cool School Challenge: Addressing Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in K-12 Schools (NWF) Green Strides Webinar Series
  • October 13-19: Earth Science Week: Mapping Our World
  • October 13-19: National Wolf Awareness Week
  • October 15: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth
  • October 16: Webinar: What Can We Learn From Schoolyard Trees? Green Strides Webinar Series
  • October 17-18: Education Minnesota Professional Conference will be held at RiverCentre in Saint Paul.
  • October 23: Our World Speaker Series: Tamarins and Teamwork- What it takes to Conserve the Critically Endangered Cotton-top Tamarin in Colombia will be held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

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

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Water Cycle poster

The Water Cycle Diagram/Poster
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have teamed up to create a free water-cycle poster/diagram geared to elementary and middle school students. The diagram offers 11 x 17 pdf and jpg versions for higher resolution printing. An expanded, comprehensive and age-appropriate explanation of the water cycle is also available on the USGS website.

Chinook Book

Chinook Book
The Chinook Book is an annual coupon book that helps you save money at local businesses that do good things for the environment and the community. Covering the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul metro regions and the towns and neighborhoods of Hennepin, Dakota and Anoka counties, the Chinook Book is available in both print and a mobile app version (for iPhone and Android) and contains over 400 coupons! Featured businesses meet our criteria for sustainable living and sections of the Chinook Book include Home & Garden, Dining, Entertainment, Travel & Recreation, and more. The Chinook Book can be used as a fundraising tool for your school or community organization.

Buy, Use, Toss Curriculum

Curriculum: Buy, Use, Toss? A Closer Look at the Things We Buy
This interdisciplinary unit from Facing the Future is geared toward high school students and includes ten fully-planned lessons. It is correlated with national science and social studies standards and will lead your students through an exploration of the system of producing and consuming goods. Students will learn about the five major steps of the materials economy; Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, and Disposal. They will also be asked to analyze the sustainability of these steps, determining how consumption can benefit people, economies, and environments. It can be downloaded for FREE.

Funding Resources

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 for research that will inform 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.


Merrell Pack Project Activation Grant - Deadline: October 15
The Pack Project Grants Program awards grants up to $2,500 that are designed to give young individuals between the ages of 18 and 28 and 501c3 non-profit charitable organizations the resources and funding needed to bring their innovation and active ideas to life. Grants will be awarded to the most innovative, impactful and sustainable projects focusing on increasing outdoor recreation in communities across the country while also creating significant relationships with the environment.

Minnesota Clean Energy Project Grants - Deadline: October 18
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) seeks to provide seed grants to support the labor costs for clean energy projects that spur community development in Minnesota. Project proposals should be for a community-based energy efficiency or renewable energy project that also provides a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits.

Every Day Capacity Building Grants - Deadline: October 30
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) Every Day Capacity Building Grants will strengthen the stewardship of public lands by strengthening "Friends Groups" through funding for organizational capacity building. Grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded to those groups who make the best case for how the funds will build their capacity to better serve the lands they love.


Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Education Contest – Deadline: October 31
Public school teachers in grades 6-12 are invited to participate in this contest to increase the pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. With Samsung and schools joining together, we're looking to foster interest in these subjects among students and illustrate the practical impact applying these subjects can have on the environment in your community. 15 schools will win technology packages worth ~ $35,000 and be invited to pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges. Five of those schools will win $140,000 technology grants.

NOAA's Teacher at Sea ProgramDeadline: October 31
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Teacher at Sea program provides a unique environment for learning and teaching by sending kindergarten through college-level teachers to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew at sea aboard NOAA research and survey ships. Participants can expect to be at sea anywhere from one week to one month, with the average cruise lasting 12-14 days. All necessary travel costs, including airfare, are paid for through this program.

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program - Deadline: October 31
The School Garden Grant Program works to educate students on healthy eating habits, sustainability conservation and community awareness. Whole Kids Foundation and FoodCorps have teamed up to provide grants of $2,000 to schools to fund gardens related activities.

The Lawrence Foundation - Deadline: November 1 
The Lawrence Foundation focuses on grants to support the following areas: environment, disaster relief, human services and other causes. We make both program and operating grants and do not have any geographic restrictions on our grants. Award amounts vary. Nonprofit organizations, public schools, and libraries are eligible for contributions or grants. (Note: Religious, charter or magnet schools are NOT eligible for funding.)

American Honda Foundation grants – Deadline:  November 1
Grants of $20,000 to $75,000 are provided in the fields of youth education and science education to K-12 schools, colleges, universities, trade schools, and others for programs that benefit youth and scientific educational institutions. The American Honda Foundation supports youth education with a specific focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment.

Green Partners Environmental Education Program - Deadline: November 1
The Green Partners Environmental Education Program supports organizations to actively educate and engage Hennepin County residents in making positive environmental changes in their daily lives. Three levels of funding are offered: 1. Seed Group: Receive free field trip transportation and activity supplies. 2. Root Group: Up to $8,000 to implement a project based on existing resources. 3. Branch Group: Up to $15,000 to implement an innovative project. Eligible organizations include non-profit organizations, community and youth groups, multicultural organizations, congregations, private and public schools, and park districts.

Scholarships and Student Awards Offered by the Air and Waste Management Association - Deadlines: November 4, December 16, January 10 & January 13
Each year, the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) recognizes outstanding students who are pursuing courses of study and research leading to careers in air quality, waste management, environmental management / policy / law, and sustainability. This includes student scholarships, thesis/dissertation awards, and awards for best student paper and poster at the Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition. There are multiple deadlines for these various awards beginning in November and ending in January.

Fruit Tree Orchard Grants - Deadline: Rolling
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) is an award-winning international nonprofit charity dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants to alleviate world hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water. FTPF programs strategically donate orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as community gardens, public schools, city/state parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries. The “Fruit Tree 101” program creates outdoor edible orchard classrooms at public schools of all levels, across the country, to provide generations of students with environmental education opportunities and a source of organic fruit for improved school lunch nutrition.

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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