SEEK Bulletin - November 1, 2013

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Greetings from SEEK!

November is a great time to reflect upon all of the things that we're thankful for. I'm thankful to live in a beautiful state chocked full of amazing natural wonders to explore and enjoy - and for our rich, knowledgeable, and wide-reaching range of EE providers and SEEK Partners. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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

In this issue:

Welcome New Partner

Dragonfly Environmental Education, Ami Thompson Consulting LLC

Ami Thompson - Dragonfly

Ami Thompson created Dragonfly Environmental Education to provide professional development STEM training to teachers, lead classroom and nature center activities, and write curriculum and interpretive text. The Dragonfly Curriculum Guide and Dragonfly Professional Development Workshops for Educators are her most popular offerings. Before striking out on her own, Ami worked for the Wisconsin DNR, the Minnesota DNR, and the National Park Service accumulating over a decade of experience. She is always open to new ideas and EE partnerships!

SEEK Calendar

Professional Development for Environmental Educators


  • November 5: Presentation: Addressing Stereotypes so All Students Can Excel will be held at The Blake School in Minneapolis  
  • November 6: Webinar: Designing Schoolyard Natural Play and Learning Areas
  • November 11-15: Minnesota Master Naturalist Prairies & Potholes Course will be held at McColl Pond Learning Center in Savage
  • November 12: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth
  • November 15: America Recycles Day
  • November 15-17: Minnesota Naturalists' Association Annual Conference: Drawn to Nature will be held at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro  
  • November 15: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN
  • November 16: Project WILD and Learning Tree Preschool Educator Workshop will be held at the Carlos Avery Game Farm in Forest Lake  
  • November 18: Our World Speaker Series: Tourism as a Conservation Tool will be held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley

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


EE News

Green Ribbon Schools

Announcing the 2014 Green Ribbon Schools Award - Deadline: December 4
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 submission deadline is December 4 and announcement of the award will be in April 2014.

Ten environmental education projects totaling $3.7 million recommended for funding
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources' (LCCMR) recommendations to the 2014 Legislature would provide a total of approximately $29 million from the Minnesota Lottery-generated Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to 72 projects to begin in July 2014. Ten of these are environmental education projects and total $3.7 million of funding. Following the December LCCMR meeting, the recommendations will go before the 2014 Legislature for consideration and approval.

Bring Down the Barriers! Five Causes of Nature-Deficit Disorder; Five Challenges for the New Nature Movement 
In this article written by Richard Louv, he states that it is time to bring down the barriers not only between people and nature, but also between people. The five challenges he identifies are: 1. Urbanization without Nature - most people now live in cities, the barrier is the absence of nature in the city. 2. A Culture of Fear - the less we experience nature, the less we know how to avoid natural risks, and the more we fear nature. 3. Silicon Faith - technology will solve all problems 4. Cultural  Devaluing of Nature - nature is perceived as a "nice to have," not a "need to have" 5. The Post-Apocolyptic View of the Future - the greatest environmental challenges are just too overwhelming.

Northland Arboretum combines solar energy and data visualization for community education 
The Northland Arboretum (the Arb) in Brainerd, Minnesota, has worked to educate and engage its visitors on important environmental issues for decades. This nonprofit organization provides nature trails that are available year-round for hiking, biking, snow-shoeing and skiing. The Arb also offers classes, workshops, and seminars that are held at the Arboretum's Visitor Center. They can now add solar energy to their list of offerings, complete with engaging learning tools.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has a transparency tube exhibit that is looking for a new home
Can your school, nature center, or museum use a transparency tube exhibit? The MPCA is looking for an organization who would like to use or repurpose the educational exhibit at their facility for long-term use. The exhibit is designed to teach visitors how to use a transparency tube and consider why water has varying turbidity (due to land use, storm events, etc.). If interested, please contact Britt Gangeness at or 651-757-2262 by December 2nd.

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.

Check out the Green Gifts Fair on November 23
Kick off the holidays at the 8th annual Green Gifts Fair, hosted by Do It Green! Minnesota on Saturday, November 23rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. This event is a celebration of local art and sustainable living, including artists, retailers, music, fashion and demonstrations. It is also the launch of the Do It Green! Directory 2014 edition. Shop 70-plus local eco-vendors for green, recycled, fair-trade and organic gifts. Pick up a free copy of the new 2014 Do It Green! Directory - listing over 200 Do It Green! approved green businesses and organizations in Minnesota.

Announcing the 2014 International Compost Awareness Week Poster Contest - Deadline: November 30
The US Composting Council is pleased to announce the annual call for posters for the International Compost Awareness Week poster contest. The contest is open to students beginning in grade 3 through college/adult to use their artistic creativity to promote this year’s theme: Compost! The solution to sustainable soil and water. The winning poster will serve as the 2014 International Compost Awareness Week promotional media piece, and the winner will receive a $500 prize. Other divisional winners will each receive a $100 prize.

Water Shed

Announcing the 2013 K-12 Poster Contest Where Does Your Water Shed? Deadline: December 1
The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides K-12 students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. The 2013 Poster Contest theme is "Where Does Your Water Shed?" The top two posters in each category of the national contest will receive monetary prizes. First place winners will receive $100 and second place winners will receive $75.

Real World Design Challenge for High School Students – Deadline: December 20
The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual high school competition with the goal of sustainably increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. The sponsors are focused on transforming STEM education by providing professional science and engineering and learning resources to students and teachers. The FY14 Challenge is to design an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which may have a fixed-wing, rotorcraft, or hybrid design, and to develop a business plan for the commercial operations of the system based on a mission scenario.

Green Living Project Student Film Project - Deadline: January 17, 2014
This biannual Student Film Project is a unique filmmaking competition encouraging students from middle school through college to get directly involved with innovative storytelling and filmmaking around important local and global sustainability issues. In 5 minutes or less, we want your short film to tell a unique, creative, and compelling story about a local or global sustainability-related project. Films will be judged based on creativity, content, storytelling, sustainability themes and overall quality.

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.

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Project GO

Moving Forward: A Report on Successful After School Nature Programs
Project GO partnered with the University of Minnesota Extension to conduct research to gain insight about what is unique about Project GO and what are the program strengths and challenges to consider as they develop a strategic action plan for statewide expansion. Researched and written by Megan Hoye, University of Minnesota Graduate Student, the reports details a nation-wide review of after school nature programs, providing a ranking of the most successful programs and their strengths. The report highlights a number of capacity building best practices and lessons learned, articulating findings with examples that provide Project GO as well as other organizations with relevant observations. 


Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP)
Jeffers Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have partnered to offer this free program for elementary schools to make it easy for them to reduce waste in their lunchrooms. WRAP has an easy-to-use web-based guide to help schools identify sensible opportunities to reduce waste and save money. A 30-question self-assessment, case studies of schools that have successfully implemented the WRAP, and resources for improving your program are available.

Healthy Schools & Daycares toolkit

Healthy Schools & Daycares Toolkit
Healthy Child Healthy World's Easy Steps "Healthy Schools & Daycares" resources are designed to help you understand the potential health-related and environmental problems that can arise in schools and daycares. Learn where to look for potential threats, and how to address them through your own actions or discussions with school faculty or daycare directors. Sections of the toolkit include 1. Infographic: An interactive visual guide on the toxins and threats that could be lurking in your kid's classroom 2. E-book: An interactive resource for parents on taking action to create safer schools and daycare environments for children 3. Healthy Schools Webinar.

Funding Resources

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.

2013 Subaru Healthy Sprouts - Deadline: November 15
This grant provides youth and school garden programs with funding and support to start or sustain established gardens. To be eligible for the 2013 Healthy Sprouts Awards, your school or organization must plan to garden in 2014 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. Awards will be presented to 50 schools or youth programs. Award packages are valued over at over $500 and include gardening supplies and educational materials. Three exceptional garden programs will receive the grand prize, a $1,500 award package and funding.

Schoolyard Garden Grant - Deadline: December 1
The University of Minnesota’s Schoolyard Ecology Exploration’s garden grant program invites educators to apply for funds to plant a new schoolyard garden or enhance the use of an existing garden. Preference will be given to graduates of our summer professional development programs who have received training in ways to use schoolyards as a resource for science teaching.

Walmart's Local Giving Program - Deadline: December 1
The Walmart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, environmental sustainability, hunger relief & nutrition, workforce development, and women's economic empowerment. Multiple awards ranging from $250-$5,000 are available for eligible applicants including nonprofits, K-12 schools, faith-based organizations, and government entities.


Annie’s Grants for Gardens - Deadline: December 2
Annie’s offers grants to school gardens that connect children directly to real food. These funds can be used to buy gardening tools, seeds or other needed supplies. Two types of grants are awarded: $500 to start a new program or $1500 to improve an existing program. Eligible entities include schools and nonprofit organizations that focus on school and community gardens or sustainable agriculture.

Youth Garden Grants - Deadline: December 6
Youth Garden Grants are available to schools and community organizations with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 who plan to garden in 2014. This year we will present awards to 20 schools or youth programs. 20 programs will receive a $500 gift certificate to the Gardening with Kids online store. Each program will also receive a tool package from Ames, plant starts from Bonnie Plants, a raised bed from Rustic Cedar and a generous seed donation from High Mowing Seeds.

Temper of The Times Foundation - Deadline: December 15
The Temper of The Times Foundation promotes the use of marketing concepts to increase environmental awareness. Grants to non-profit organizations are typically between $5,000 and $15,000 and are awarded for projects that will lead to measurable outcomes for wildland ecosystem conservation and restoration in the United States. Grants may be used to fund the production of print, radio, or television ads, to pay for advertising space or airtime, or to produce or distribute pamphlets, books, videos, or press packets.

Blandin Foundation Community Grants - Deadline: December 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. The 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.

SeaWorld & Busch Garden's Conservation Fund - Deadline: January 1, 2014
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund focuses on four priority areas: Species Research, Habitat Protection, Conservation Education, and Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation. Within these four priority areas, there are specific topics that we have identified as funding priorities for the Fund. The Fund has no set minimum or maximum grant amount. However, the Fund typically supports projects ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for a one-year term.

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 the SEEK website or Facebook page or contact Colleen Schoenecker, SEEK Coordinator, at or 651.757.2700 or 800.657.3864

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