SEEK Bulletin - February 1, 2014

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Greetings from SEEK!

EE opportunities abound in this month's issue of the SEEK Bulletin! From grant opportunities -- such as the EPA's Environmental Education Grants, the LCCMR Grants, and the Community POWER grants -- to an exciting new environmental education cohort, to national EE awards, there are some great EE resources and events to take advantage of! 

And don't forget to check SEEK's Jobs and Internships pages as many organizations are currently hiring their seasonal staff.

In this issue:

partner highlight

Saint John's Outdoor University

St. John's

Saint John's Outdoor University (formerly Saint John's Arboretum) is a private, non-profit, and member-supported organization that provides a wide array of environmental education and outdoor recreation experiences for people of all ages through classes, events, and initiatives with the Abbey Arboretum, Saint John's University, and the College of Saint Benedict.

Saint John's Abbey Arboretum (the place) is more than 2,500 acres of lakes, prairie, oak savanna, and forest owned by Saint John's Abbey and surrounding Saint John's University. The shared vision of Saint John's Outdoor University and the Abbey Arboretum is to celebrate the unique beauty and richness of God's creation in central Minnesota and foster the Benedictine tradition of land stewardship, education, and environmental respect.

Outdoor environmental education classes are available for public, private and home schools grades preK-12, families, community groups, adults, service groups, and other interested individuals.

SEEK Calendar

Professional Development for Environmental Educators


  • February 1: Environmental Education Cohort - Quick and simple ways to integrate EE will be held at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the Bloomington
  • February 7: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN  
  • February 10: Our World Speaker Series: Storytelling on the Frontlines of Wildlife Conservation will be held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley
  • February 11: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth
  • February 13: Project WET Workshop will be held at the Eden Prairie Water Treatment Plant
  • February 19: Webinar: GreenWorks! Action Grants for Climate Change
  • February 20: Underground Inhabitants will be held at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls  
  • February 21-22: Minnesota Conference on Science Education (MnCOSE) will be held at the Verizon Center in Mankato  
  • February 22 - May 10: Minnesota Master Naturalist North Woods, Great Lakes Course will be held at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center in Schroeder
  • February 28: 2014 Schoolyard Gardens Conference: Cultivating the Future will be held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska
  • March 1: Environmental Education Cohort: The Nature of Math- Teach Math within the context of the Environment will be held at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the Bloomington

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


EE News

Announcing a new 2014 Environmental Education Cohort at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Join a dedicated group of elementary educators focused on integrating and embedding environmental education and outdoor instruction into everyday school instruction. Sponsored by Jeffers Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, sessions are offered the first Saturday each month from 9:30am - 11:30am February - May. Participate in one Saturday morning workshop or as many as you can! 3 CEU credits are available for each session.

Do It Green

Spanish language clean energy resources now available from Do It Green! Minnesota
Do It Green! Minnesota offers a collection of clean energy resources for Spanish-language learners. These new handouts on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Spanish include, 1. Energy Checklist; 2. Renewable Energy Alternatives in Minnesota; 3. Energy Trivia Questions; 4. A Beautiful World Starts with You Energy Activity Book; 5. Solar Energy Coloring Book. You can download these free materials or get free copies of them from Do It Green! Minnesota.

The "Extinction of Experience" -- Is Education Dumping Reality? 
This article explains the need to connect education to real world experiences. Several studies have shown that some online students are more likely to drop out than students in traditional classrooms. People who care conserve; people who don't know don't care. The loss of connection with the rest of nature not only undermines our experience outside of our bodies, but also our inner lives, our personal resilience, and our ability to create. Louv argues that the "hybrid mind" maximizes the benefits of technology and ignites the human senses in the natural world.

High Tech High Nature: How Families Can Use Electronics to Explore the Outdoors 
Young citizen naturalists are bound to have a different attitude about technology than many older people do -- and for them that could be an advantage. The truth is we've always used technology to get outside. A fishing rod is technology. So are binoculars and a compass. The trick is to use technology in a way that doesn't block the senses. Electronic technology can interrupt our lives, distract us, devalue our ability to feel and be fully human. But used wisely, high tech can open us up to high nature.

Clean Tech

A Solution to Pollution: Research and Design Competition for High School Students - Registration Deadline: February 7
The Clean Tech Competition is a global research and design competition for high school students. Working in teams, students submit a paper based upon their innovation. Ten finalist teams get the opportunity to work with a mentor to bring their ideas to life! The competition allows students the opportunity to use project-based learning to solve real-world problems, and win up to $15,000!

Applications Accepted for Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators - Deadline: February 28
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) welcomes applications for the third annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. This award recognizes outstanding public K-12 teachers for excellence in integrating environmental education into their lessons and connecting students with their communities and the natural world. Winning teachers and their school will receive each $2,000 to support their professional development and EE programs.

K-8 Students Invited to Participate in the National School Lunch Week Poster Contest - Deadline: February 28
The second annual National School Lunch Week poster contest promotes the importance of eating healthy sustainable foods in school! Students in grades K-8 are invited to submit posters describing what a healthy school lunch means to them. Posters should depict healthy school lunches and are encouraged to highlight the importance of local, organic and sustainable foods. The competition will be divided into two age groups: K-4th and 5-8th grade. Winners receive $100 and will be featured on the Earth Day Network homepage.

MnTAP Hiring Interns for Waste Reduction and Energy Efficiency Projects - Deadline: March 1
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is seeking junior or senior college students to work on waste reduction and energy efficiency projects at companies in Minnesota. MnTAP anticipates funding up to nine projects for the summer of 2014 in locations around the state. As a MnTAP intern, you will have the opportunity to affect change while working full-time at a manufacturing or healthcare facility. This experience not only prepares you for careers after graduation, but also provides you with an opportunity to help a company make changes to reduce pollution, increase energy efficiency, and save money.


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.

Applications Accepted for 2014 National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) - Deadline: March 1 
The NYSC is a residential science education program for young scientists the summer after they graduate from high school. Students from around the country are challenged academically in exciting lectures and hands-on studies, and have voluntary opportunities to participate in an outdoor adventure program, gain a new and deep appreciation for the great outdoors, and establish friendships that last a lifetime. Minnesota will select two seniors as delegates for an all-expenses-paid experience at a facility in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, June 27 - July 20.

Green Schools Conference

Registration Open for the Green Schools National Conference in March 
The 4th annual Green Schools National Conference will be held March 27-29, 2014 in Sacramento, CA. Join over 1200 green school supporters, share your expertise, and learn from others. This years topics will include curriculum that advances sustainability skills and knowledge for the 21st century; stewardship and service learning; sustainable facilities design, management, and operations; health and well being; and creating strong partnerships and networks.

Student Reporters Invited to Participate in Environmental Journalism Program - Deadline: March 15
Students between the ages of 13 and 21 are invited to participate in the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Young Reporters for the Environment competition. They may enter as individuals or as part of a class or group to investigate an environmental issue and report on it in writing, photography, or video. Entries must be relevant to participants' local community, connect to a global perspective, include possible solutions, and be disseminated to an appropriate target audience.

Discovery Education and 3M Search For America's 2014 Top Young Scientist - Deadline: April 22
Encouraging students to share their passion for science, the Young Scientist Challenge asks students in grades 5-8 to create a one to two-minute video communicating the science behind a possible solution to an everyday problem related to one of the following categories: How We Communicate, How We Move, How We Stay Healthy, How We Make A Difference - or come up with your own idea! Each national finalist earns an exclusive summer mentorship with a 3M scientist to complete a summer “innovation” assignment. The highest scoring finalist earns the title America’s Top Young Scientist and wins $25,000 and a trip to Costa Rica!

Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest - Deadline: May 16th 
This video contest raises awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. To inspire change, we invite students in Grades 4-12 during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video. Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories, Action or Awareness.

Join the Minnesota Zoo for the 2014 Summer Educator Expedition to the Amazon 
Join a group of educators and the Minnesota Zoo as we travel the Amazon Rainforest via Iquitos, Peru from July 1-11, 2014. We will gain first-hand experience with the content we teach: from biomimicry to biodiversity to rainforest conservation and sustainable development. Working closely with faculty from all over the world, we will engage in field investigations and get hands-on experience with various tools and techniques for data collection. Trip Fees: $2340 land cost plus airfare.

You're invited to the 2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change and Energy Education
The Will Steger Foundation's 2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education will be held August 4-6th at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone, MN. Integrate STEM content into any subject-area and deepen your ability to teach about energy and climate change with curriculum and experiences from this professional development event. The $125 cost includes two nights lodging, meals, with curriculum and materials.

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Across the Spectrum

Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators
This new e-book edited by Martha C. Monroe and Marianne E. Krasny has five chapters that can be viewed or downloaded at no charge. Environmental educators work in a variety of places to design, deliver, and evaluate programs that inform, motivate, and empower learners of all ages. This collection of resources, perspectives, and examples will help nonformal environmental educators learn more about the field of EE, access resources and gain skills to improve their practice and, over time, build a community of practitioners to advance the field. Future editions will be available with additional chapters that help environmental educators conduct nonformal EE around the continent.

Hypothermia Prevention: Survival in Cold Water
Hypothermia is a risk for anyone who enjoys activities like boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, or skiing. It can occur quickly and it can be fatal. Even a mild case of hypothermia affects your physical and mental abilities, and increases the risk of accidents. This website from the Minnesota Sea Grant describes the symptoms of worsening hypothermia and the appropriate first aid measures to take. It goes on to discuss hypothermia prevention methods and equipment available to those who are exposed to the risk of cold water immersion. 

No On But You

Book: No One But You
This book by Minnesota author Douglas Wood takes a look at how each person's experiences in the world are gloriously unique. Hear the hum of a bumblebee; watch a water strider march across a pond; taste a red, ripe strawberry; whistle with a blade of grass. A moving look at the experiences that belong only to us, marking a place on Earth that is ours alone. After all, who but you can remember your own memories? Wonderfully evocative of nature's sensory treasures, here is a perfect gift to share with a child -- or to inspire loved ones of any age as they set out to create their special place in the world.

Funding Resources


Christopher Columbus Awards - Deadline: February 3
This national award is a community-based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for middle school students. It challenges students to work in teams of three to four, with an adult coach, to identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution. Eight finalist teams will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World to attend National Championship Week and compete for U.S. Savings Bonds and the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant, plus a $200 development grant to further refine their idea.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Education Grants - Deadline: February 4
The EPA's Environmental Education Model Grant Program is currently accepting applications. The program works to engage communities across the country through educational projects that have a lasting impact on local watersheds and air quality. Grants will be awarded from each of the ten EPA regional offices and EPA’s headquarters in Washington, DC for a total of 22 to 32 grants. Each award will be an estimated $75,000 to $200,000.

Disney Friends for Change U.S. Grants - Deadline: February 6
Youth Service America (YSA) and Disney Friends for Change are offering youth ages 5-18 an opportunity to receive a $500 grant to help make a lasting, positive change in the world. Applicants leading high-impact and/or large-scale projects may also request an additional $500 grant (up to $1,000, total) to support their work. Whether you are passionate about protecting the planet, providing meals to those who need them, or giving kids the resources they need to star in their own play, you can be a Friend for Change.


Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grants - Deadline: February 14
These $2,000 - $5,000 grants are for permanent facility enhancements (both indoor and outdoor), such as school nature trails, landscaping projects, building gardens, and other projects that encourage parent and community involvement. We challenge ourselves to seek ways to provide the tools that help our educators and parent groups through challenging times efficiently and with the greatest impact. Public K-12 schools or non-profit parent groups associated these schools (i.e. PTO) are eligible to apply.

Gannet Foundation Community Action Grants - Deadline: February 15
The Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants support local groups involved in education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Average grant ranges from $1,000 - $4,000. In Minnesota, organizations in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud areas are eligible to apply.

Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Awards - Deadline: February 28
The Sustainability Journalism Award is open to students ages 13 to 18. Students can submit pieces (print, broadcasting, or photography) on the three thematic areas: 1. The importance of healthy, sustainable food served in school, 2. What your school community is doing to combat climate change or 3. How your school is promoting environmental education. Cash prizes between $100 - $500 awarded for winning entries.

Bodie McDowell Scholarship - Deadline: March 1
This scholarship program is open to undergraduate and graduate-level college students pursuing a degree in an outdoor communications fields including print, photography, film, art or broadcasting. Undergraduate applicants must be entering their junior or senior years of study; graduate student applicants must have at least one remaining year of study. Scholarship awards are usually given annually to three or more students. Awards can range from $1,000 to $5,000.

The Young Naturalist Awards - Deadline: March 1
The Young Naturalist Awards is a research-based science competition for students in grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication in science. The program invites students to plan and conduct scientific investigation, that includes observations, questions, predictions, trips into the field to gather data, and analysis. Tell us about your investigation in an essay that includes tables, charts, or graphs, and artwork, and photographs that help illustrate your findings. Twelve cash awards, two for each grade level, will be awarded to the authors of the winning essays.

The John Ball Zoo Society's Wildlife Conservation Fund - Deadline: March 3
The JBZS Wildlife Conservation Fund promotes understanding and enjoyment of rare, threatened and endangered animals and their habitats and supports zoological research that will directly benefit captive animal management. Many funded projects have been education based with an eye to helping communities learn about the wildlife around them. Grants are made up to $2500.

Recycling Bin Grants - Deadline: March 3
The Coca-Cola Company and Keep America Beautiful, Inc. announced a call for entries the Recycling Bin Grant Program, a program designed to expand and support recycling in communities across America. Eligible grant recipients for the public space grant include government agencies, civic organizations, schools and non-profit groups. Colleges and universities will complete a different application for a grant dedicated to them.


Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge - Deadline: March 4
This Challenge is a national environmental sustainability competition for grades K-12 students. Through project-based learning, students learn about science and conservation while creating solutions that impact their planet. Teams from across the country will be challenged to create sustainable, reproducible environmental improvements in their local communities. Classes not only win by learning how to make an environmental impact, but they can also win prizes like an equal share of a $50,000 scholarship, a $5,000 school grant, green prize packs, and more.

American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling AwardsDeadline: March 7
The AF&PA Recycling Awards recognize outstanding paper recycling efforts. Enter your business, community, or school (K-12) program for the chance to win a $1,500 cash prize, original framed artwork, and recognition in local and national media. By recognizing outstanding recycling programs, the AF&PA provides valuable case studies and best practices that can be replicated by other organizations across the country.

RGK Foundation Grants for Education, Community and Medicine/HealthDeadline: March 7
Grants up to $25,000 are available for nonprofits in the focus areas of Education, Community and Health/Medicine. The Education category includes programs that focus on formal K-12 education (particularly mathematics, science, and reading), teacher development, literacy, and higher education. The Foundation is also interested in programs that attract female and minority students into the fields of mathematics, science, and technology.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund - Environmental Initiative ProgramDeadline: March 12
The goal of this fund is to promote public use of open space that improves a community's quality of life and public health, while also ensuring the protection of healthy, viable and sustainable ecosystems by protecting or restoring habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species. The Fund assists public or not-for-profit entities with grants of up to $35,000 and will likely fund 4 to 6 projects this year.

Ben & Jerry's

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Grants ProgramDeadline: March 14
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 United States typically with budgets under $500,000, or organizations that have a sponsoring agency with this status.

Blandin Foundation Grants - Deadline: March, rolling
Blandin Foundation partners with community-focused organizations throughout rural Minnesota to build healthy rural communities. The Foundation awards five 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. Grant proposals greater than $50,000 are reviewed in March. Other grants may be submitted at any time.

Community POWER Grants - Deadline: March 24
The Community POWER team is looking for applicants to propose new and innovative ways to educate and actively engage residents in the Twin Cities and businesses in Ramsey County in changing their purchasing, reusing, and hazardous waste disposal behaviors to reduce garbage. There are three types of grants available 1. Traditional Grants up to $12,000; 2. Mini Grants up to $5,000; and 3. Business Education Grants in Ramsey County (ONLY) up to $12,000. Non-profit organizations and schools are eligible to apply.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on MN Resources (LCCMR) GrantsDeadline: March 28
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources issued its 2015 Request for Proposal for funding beginning July 1, 2015. Proposals are requested in seven areas, including Environmental Education. EE proposals must address education, information dissemination, and training efforts that will increase the knowledge and skills of students or the public to cultivate a sustainable lifestyle, improve and maintain water quality, reduce and monitor energy and water consumption, or restore and maintain a healthy and biodiverse natural environment.

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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