SEEK Bulletin - March 1, 2014

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Greetings from SEEK!

March 20 is the first official day of Spring. And with it will hopefully come some warmer weather. But even if we're still buried under the snow, there are plenty of EE opportunities to brighten our day! Check out the MAEE Conference news as well as the start of two Minnesota Master Naturalist courses, a Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor Training, the new environmental education cohort, and more!

Don't forget to check SEEK's Jobs and Internships pages as many organizations continue to hire their seasonal staff.

In this issue:

partner highlight

Prairie Wetlands Learning Center

Prairie Wetlands

The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center is located in Fergus Falls and lies at the gate to the Prairie Pothole Region. We are dedicated to providing environmental education opportunities for students, private landowners, and the general public, and to fostering stewardship by demonstrating methods for protection, enhancement and restoration of the prairie pothole ecosystem.

It includes 330 acres of native and restored prairie, 28 wetlands and nearly 4 miles of trails. The Visitor Center features classrooms, a 2500 square foot exhibit area, dining hall and kitchen, as well as a deck that provides views of the surrounding prairies. The dormitory and residential EE program can accommodate up to 65 students and teachers.

Registration is now open for the Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom Workshop: An Immersion Experience for K-12 Educators from July 14-17, 2014. Learn how to use the outdoors as a classroom with integrated curriculum in support of your state's academic standards - plus earn 30 clock hours.

SEEK Calendar

Professional Development for Environmental Educators


  • 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 Bloomington
  • March 4-5: Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor Training will be held at the Maplewood Nature Center in Maplewood
  • March 8:   Photography Workshop will be held at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls  
  • March 14: Phenology Adventure with Jim Gilbert will be held at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland
  • March 17-23: National Wildlife Week 2014: Make a Splash for Wildlife   
  • March 19-May 28: Minnesota Master Naturalist Big Woods, Big Rivers Course will be held at Whitewater State Park in Altura
  • March 25:  Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth
  • March 28-June 8: Minnesota Master Naturalist North Woods, Great Lakes Course will be held at Laurentian Environmental Learning Center in Britt
  • March 28: Science Institute for Educators - Real Stories in Research will be held at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland  
  • March 29: Discovery Dinner Series - Moths and Butterflies of MN will be held at Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley  
  • March 30: National Geographic Photo Seminar: Nature & Landscape will be held at the Minneapolis Central Library in Minneapolis

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


EE News

MAEE logo

Call for Presentations for the 2014 Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (MAEE) Conference - Deadline: March 11th
The 2014 MAEE Conference will be held June 20-22 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone. The theme for this years' conference is Rooted in Diversity. We invite you to submit a proposal for a session that provides helpful information, program models and/or resources for helping participants, organizations and audiences in a way that is relevant to the conference theme and the accompanying strands.

Nominate an Educator for the 2014 Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (MAEE) Awards - Deadline: April 14th
The MAEE awards program exists to recognize and encourage excellence in the field of environmental education. Please take a moment to nominate a deserving fellow environmental educator for the 2014 awards. Awards will be given in the following categories: Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education, Formal Environmental Educator of the Year, and Non-formal Environmental Educator of the Year.

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.

The Hybrid Mind: The More High-Tech Schools Become, the More Nature They Need
This article by Richard Louv describes the benefits of the "hybrid mind". He states that the ultimate multitasking is to live simultaneously in both the digital and physical worlds, using computers to maximize our powers to process intellectual data and natural environments to ignite our senses and accelerate our ability to learn and feel-combining the resurfaced "primitive" powers of our ancestors with the digital speed of our teenagers. He believes a central goal of modern education should be to encourage such flexible thinking, to nurture the hybrid mind - to stimulate both ways of knowing in the world: digital and direct experience.

Every Child Needs Nature: 12 Questions About Equity & Capacity
Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or set of abilities. Every child. If a child never sees the stars, never has meaningful encounters with other species, never experiences the richness of nature, what happens to that child? In this article Richard Louv identifies 12 questions to explore in regards to equity and capacity and how different cultures connect with nature.

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.

Calling all Middle School Students: Enter the Climate Change In Focus Video Challenge - Deadline: March 18
The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Environmental Education Foundation launched a new video contest that asks middle school students to produce a short video about why they care about climate change and what they are doing about it.   Winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website and the top 3 entries will receive cool prizes like a solar charging backpack. The first 100 contestants to enter will also receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Green Schools Conference

Registration Open for the Green Schools National Conference
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.

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!

MN GreenCorp

Apply to be a Minnesota GreenCorps Host Site - Deadline: May 5
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is accepting applications from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2014 - 2015 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. Members will serve on projects in the areas of Air Quality, Waste Prevention and Recycling, Green Infrastructure, and Living Green Outreach.

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

school garden

A Garden 4 Every School website and grant
This new program initiated by Jeffers Foundation is intended to promote school garden projects in Minnesota. The website features twelve successful school garden programs - 11 elementary schools and 1 environmental learning center - and has all the information you need to start and sustain a school garden. Each featured school has its own page that includes a short video on each school's garden, a case study, and photos taken at each site. 

Elementary schools interested in starting a school garden project can apply for a $500 start-up grants. Application deadline is March 3rd.


The Coalition for Education in the Outdoors
This non-profit network of outdoor and environmental education centers, nature centers, conservation and recreation organizations, outdoor education and experiential education associations, institutions of higher learning, public and private schools, fish and wildlife agencies, and businesses share a mission: the support and furtherance of outdoor education and its goals. Goals include personal growth and moral development; team building and cooperation; outdoor knowledge and skill development; environmental awareness, education, and enrichment. Each year we host a Research Symposium to advance the empirical, conceptual, and theoretical bases of outdoor education.

Secchi tube

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Secchi Tube Classroom Activity
A Secchi tube is a tool used to measure water clarity. This classroom activity or student project includes instructions on how to conduct a lesson that uses the Secchi tube to measure and compare stream transparency from collected water samples. Included in the lesson are equipment needs, ideas for water sampling locations, instructions for a long-term project and a one-time project, and more.


Funding Resources

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.

Xcel Energy Foundation Grants - Deadline: March 10 and May 9
Xcel Energy's Environmental Focus Area Grants support nonprofit organizations in their Environmental Education and Environmental Stewardship projects. Priorities include EE programs or projects that 1. provide K-12 students with hands-on EE experiences and curriculum that foster an ethic of stewardship and conservation and that support academic content standards; and 2. programs or projects that provide training, resources and support to enhance the quality and effectiveness of K-12 environmental educators. 

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

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.

Craig Tufts Environmental Educational Award - Deadline: March 28
This Award is given to a young person between the ages of 8 and 18 who displays an interest in the natural world to attend a week-long, summer outdoor educational adventure camp. The 2014 camp will be June 28 – July 4 at the Family Nature Summit in Pacific Grove, CA. The Fund provides travel, room and board and program fees for the award winner and an accompanying parent or guardian. Applicants must submit an original essay and application form.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) - Nomination Deadline: April 1, 2014; Application Deadline: May 1, 2014
The PAEMST are the Nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. The awards recognize outstanding K-12 teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. The 2014 Awards will honor mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers working in grades K-6. Teachers may nominate themselves. Nominated teachers will receive an invitation to begin the application process. Recipients of the award receive 1. a certificate signed by the President of the United States; 2. a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C.; 3. $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Water Quality Improvement Grants - Deadline: April 4
Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is offering Cost Share grants for projects that protect and improve water and natural resources within the Nine Mile Creek Watershed. Funds may be used by public or private landowners implementing projects that support one or more of the following: 1. Improve water quality or increase the capacity of the watershed to store water 2. Preserve, protect, and restore native plant and wildlife habitats, with emphasis on lakes, rivers, and wetlands 3. Protect and preserve groundwater quality and quantity. The maximum grant amount is $3,000 for residential projects, $10,000 for lake and townhome associations and $25,000 for commercial and government projects. The minimum grant amount is $500.

Clean Air

Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay Scholarship - Deadline: April 4
This scholarship provides an opportunity for Minnesota high school seniors to gain an understanding of the benefits of using cleaner burning, renewable fuels like biodiesel by writing a 1,000 word essay. Two scholarships will be awarded - first place: $1,000 scholarship and second place: $500 scholarship.

American Public Health Association (APHA)'s Get Ready Scholarship - Deadline: April 8
This Scholarship is designed to encourage high school and college students to focus on the importance of emergency preparedness, including natural disasters, infectious disease, and other emergencies. Applicants write an essay between 350 - 700 words using one of the predetermined questions. Six scholarships of $400 each will be awarded: two for high school seniors; two for college undergraduates; and two for graduate students.

National Wildlife Refuge Friends Grant Program - Deadline: April 14
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is requesting proposals from "Friends" groups for projects that assist organizations to be effective co-stewards of our natural resources within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Competitive seed grants ($1,500 - $5,000) are provided to creative and innovative proposals that seek to increase the number and effectiveness of organizations. The following grants are available: Special Initiative: Friends Peer-to-Peer Coaching grants; Start-up Grants; Capacity Building Grants; and Project Specific Grants (i.e. funds for developing outreach and conservation education programs for local schools, communities, and private landowners.)

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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