SEEK Bulletin - November 1, 2012

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Greetings from SEEK!

This month provides opportunities to honor exemplary environmental educators as well as schools that are modeling environmental successes. Please take some time to recognize one of the many people or schools that make so many positive contributions to EE in Minnesota!

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

partner highlight
Three Rivers Park District

Eastman Nature Center
Eastman Nature Center is nestled in the sugar maple floodplain forest of Rush Creek in Dayton, MN. Last month, we opened our newly reconstructed, 13,000-square-foot building, that features quiet reading and observation rooms, three classrooms, a professional exhibit area with wildlife watching and unique, artistic educational exhibits, free-play puppet Tree, small live animals on display, an open-air deck, a small coffee and snack service, and an after-hours foyer restroom. Stop by and explore our new nature center!

Our professional naturalists offer a multitude of outdoor education programs for your school group, scout troop, senior center, home school group or other organized group. Our curriculum supports MN K-12 Academic Standards and you can review our Standards Matrix to decide which programs meet your classroom needs. We also bring our resources directly to you–for both indoor and outdoor programs.

MNA Conference

Registration Open for the 2012 Minnesota Naturalists' Association (MNA) Conference
The 2012 MNA Conference which will be held in Hackensack, MN on November 9-11. This years' theme is The Dirt on Nature, what's happening beneath our feet. The keynote presenters will be freelance writer and author of The Seven States of Minnesota, a Guide to Minnesota History, Geology and Culture, John Toren and the internationally renowned activitist, Winona LaDuke.

MAEE is pleased to announce the 2013 Environmental Education Awards
The Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (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 an awards in the following categories: Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education, Formal Environmental Educator of the Year, and Non-formal Environmental Educator of the Year.
Deadline: December 21st

Look, Don't Touch: The Problem with Environmental Education
In this article by Dave Sobel he discusses how first, environmental educators need to allow children to be “untutored savages” for a while. Nature programs should invite children to make mud pies, climb trees, catch frogs, paint their faces with charcoal, get their hands dirty and their feet wet. Second, environmental educators need to focus way more on hands-on experience with children and way less on systematic knowledge. Between the ages of six and twelve, learning about nature is less important than simply getting children out into nature.

Art Contest

Students in Grades 2-4 are Invited to Enter Art Contest Exploring Biodiversity
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies invites young scientists and artists in grades 2-4 to explore biodiversity. This year's contest theme is The World's A Place of Living Things. Learn about all the forms of life in a particular place. Then draw a picture to show what you learned. Make it colorful! The contest could be used to integrate reading, science, and geography, as well as art or to introduce or conclude a regular topic or unit. Prizes include Visa gift cards, certificate of participation, and artwork displayed on IGES's website.
Deadline: November 5th

Request for Proposal for Bisphenol A (BPA) in Thermal Paper Project
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is requesting proposals from qualified responders to partner together to document and address the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal receipt paper used by the hospitality sector in Minnesota. The MPCA has approximately $60,469 for a contract. The goal of this Project is to have up to 20 hospitality partners switch from using BPA-laden thermal receipt paper to paperless point-of-sale systems and to BPA-free paper for those cases where they must still provide a paper receipt.
Deadline: November 7th

National Park Service

National Park Service to Waive Admission Fees on 17 Days in 2012
To encourage Americans to explore America's natural beauty, rich history and culture, the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 days in 2012. The remaining fee-free dates are November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).

America Recycles Day is November 15 - Take the pledge to recycle MORE today!
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day (ARD). More than a celebration, ARD is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. One day to educate and motivate. There are many ways for organizations to get involved - you can host your own ARD event or you can take the pledge to recycle more.

Green Gifts Fair

Join us for the 7th Annual Green Gifts Fair on November 17th
Do It Green! Minnesota offers our annual Green Gifts Fair right before Thanksgiving. The event is meant to introduce green gift options and low impact ideas to celebrate the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Winter Solstice, New Year's and everything in between! Come begin your holiday celebrations with us on November 17th! SHOP. LEARN. EAT. CELEBRATE. ATTEND. RECYCLE. and COME CAR-LESS.

Green Living Project Fall Student Film Project
This biannual Student Film Project is a unique filmmaking competition encouraging students 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. Winning films will be screened at Green Living Project's Los Angeles Film Premiere in December! Winners will also receive a prize package from Student Film Project sponsors.
Deadline: November 28th

Enter the International Compost Awareness Week 2013 Poster Contest
The US Composting Council invites you to participate in our 13th Annual Poster Contest, Compost: Nature's Way to Grow! The competition is open to everyone -- students, youth groups, commercial composters, green industry businesses, gardeners and environmentalists. There are three contest divisions: grades 3-7, grades 8-12, college - adult. It is your opportunity to display your creative talent and show your belief in composting and in the benefits of using compost! The winning poster will be used to promote International Compost Awareness Week, May 6 - 12, 2013 and will be awarded a $500 savings bond prize.
Deadline: November 30th

Call for Presenters for the Minnesota Master Naturalist 2013 Conference
Are you willing to share your expertise in an area of interest to Master Naturalists? The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is currently seeking presenters for the 2013 Annual Conference to be held May 17-19 at the World Language Villages in Bemidji, MN. The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is designed to teach adult participants about natural and cultural history of the three major biomes of Minnesota.
Deadline: December 1st

Save the Date for the 2012 Healthy Schools Conference
Minnesota Action for Healthy Kids presents the Healthy Schools Conference on December 4 in St. Paul. The conference highlights the links between education and health to create policies and practices that improve both academic and health outcomes. This conference showcases cutting-edge research, evidence-based best practices, practical implementation strategies and Minnesota success stories demonstrated to improve student outcomes.  

EPA's P3 (People, Prosperity & the Planet) Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites submissions to the 8th Annual P3 (People, Prosperity & the Planet) Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability. P3 focuses on scientific projects and engineering designs that address the three components of sustainability: people, prosperity and the planet. The P3 Program is intended to support science-based projects and designs developed by interdisciplinary student teams that benefit people by improving their quality of life, promote prosperity by developing local economies, and protect the planet by conserving resources and minimizing pollution.
Deadline: December 11th

Minnesota Department of Education Accepting Applications for National Green Ribbon Schools Recognition
For the second year, the MN Department of Education is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize schools that are making a conscious effort to promote energy efficiency - both in the classroom and in practice with the Green Ribbon Schools program. To be considered for the program, a K-12 school will have achieved or made considerable progress toward the three pillars established in the program: 1) energy efficient buildings; 2) healthy students and school environment; and 3) environmental literacy of all graduates. The U.S. Department of Education expects to make decisions on final awards in April on Earth Day and will host a national recognition award ceremony in Washington D.C. in early June.

Educators that would like to learn more about green schools are invited to a workshop at Minnesota’s inaugural Green Ribbon Schools on either November 5 in West St. Paul at Garlough Environmental Magnet School or on  November 28 in Duluth at North Shore Community School.
Application Deadline: December 19th

Workshops for Educators Focus on "The Story After the Storm"
Over the next seven months both formal and informal educators who work with grades K-12 will have access to free workshops through the Science Institute for Educators series hosted by the Great Lakes Aquarium and the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. During the 2-hour workshops educators will join experts to discuss the consequences of the June 2012 flood that drenched the western end of Lake Superior. Attendees will receive lesson plans aligned to Minnesota academic standards and access to related activities. Educators who attend at least six of the workshops are eligible for a $100 stipend and CEUs.

Announcing GreenSneakers 2013 EcoChallenge for Education
GreenSneakers is excited to launch the 3rd Annual EcoChallenge for Education. Your school will have an opportunity to earn 50 cents a pound for collecting used tennis shoes that are then made available as affordable footwear for people in need around the world. In addition, the EcoChallenge awards schools cash prizes for collecting the most shoes per student in three enrollment categories. Registration is open and the event will run throughout the 2012/13 school year.

Call for applications - 2013 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators
Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. This award recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions will be selected to receive this award. Winners will receive a commemorative plaque and $2,000 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education.
Application deadline: January 31st

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

EPA Voluntary Guidelines

Voluntary Guidelines for States: Development and Implementation of a School Environmental Health Program
The EPA's Voluntary Guidelines for States: Development and Implementation of a School Environmental Health Program will help states establish and sustain environmental health programs for K-12 schools. The guidelines present recommendations, case studies, and resources that will help states build or enhance an existing program. The website includes an overview of the guidelines, as well as links to additional information and resources and helps to answer the questions: What is an effective state environmental health program for schools? Why are school environmental health programs important? How can the guidelines be used? and more.

To complement the guidelines, EPA developed a model K-12 school environmental health program as a resource that states can customize and share with schools and school districts to help them establish, or enhance an existing, school environmental health program.

The Fun Theory
An initiative of Volkswagen, The Fun Theory is a website dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it's change for the better. The Fun Theory Award recognized thoughts, ideas and inventions that help prove the fun theory. Check out the environmental-themed entries including Bottle Bank Arcade and The World's Deepest Bin.

GO (Go Outdoors) Cards
Jeffers Foundation Director, Sil Pembleton, has for many years been helping teachers and parents enhance children's educational experience by teaching them the benefits of going outdoors to discover and learn. She created ring bound "Go" (Go Outdoors) Cards for families that suggest convenient and practical outdoor activities for helping children realize their full potential all the while having fun. Jeffers shares these "GO" Cards free of charge through workshops for family groups.

Funding Resources

Guidelines for Excellence

Guidelines for Excellence in EE Small Grant Opportunity - Deadline: November 12
Five grants up to $1000 will be awarded to help defray the costs of conducting training on the NAAEE's Guidelines for Excellence publications with a focus on how they can be used in an urban context. Trainings can focus on any of the Guidelines publications (i.e., the entire set, a specific publication, or some combination of publications). Workshops can be designed as general professional development, as a means of building partnerships or for a specific audience. In addition, the project will provide free copies of the Guidelines publication(s) for all participants, and pay the travel costs for a trainer to facilitate the workshop.

Merrell Pack Project Activation Grant - Deadline: November 13
The Pack Project Grants Program will award grants up to $2,500 that are designed to give young individuals and 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. Applications are being accepted from individuals between the ages of 18 and 28 and 501c3 non-profits.

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program - Deadline: November 15
The Whole Kids Foundation, in collaboration with Foodcorps, is providing School Garden Grants to teach kids to garden and learn about topics such as nutrition and health, sustainability and conservation, food systems, and community awareness. Garden projects may be at any stage of development: planning, construction or operation. Awards of $2,000 are available. Nonprofit organizations and nonprofit K-12 schools are eligible to apply.

Green Partners Environmental Education Program - Deadline: November 16
Hennepin County's Green Partners EE Program seeks to fund three to five projects for up to $15,000 to implement an innovative project and seven to twelve projects for up to $8,000 to implement a project based on existing resources. This program supports organizations to actively educate and engage Hennepin County residents in making positive environmental changes in their daily lives.

EPA's Environmental Education Regional Grants - Deadline: November 21
The EPA's Office of Environmental Education has issued a Request for Proposals for grant-funded projects to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. EPA expects to award one grant per Region for a total of 10 grants nationwide; the award amount for each grant will be approximately $216,000.

Walmart Foundation 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.

Sea World & Busch Garden's Conservation Fund - Deadline: December 1
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education. We work with hundreds of organizations to protect animals, people and places. Aiming to achieve long-term conservation success, we support projects that are Science-based, Solution-driven, and Community-oriented.

Youth Garden Grant Award - Deadline: December 3
Youth Garden Grants are available to schools and community organizations with child-centered garden programs. Five winners will receive gift cards valued at $1,000, and 95 winners will receive $500 gift cards, to purchase gardening materials and supplies from their local Home Depot store.

EPA Fellowships For Greater Research Opportunities for Undergraduates in Environmental Studies - Deadline: December 5
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites applications for the Greater Research Opportunities Fellowships for undergraduate environmentally-related study for bachelor’s level students. The Agency plans to award approximately 40 new fellowships in the summer of 2013. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer of their junior year. The fellowship provides up to $20,700 per academic year of support and $8,600 of support for a three-month summer internship for a combined total of up to $50,000 over the life of the fellowship.

Temper of The Times Foundation - Deadline: December 14
The Temper of The Times Foundation promotes the use of marketing concepts to increase environmental awareness. Grants to non-profit organizations are between $5,000 and $15,000 and are awarded for projects that will lead to measurable outcomes for wildland ecosystem conservation and restoration. 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.

Annie's Grants for Gardens - Deadline: December 15
Annie’s is offering small grants to community gardens, school gardens and other educational programs 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.


Project Orange Thumb Grant Program – Deadline: December 15
Project Orange Thumb is a grant program that provides community garden groups with the tools and materials they need to reach their goals for neighborhood beautification and horticulture education. Ten winners will receive $5,000 in cash and tools to help support their goals of neighborhood beautification and horticulture education, and one applicant will receive a complete garden makeover.

Blandin Foundation Community Grants - Deadline: December 15
Blandin Foundation partners with community-focused organizations throughout rural Minnesota, especially in the Grand Rapids area, 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.

The Big Help Grant Program - Deadline: December 31
Nickelodeon's The Big Help Grant Program will award grants to schools and community organizations to support projects that inspire kids to (1) take care of the environment; (2) lead active, healthy lives; (3) engage in community service; or (4) improve their educational experience. Grants are for either $2500 or $5,000.

The Big Help