SEEK Bulletin - January 1, 2013

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Happy New Year from SEEK!

We are blessed to live in a state that offers so many wonderful environmental education professional development opportunities, classroom resources, programs for citizens, and more! Over the course of this upcoming year, SEEK Partners invite you to explore and experience our vast offerings including the Natural Playground Presentation on January 9, "The Story After the Storm" workshop series from January through April, the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education Conference in June, Minnesota Naturalists' Association Naturalist and Volunteer Trainings throughout the year, and so much more!

Check the SEEK Calendar for environmental education events.

partner highlight

Laurentian Environmental Center (LEC)
Laurentian Environmental Center (LEC) is a public residential educational facility in Northeast Minnesota that combines science, environmental education, leadership training, and outdoor skills recreation programs. We are accredited by The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation and are owned and operated by Mounds View Public Schools for use by people from throughout Minnesota and the Midwest.

Education programs are hands-on, discovery-oriented and aligned with Minnesota state graduation standards. Qualified and caring LEC staff lead instruction through an inquiry method of teaching and learning.

EE Week

Registration Open to Participate in the 2013 National EE Week, Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors
National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) -- April 14 - 20, 2013 -- is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education held each year the week before Earth Day and inspires environmental learning and stewardship among K-12 students. The 2013 theme, Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors, will explore how technology can enhance environmental learning both inside and outside the classroom. Once registered, you'll receive certificates of participation, free online resources, information on professional development and funding opportunities, and access to discounts on educational materials from our partners. There is no cost to register and participate in EE Week.

Announcing The Woodland School Classes for Spring 2013
Since 1998, the Woodland School has been assisting people responsible for managing both public and private land in creating and realizing their own conservation vision. The Woodland School education program offers practical workshops to guide private landowners and public land managers specifically in 1. Identifying the biotic community 2. Understanding threats to your land 3. Developing stewardship skills and 4. Refining your vision. The 2013 Schedule is open for registration.

Announcing the 2013 Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP) for Elementary Schools
Jeffers Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announce the launching of the Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP) designed to help ALL elementary schools who are interested in reducing the amount of waste generated in their school lunchrooms. Much of the waste generated by schools can be avoided by following some of the simple tips outlined by the WRAP program. This program is designed to help each elementary assess their present program and then provide them with the necessary resources to improve their program.


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.

Going on a Techno-Fast: Taking a Break from the Virtual World
Author Richard Louv shares how he and his wife committed to a techno-fast -- four days away from beeping gadgets, ringing phones, sawing neighbors, the on-demand life. Kids and adults pay a price for too much tech. "A growing body of research shows that juggling many tasks, as so many people do in this technological era, can divide attention and hurt learning and performance". Getting more music, art, yoga, meditation, etc. into our lives can help. But technology fasting while spending time in the natural world may be the most effective antidote.

Notice of Request for Proposal for K-12 Schools: Costs & Benefits Analysis of School Waste Management Programs
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is requesting proposals to conduct an in-depth analysis of Minnesota K-12 school solid waste management programs. The MPCA has approximately $45,000 for a contract that would include developing and administering a survey designed to collect waste management program information from schools, conducting outreach to schools to improve survey response rates, gathering and summarizing results, conducting an analysis of the results, and providing recommendations. The goal of this project is to gain an understanding of the costs associated with mixed municipal solid waste programs and the potential for cost reduction for schools that utilize best practices with respect to recycling and organics program operations and contracting practices.
Deadline: January 8th

Applications Open for the Young Eco-Hero Award
Have you been working to preserve the world around you? Have you been teaching others how to protect the environment? Have you been doing an environmental research project? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are a Young Eco-Hero. Action For Nature (AFN) is proud to honor the work of young people between the ages of 8 and 16 who have done creative environmental projects. The winners of AFN's International Young Eco-Hero Awards program receive a cash prize and a special certificate, as well as public recognition on our website and elsewhere.
Deadline: January 15th

Recycle for Rainforests

Teachers Partner with the Minnesota Zoo and Recycle Cell Phones to Save Rain Forests
Participate in the Minnesota Zoo's Recycle for Rainforests program for an easy, high impact, student service learning project that can REALLY make a difference! Start a cell phone recycling drive in your class or school! This is a great opportunity to introduce students to an authentic conservation project with tangible results. Participating schools will receive a  free kit to get started including a book, posters, parent letter templates, educational resources and more!

Workshop: Teaching Outside the Box: An Introduction to Environmental and Outdoor Education
Join us January 23 in North Mankato for this full-day workshop led by the Minnesota Dept. of Education, The Jeffers Foundation and the Dept. of Natural Resources and hosted by South Central Service Cooperative. This workshop will provide an overview of the benefits to environmental and outdoor education, how it can be integrated into multiple content areas and achieve academic standards, tips and skills to take kids outside, hands-on training on quality programs, and resources and community partners to further support school efforts in this area.

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

Announcing the DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition
The DuPont Challenge calls on students in grades 7 through 12 to research, think critically, and write a science essay that provides innovative ideas on our most pressing global challenges, or demonstrates an application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to our daily lives. Essays must be between 700 to 1,000 words in length, include a list of research sources, and fall under one of these four categories: 1. Together, we can feed the world, 2. Together, we can build a secure energy future, 3. Together, we can protect people and the environment, or 4. Together, we can be innovative anywhere. Prizes range from $200 - $5000 US Savings Bond.
Deadline: January 31st

Focused and Resourceful: MnTAP Interns Help Companies Reduce Waste and Energy Use
Businesses interested in reducing waste and improving energy efficiency are encouraged to apply for an intern in 2013. The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) intern program helps businesses address an environmental or energy efficiency project and save money. Each summer, six to nine highly qualified interns lead projects at Minnesota businesses that range from identifying hazardous waste reduction opportunities to investigating potential energy efficiency process improvements. The interns are chosen based upon their outstanding educational background and leadership capabilities.
Project Proposals Due: February 1st

Enter Your Successful Paper Recycling Program in the Recycling Awards Competition
Enter your successful business, community or school paper recycling program in the 2013 American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling Award competition. Each winning program earns $2,000, original framed artwork, and local and national recognition. New this year, schools are encouraged to submit student artwork created to help educate others on the importance of paper recycling, examples of which will be used in future AF&PA educational materials. Also new is a Fan Favorite award in each category where friends, colleagues, and fellow students vote for your entry on-line in a separate competition resulting in visibility and a $250 gift card for award-winning programs.
Deadline: February 15th

Apply for $1000 Professional Development Scholarships for Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest and Machu Picchu
Are you ready for a an experience that will feed your soul, expand your professional toolkit for inquiry based science, anchor your global perspective, and change your definition of professional development? Join us in Peru from July 2-11, 2013 for a professional development experience like no other. This Educator Academy is a cross-curricular professional development workshop for K-12 formal and informal educators. PLT Certification and PD Hours included; Graduate Credit, and Scholarships available! Land cost is $1985, plus air. Land cost is $985 for scholarship winners.
$1000 scholarship deadline March 8. Open registration through April if space is available.

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

MN Master Nat

Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Courses
The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is designed to teach adult participants about natural and cultural history of the three major biomes of Minnesota. Students who enroll in a class will be taught by an instructor who is affiliated with a local nature based center or natural resource focused agency. Students will receive 40 hours of classroom instruction covering the basics of ecology and systems. Each course costs $200.00 and includes course manuals and supplies.

Starting in January 2013, the Big Woods, Big Rivers classes will begin and will be offered in two locations:
1. Ney Nature Center in Henderson, MN on Tuesdays nights from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM beginning January 15th and ending on March 26th.

2. Headwaters Science Center in Bemidji, MN on Tuesday nights from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM beginning on January 8th and ending on March 26th.

Green Time for Sleep Time: Three Ways Nature and Outdoor Time Improve Your Child’s Sleep, A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Many U.S. parents are surprised to learn that their children suffer from persistent sleep deprivation - as much as two hours per day. This FREE 12-page guide for parents shares three ways nature and outdoor time can improve your child's sleep. In this report we provide some guidelines, suggestions and resources on how to get started. More time in natural settings can help a child get fresh air, be healthier, less anxious and depressed, feel calmer and more productive and, importantly, get a higher quality night's sleep.

Top 100 Forestry Resources
The Top 100 Forestry Resources is a list of the best 100 forestry sites on the web today. It includes everything from conservation, wildlife, environment and overall forestry sites that promote the health of Mother Nature and our society. Selections are grouped into five categories: Conservation, Silviculture, National & State Parks, Forestry Business, and General. Selections are based on a variety of factors including quality of content, traffic, search ranking, and their overall success in achieving forestry's many goals.

Funding Resources

Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) Grants - Deadline: January 5, 2013
The EREF, a private, grant making institution, whose mission is to support solid waste research and education initiatives, is inviting researchers to submit proposals on solid waste management issues contained in EREF’s Strategic Research Plan or on educational projects. Grants range from $15,000 to over $500,000 with the average amount at $100,000.

EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants Program - Deadline: January 7, 2013
The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. Applicants must be incorporated non-profits, federally recognized tribal governments, or tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues. Awards will be made in the form of a one-year federal grant in amounts of up to $30,000.

Volvo Adventure Competition - Deadline: January 31, 2013
The Volvo Adventure is an educational program that rewards environmental activities and the decision-makers of the future. To enter, form a team of 2 to 5 members aged 13 to 16. Perform an environmental project in your local community & submit the project via our online submission tool. The best projects are selected for an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden where they can win: 1st place = $10,000, 2nd = $6,000, or 3rd = $4,000.

MWMO logo

Grants for Water Quality Projects - Deadline: February 1, 2013
Partner organizations of the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) including nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, schools, local units of government, and business and professional associations are eligible to apply for these water quality improvement grants. Projects should: 1) Improve water and natural resources 2) Build community understanding, knowledge, and stewardship of water and natural resources. Mini Grants up to $2,000 and Planning Grants up to $10,000 are available.

American Honda Foundation grantsDeadline: February 1, 2013
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.

Merck Family Fund (MFF)Deadline: February 1, 2013
The goal of the MFF is to restore and protect the natural environment and ensure a healthy planet for generations to come and to strengthen the social fabric and the physical landscape of the urban community. The Urban farming and youth leadership program has three priority areas: Provide high quality leadership development and employment for youth; Support highly productive urban farming projects and increase local access to fresh food; and Engage residents in food access and food security issues in the community.

National Education Association (NEA) Learning & Leadership Grants - Deadline: February 1, 2013
These grants support public school teachers, 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.

National Education Association (NEA) Student Achievement Grants - Deadline: February 1, 2013
The NEA Foundation provides grants to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students' habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.  Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. Grant amount is $5,000.

Christopher Columbus Awards - Deadline: February 4, 2013
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 to that problem. Eight finalist teams will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World, plus a $200 development grant to further refine their idea.


Disney Friends for Change Grants - Deadline: February 10, 2013
Disney Friends for Change Grants offer youth ages 5-18 an opportunity to receive funding to help make a lasting, positive change in the world. Projects should highlight the creativity and commitment of young people working to meet the needs of others. Multiple grants of $1,000 will be awarded. Past winners have included a recycling initiative for #5 plastic bottle caps and a native plant restoration.

Ag Literacy Grant ProgramDeadline: February 15, 2013
The Ag Literacy Grant Program is targeted at K-12 educators, to encourage them to bring agriculture and food systems education "to life" by effectively integrating it into their classroom or school. Non-formal education applications will also be considered contingent on available funds.  New applications are strongly encouraged in the areas of youth gardening, unique integration and innovation in the classroom, and field trip experiences. The maximum award for any grant is $400.

American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling AwardsDeadline: February 15, 2013
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling Awards recognize outstanding paper recycling efforts. Enter your school (K-12), business, or community program today for the chance to win a $2,000 cash prize, original framed artwork, and recognition in local and national media. By recognizing outstanding recycling programs, the AF&PA Recycling Awards provide valuable case studies and best practices that can be replicated by other organizations across the country.

Gannet Foundation Community Action Grants - Deadline: February 15, 2013
The Gannett Foundation Community Action grant priorities include 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.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Undergraduate Scholarship Program - Deadline: February 15, 2013
NOAA offers scholarships to students who have completed their sophomore year and majoring in atmospheric, oceanic, or environmental disciplines supportive of NOAA's programs and mission. This program targets students attending minority serving institutions (MSIs) to increase the number of students who undertake course work and graduate with degrees in targeted academic fields integral to NOAA's mission. NOAA has identified “promoting environmental literacy” as a cross-cutting priority essential to achieving its mission.


Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grants - Deadline: February 15, 2013
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 these challenging times efficiently and with the greatest impact.  Non-profit public K-12 schools or parent groups associated these schools are invited to apply.

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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