SEEK Bulletin - April 1, 2013

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Happy Earth Day from SEEK

On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. From Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York, communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. Learn more about how you can get involved and check out the SEEK Calendar for local EE events.

The SEEK Jobs and Internships pages continue to be full of great EE positions!

In this issue:

partner highlight

Women's Environmental Network

Women's Environmental Network

The Women's Environmental Network (formerly the Forum of Women in the Environmental Field) provides current information on environmental topics, builds personal and professional networks, encourages and supports women, and promotes a better understanding of women's role in preserving and improving the environment. The Network sponsors six events a year on topics related to the environment or environmental careers. Events have included speakers considered to be experts in their field and have included issues related to politics, wildlife conservation, energy, sustainable business and networking opportunities.


EE News

EE Week

Celebrate National EE Week April 14-20th
National Environmental Education Week is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education 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. Whether you are an educator looking to engage your students and inspire real-world problem-solving in the classroom, a homeschooling parent looking to encourage leadership in your children, or a community leader looking to promote local habitat conservation, participating in EE Week is a terrific way to enhance learning and bring about positive change in your school and community!

Hamline University studies the history of environmental education in Minnesota
The following excerpt is shared with permission from the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education. Over the past three years, Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education has undertaken a project to collect oral histories from Minnesota's environmental educators. The project was done in two phases. The first phase focused on the "pioneers" of EE, examining the period between 1970 and 1990. This phase of the project was created by Kevin Clemens as his capstone thesis. A second phase of study examines the period from 1990 to the present.

Announcing the 2013 Hamline Rivers Institutes - FREE for Educators
Hamline University presents its acclaimed Rivers Institute, a three day field-based professional development opportunity that inspires, educates, and prepares 3rd-8th grade teachers to engage students in STEM disciplines through hands-on, inquiry-based investigations at local watersheds. Two institutes will be held -- one on the St. Croix River June 24-26th, and one on the Mississippi River July 29-31st. Both institutes include, at no cost to teachers, three full days of experiential instruction and lunches, the Waters to the Sea multimedia tool, CEUs, a $100 mini grant, and the option to purchase two graduate credits at a reduced rate.

Registration Open for the Will Steger Foundation's Two Summer Institutes
Registration is now open for the Will Steger Foundation's Two summer professional development opportunities. The Summer Institute for Energy Education will be held at the Audubon Center of the North Woods from June 16-18th and the Summer Institute on Minnesota's Changing Climate will be held at Fort Snelling State Park from August 6-7th. Register for one or both. Scholarships available.

Galapagos Islands Wildlife Expedition and Conservation Field Study Tour in July
Join the Minnesota Zoo on an intimate Galapagos Island experience from July 8-18, 2013, exclusively for K-12 teachers. Visit eight unique islands with a small exclusive group of educators for a truly 'up close and personal' experience with nature and the rugged beauty of the islands. Activities include visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station; observing nesting sites of thousands of shorebirds, and much more. Cost is $3,400 land cost (plus airfare to and from Quito.)

Week-Long Workshops Offered on Energy for Middle and High School Teachers
Discovering Science on the Range in the Field of Energy is a cooperative effort involving the Center for Renewable Energy Education and Demonstration (CREED) Project, Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education and the Laurentian Environmental Center, designed for high and middle school teachers who wish to bring their knowledge about the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy industry in Minnesota up-to-date and thereby be able to encourage their students to choose a future career in this field. The workshops will be held June 16-21st and July 21-26th.


The 2013 Midwest Environmental Education Conference (MEEC) will be September 25-28 in Iowa
The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and the Iowa Association of Naturalists are hosting the 2013 MEEC. Teachers and naturalists throughout the Midwest will find the conference energizing, useful, and rewarding to attend. This regional gathering is meant to enlighten and inspire teachers, naturalists, and other environmental educators. Conference strands include: Sustainability, EE Literacy, Natural Resources, Inspirational, & Management/Leadership.

Nominate Environmental Stewardship Awards Program - Deadline: April 12th
The Lake Superior Binational Program seeks nominations for its Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. If you are doing great work to restore the natural environment, or know someone who is putting forth great efforts to restore or protect Lake Superior's natural environment, help to make others aware by submitting a nomination for this award. Both self-nominations and nominations for others are welcome.

'America's Top Young Scientist' Challenge Open to 5th - 8th Grade Students - Deadline: April 23rd
The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge encourages students in 5-8th grade to solve everyday problems using science and innovation. To enter the 2013 competition, students must create a 1-2 minute video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to how we live, how we work or how we play. One student will win the coveted title of "America's Top Young Scientist." The winner will be awarded $25,000 and other finalists will receive exciting prizes.

Nominate a Young Environmental Hero for a $2500 Barron Prize - Deadline: April 30th
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Each year, the Barron Prize selects ten winners nationwide. Half of the winners have focused on helping their communities and fellow beings; half have focused on protecting the health and sustainability of the environment. The goal of the Barron Prize is to celebrate such heroic young people and to inspire others to do their part.


Apply to be a MN GreenCorps Host Site - Deadline: May 6th
Applications are being accepted from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the Minnesota GreenCorps program. MN GreenCorps is an environmentally-focused AmeriCorps program where members spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. Members will serve in the areas of Energy Conservation, Waste Prevention and Recycling, Living Green Outreach, and/or Green Infrastructure. 

Avoid wasting hundreds to thousands of dollars on your school's utility bills
The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) designed the "Make A Splash" program to help schools save energy and money. We're offering low-cost energy & water saving opportunities for school kitchens and sinks with discounted pre-rinse spray valves ($28) and water aerators ($0.50). CERTs will also calculate the energy and water savings gained through your participation in this program for you to report against your school's energy efficiency, water conservation, or sustainability goals.

State will phase out use of anti-bacterial chemical
All state agencies will eliminate purchasing of hand soaps, dish, and laundry products that contain triclosan by June of this year. By purchasing items without triclosan, state agencies are doing their part to keep this harmful chemical out of Minnesota waters. Simple changes in our everyday routines such as how we choose the cleaning products we buy, or the way we clean our houses, can reduce our long-term exposure to potentially harmful substances.

Jump start your Spring gardening efforts with an affordable rain barrel or compost bin
It's a great time to get a jump start on gardening and water conservation efforts by setting up a compost bin or rain barrel at your home. The Recycling Association of Minnesota is working with local cities and counties to host several rain barrel and compost bin distribution events throughout Minnesota. Residents will be able to purchase discounted compost bins ($55) and rain barrels ($69).

Leak Kit

MPCA Offering Free Leak Detection Kits
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is calling on residents to check their toilets for leaks this spring. To assist with that goal, the agency is distributing a FREE packet of leak detection tablets to interested households. Experts recommend that toilets be checked for leaks on a semiannual or annual basis. A silent toilet leak can quietly "rob" a home of 50 to 300 or more gallons of water each day. This can lead to higher water and sewer bills and the waste of a finite natural resource. Leaks can also shorten the lives of septic systems and private wells.

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Muppets "Make Earth Day Every Day" - Vintage PSAs
This fun YouTube video featuring Jim Henson's Muppets characters contains vintage public service announcements. The compilation includes "Frog Ad Agency" and "Rats At Home" from the Make Earth Day Every Day campaign. Sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, the messages incorporate topics of clean air, clean water, and the 3R's.

How's My Waterway

How’s My Waterway App and Website
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers this app and website to help people find information on the condition of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams across the United States from their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. This app uses GPS technology or a user-entered zip code or city name to provide information about the quality of local water bodies. It provides easy, user-friendly access to the health of a waterway, whether it is safe for swimming and fishing, and what is being done about any reported problems.

Outdoor Classroom

Video: The Outdoor Classroom - Team Teaching with Mother Nature
This FREE three-part video shows the Why and the How of the confident utilization of nature's own classroom in the words and experience of working teachers. Part One is an introduction to the topic. Part Two shows how easy it is to get ready to take kids outdoors to learn and Part Three gives you the benefit of real teacher experiences in how to do it. The Jeffers Foundation created this video to help teachers, parents and administrators realize how important and easy team teaching with mother nature can be. The video is available on DVD or can be viewed on the Jeffers Foundation website. A "Facilitators Guide" is available to accompany the video.

Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools

Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
This free guide from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can help your school and school district reduce the amount of waste you generate. You'll learn how to start a waste reduction program or expand an existing one. The guide will show you how your program can benefit your school, your community, and the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your waste. The appendices provide you with forms to track your results, lists of recyclable materials, links to additional resources, and questions to ask potential waste and recycling haulers. These materials used in conjunction with the Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools guide will help you get your program off the ground and keep it running for years. 


Funding Resources

Water Quality Improvement Grants - Deadline: April 5th
Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is offering Cost Share grants for efforts 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 Choice Scholarship - Deadline: April 5th
The Minnesota Biodiesel Essay Contest provides an opportunity for MN 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.

Xcel Energy Foundation Grants - Deadline: April 5th
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.

Thacher Environmental Research Contest - Deadline: April 15th
The 2013 Thacher awards are given to students in grades 9-12 who demonstrate the best use of satellites and other geospatial technologies or data to study Earth. The main focus of the project must be on the application of the geospatial tool(s) or data to study a problem related to Earth’s environment. Cash awards will be given to the top three projects: $2,000 for 1st place, $1,000 for 2nd place, and $500 for 3rd place. Teachers of the winning students/teams will receive a $200 gift card.

Every Day Capacity Building Grants - Deadline: Ongoing, due April 30th to be reviewed for summer cycle
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and Toyota seek to strengthen the stewardship of public lands by strengthening Friends Groups through funding for organizational capacity building. Twenty five grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded to those groups who make the best case for how the funds will build their capacity to better serve the lands they love.

Young Environmental Hero ($2500 Barron Award)Deadline: April 30th
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors 10 inspiring young people - ages 8-18 - who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. The goal of the Barron Prize is to celebrate such heroic young people and to inspire others to do their part. Winners each receive $2,500 to support their service work or higher education.

The Lawrence Foundation - Deadline: April 30th
The Lawrence Foundation funds grants to support environmental, education, human services and other causes. We offer both program and operating grants and in one case also directly sponsored, organized and hosted a workshop that brought together academics, non-profits and funders to explore the issue of environmental economics.  Award amounts vary. Nonprofit organizations, public schools, and libraries are eligible for contributions or grants. (Note: Religious, charter or magnet schools are NOT eligible for funding.)

Patagonia Environmental Grant Program - Deadline: April 30th (if you're applying directly to a retail store, applications are accepted year round)
Patagonia funds only environmental work. We support small, grassroots activist organizations with direct-action agendas, working on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. We help local groups working to protect local habitat. Your efforts should be quantifiable, with specific goals, objectives and action plans, and should include measures for evaluating success.  Most grants are in the range of $3,000 to $12,000.

Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation Grants Deadline: April 30th
The Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation funds innovative projects that foster connections between individuals, communities, the environment and the world at large. The foundation funds a broad range of focus areas and is most interested in projects that require and/or inspire those directly benefiting from the project to give back to their communities both during the project and into the future. Proposals are accepted for single year, multi-year and matching grants. Grants Range from $500 to $30,000.

Archery in Schools

Archery In The Schools Equipment Grants - Deadline: May 1st
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Archery in the Schools program introduces Minnesota students to archery by providing schools with the best equipment, training, and curriculum available at the lowest possible price. Financial assistance is for schools or non-profit organizations and provides archery equipment through a competitive grant program. Schools will be required to provide $1,600, and the DNR will fund the rest. The equipment's retail value is nearly $5,000.

American Honda Foundation GrantsDeadline: May 1st
Grants of $20,000 to $75,000 are provided in the fields of youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy. Eligible organizations are nonprofit organizations, public school districts, and private/public elementary and secondary schools.

Brower Youth Awards

Brower Youth Awards Deadline: May 13th
The Brower Youth Awards has launched the prize search for outstanding grassroots environmental leaders across North America. We celebrate eco-activists, ages 13-22, leading the way to a green, just future. Six Brower Youth Award recipients will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Recycling Bin Grants - Deadline: May 17th
The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) is accepting applications for the 2013 John Maattala bin grant. Applications must be submitted by a RAM member to be eligible to receive bins through the grant. RAM is offering several types of recycling bins this year: Bottle bins, Rubbermaid Half Glutton bins, Paper Desk Side bins, collapsible Fling bins, and ClearStream bins. RAM also offers free downloadable recycling signs for your bins.

Bush Fellowship ProgramDeadline: May 24th
The Bush Fellowship is an opportunity for individuals to increase their capacity for and improve their practice of leadership while working with others to solve tough problems in their communities. During the Fellowship, Bush Fellows have the opportunity to try different strategies intended to mobilize stakeholders to engage in creating change around the identified issue. The Bush Fellowship is a two-year commitment and funds are paid out in equal monthly installments. Funding ranges from $30,000 to $80,000.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on MN Resources (LCCMR) GrantsDeadline June 7th
The LCCMR has issued its 2014 Request for Proposal for funding beginning July 1, 2014. 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 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 SEEK or contact Colleen Schoenecker, SEEK Coordinator, at or 651.757.2700 or 800.657.3864.

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