Audubon offers grants to schools

ADDISON COUNTY — Otter Creek Audubon Society (OCAS) announces their annual Environmental Education Grants program for 2016. Grants of up to $800 are available to provide Addison County students with enrichment experiences in the natural world, supporting the OCAS mission of encouraging a culture of conservation.
Last year, Environmental Education Grants supported outdoor learning for students in eight schools. Cornwall Elementary and Salisbury Community schools hosted a live raptor program from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to further their understanding of owls and hawks. Sixth-graders at Orwell Village School studied water ecology through the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s On-Water Paddling Ecology program. Vergennes Elementary sixth-graders participated in nature and astronomy studies during their overnight at Common Ground in Starksboro. Hannaford Center’s Diversified Occupations students advanced their knowledge of bird migration through bird banding at New York’s Braddock Bay Bird Observatory.
Grant funds helped to bring the Four Winds nature program to all students at Robinson Elementary in Starksboro. Weybridge Elementary students explored engineering principles through their extensive study of birds’ nests. Hoping to attract more birds to their play yard, Quarry Hill preschoolers planted bird-friendly shrubs.
A homeschool family borrowed a pair of OCAS binoculars to assist in their nature studies. Finally, the fourth- and fifth-grade Weybridge Elementary class topped off a month of bird study activities with a field trip to the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington. Several of these teacher-designed programs were supported with classroom and field participation of OCAS volunteers.
All interested elementary and middle school teachers are encouraged to develop proposals and apply for the Environmental Education Grants, which may be used to help defer the cost of transportation, equipment, admission fees or outside presentations. Proposals that actually get students out into the natural world will be favored.
For further information and an application, visit the OCAS website at ottercreek.wordpress.com, or contact Carol at 713-818-7033. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 15.

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