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Local Audubon grants help fund kids’ education on the natural world

ADDISON COUNTY — Otter Creek Audubon Society (OCAS) is announcing their annual grants to provide Addison County students with enrichment experiences in the natural world. The 2016 Environmental Education Grants program awards teachers with grants of up to $800 to support the OCAS mission of encouraging a culture of conservation.
Last year, Environmental Education Grants supported outdoor learning for students in ten schools. Cornwall Elementary students studied tracking and built sand traps to confirm their town’s wildlife corridors. Willowell students at Vergennes advanced their tracking skills as well, through wilderness workshops with renowned tracker Susan Morse.
Grant funds brought live animal programs from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to all students in Bridport Central. Addison Central first-, second- and third-graders topped off their bird studies by traveling to Huntington to participate in programs through Green Mountain Audubon and Birds of Vermont.
At Middlebury Union High School, tenth-graders explored insect diversity in two separate areas, analyzing data and setting up permanent collections. Sixth-graders from Shoreham Elementary delved into water ecology through Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s On-water Paddling Ecology program.
Finally, Leicester Central students partnered with Otter Valley Union High School students to experience firsthand the natural and human history of Hawk Hill. Several of these teacher-designed programs were supported with classroom and field participation of OCAS volunteers.
All interested elementary, middle and high school teachers are encouraged to develop proposals and apply for the OCAS Environmental Education Grants. Funds may be used to help defer the cost of transportation, equipment, admission fees or outside presentations. Proposals that get students out into the natural world will be favored. For more information and an application visit the OCAS website at http://wp.me/pt0Pq-1vm or contact Carol at 713-818-7033. Applications are due on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

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