Audubon environmental education grants available

ADDISON COUNTY — Applications for the Otter Creek Audubon Society (OCAS) annual grants are now available. This Environmental Education Grant program awards Addison County teachers with grants of up to $800 to support the OCAS mission of encouraging a culture of conservation.
The deadline for application submission is Monday, Nov. 5. Funds will become available Jan. 1 for use during 2019.
OUTDOOR LEARNING IS a joyful experience for this Shoreham Elementary sixth-grader.
Photo by Nancy Wollum
Last year, Environmental Education Grants supported outdoor learning for students in ten schools. Addison County primary students topped off their study of winter adaptations with a January trip to Huntington, where outdoor experiences at Audubon Vermont and the Birds of Vermont Museum focused on how animals deal with the cold. In May, Bristol Elementary first graders also traveled to these Huntington nature centers. Their hands-on activities reinforced their spring bird studies. Grant funds for busing allowed primary students at the Whiting Sudbury Learning Academy to travel to their sister school’s outdoor classroom for biweekly learning experiences.
In Starksboro, the grade 3/4 class learned firsthand about different habitats through weekly walks around their school. Grant funds purchased individual waterproof journals and folding pocket guides. Nature journaling was also part of naturalist Mary Holland’s presentation for the grade 3/4 class at Cornwall Elementary. All students in The Bridge School in Middlebury participated in the Trout in the Classroom program. To enrich their understanding of water quality and erosion issues their OCAS grant paid for field trips to sites where their fish would be released. Shoreham Elementary sixth-graders also dealt with water issues as part of their On-Water Paddling Ecology day at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
Two schools used their grant funds to enhance their school’s grounds for outdoor learning. The Red Cedar School students built a pollinator garden, a bird feeding station and a vegetable garden. They saw the results of their labors when migrating birds returned in the spring. At Weybridge Elementary, the improvement project will involve the reclaiming of a wooded trail behind the school.
Finally, a teacher at Mary Hogan Elementary in Middlebury put grant funds toward the preservation of a great horned owl, which will be used in the yearly third-grade bird unit. 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 further information and an application please visit the OCAS website at wp.me/pt0Pq-1S3. Or, leave a message for Carol at 713-818-7033. Applications are due on Monday, Nov. 5.

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