Children attend Nature Camp through Vermont Institute of Natural Science’ Center for Environmental Education. (Courtesy photo).

Children attend Nature Camp through Vermont Institute of Natural Science’ Center for Environmental Education. (Courtesy photo).

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation announces $234,000 in grants to support place-based ecology education in the Upper Valley

Fund provides support to place-based ecology education programs throughout New Hampshire and Vermont’s Upper Valley

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is announcing $234,586 in grant awards from its Wellborn Ecology Fund. The grant dollars will provide support to place-based ecology education programs throughout New Hampshire and Vermont’s Upper Valley. Since its inception in 2001, the fund has awarded grants totaling more than $5.3 million to 125 organizations and programs throughout the Upper Valley.

These place-based ecology education programs increase knowledge of natural systems, provide opportunities for “hands-on” nature study, increase environmental skills, create links and networks among people and institutions and expand overall environmental education capacity in the region.

In 2013, the Foundation announced it would utilize Wellborn grants and other resources to increase access to high-quality, place-based ecology education in schools, with particular emphasis on K-8 education in underserved New Hampshire school districts, such as Claremont, Mascoma and Newport.

“We are continuing our strategy to target Wellborn grant dollars to underserved Upper Valley school districts in New Hampshire,” said Kevin Peterson, senior program officer and manager of the Wellborn program. “The superintendents of these districts understand the value of nature-based learning and have been incredibly supportive. These grants will enable hundreds of kids to meet science standards through outdoor, hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum that is meaningful and relevant.”

The Wellborn Ecology Fund was established at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation through a bequest by the late Marguerite Wellborn, a former Hanover resident and avid naturalist with an enduring passion for studying and protecting the natural world.

Grant awards were made to the following organizations and schools for programs in the Upper Valley:

Center for Northern Woodlands Education of Corinth, VT was awarded two grants:

  • $25,000 to support The Outside Story, a weekly essay series on natural-history topics; and
  • $15,000 to support a second edition of “The Outside Story,” a book-compilation of the best essays from the weekly series.

D Acres Permaculture Farm and Educational Homestead of Dorchester received $5,000 to support ecology education at Canaan Elementary School through gardening and composting.

Forest Kinder of Randolph Center, VT was awarded $3,313 to support a professional learning community for educators seeking to improve and expand outdoor play for young students.

Four Winds Nature Institute of Chittenden, VT was awarded two grants:

  • $25,000 to continue Upper Valley Linkages in Environmental Literacy, a professional-development program for area teachers and educators; and
  • $4,960 to provide The Nature Program at Maple Avenue School in Claremont through a service-learning initiative with students at Stevens High School.

Friends of Mascoma Foundation received $3,475 to establish a summer gardening education program in the Mascoma Valley Regional School District.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Site in Woodstock, VT was awarded two grants:

  • $60,000 to support the Wellborn Institute, a year-long professional-development program for Upper Valley teachers in New Hampshire schools to help them learn how to incorporate natural and community resources into school curriculum; and
  • $7,499 to continue the Forest for Every Classroom professional-development program in the Upper Valley.

Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site in Cornish was granted $5,000 to create new nature-oriented summer camp for teens, modeled on the successful Mountains & Rivers Forever camp at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.

SAU #6 (Claremont/Cornish/Unity School District) received $3,000 to continue and expand authentic student environmental research at Stevens High School through projects focused on mercury and invasive species.

SAU #60 (Fall Mountain Regional School District) was awarded $5,000 to embed place-based ecology education in a laddered curriculum for grades six through eight at Charlestown Middle School.

SAU #62 (Mascoma Valley Regional School District) received two separate grants:

  • $3,345 to support field-study days in Canaan Town Forest for grades one through eight; and
  • $2,500 challenge grant to support creation of a plan for development of physical space for hands-on, nature-focused, outdoor learning on the Indian River School campus.

SAU #88 (Lebanon School District) was granted $4,685 to start a new Forest Kindergarten program at Mount Lebanon Elementary School.

Sharon Elementary School in Sharon, VT was awarded $4,000 to develop, build and support a sustainable composting system at the school.

Soil Carbon Coalition received $5,000 to engage Upper Valley teachers and schools in exploring the role of soil in carbon and water cycling through materials and trainings.

Springfield School District in Springfield, VT was awarded $2,320 to provide transportation for students at Union Street School to implement stewardship projects at the new Muckross State Park.

The Fells received $5,000 to support ecology-education programming at its site in Newbury, NH.

The Newton School in South Strafford, VT was awarded a $2,500 challenge grant to support connecting school curriculum to nearby natural areas and providing professional development for teachers.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science of Quechee, VT received $20,000 to support continued delivery of VINS School Programs in the Upper Valley through its Center for Environmental Education.

Vital Communities of White River Junction, VT, was awarded $18,989 to expand farm-to-school programming in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire.

White River Partnership of South Royalton, VT received $4,000 to continue successful Monitoring the White River programs in 10 schools in the White River watershed.

For more information about the Wellborn Ecology Fund, visit www.nhcf.org/wellborn or contact Kevin Peterson at 603-263-8370 or kp@nhcf.org.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,700 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.