Students at the Hanover Street Elementary School in Lebanon, NH learn how to grow their own food thanks to Vital Communities' Farm-to-School program. Courtesy photo.

Students at the Hanover Street Elementary School in Lebanon, NH learn how to grow their own food thanks to Vital Communities' Farm-to-School program. Courtesy photo.

Wellborn Ecology Fund announces more than $80,000 in grants

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 announced $83,900 in grant awards from its Wellborn Ecology Fund to 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 million to 120 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.

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.

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 working closely with leaders in the Mascoma, Newport and Claremont school districts to develop a long-term partnership to offer more place-based ecology education opportunities in their schools,” said Kevin Peterson, senior program officer and Wellborn program manager at the Charitable Foundation. “Many of these grants enhance hands-on, nature-based learning in these three districts, as well as ongoing professional development for teachers, thereby advancing Marguerite Wellborn’s vision of greater ecological literacy.”

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

Bridgewater Village School in Bridgewater, VT received $500 to expand curriculum for the stream table program.

Canaan Elementary School received $750 to support implementation of a schoolyard gardening and composting program.

Center for Northern Woodlands Education of Corinth, VT was granted $5,000 to plan and develop a second edition of “The Outside Story,” a book-compilation of the best essays from the weekly series.

Creative Lives of Thetford, VT received $3,000 to expand its model of holistic, place-based education for youth through a pilot program at White River School, and to develop a professional development program for educators.

Enfield Shaker Museum received $5,000 to support a summer field-ecology course for middle and high school students.

Four Winds Nature Institute of Chittenden, VT was awarded $17,150 to create three professional learning communities of early-childhood educators in the Upper Valley who want to enhance hands-on nature experiences for pre-school children.

NH Project Learning Tree of Concord was awarded $5,000 to support training for teachers in Newport on field investigations and using science notebooks.

Newport School District received $5,000 to repair a boardwalk that provides access to the Sugar River and nearby wetlands for school curriculum and nature study.

Soil Carbon Coalition was awarded $5,000 to develop and test curriculum and fieldwork related to soil’s role in carbon and water cycling, in Mascoma, Hartford, and Rivendell high schools.

Sullivan County was awarded $25,000 to match County-appropriated funds for a new staff position to provide place-based ecology education coordination, support, and professional development opportunities to Sullivan County schools.

Vital Communities of White River Junction, VT received $7,500 for a Farm-to-School professional development course for teachers and other school staff; and $20,000 in program support for the Upper Valley Farm-to-School Network.

White River Partnership of South Royalton, VT received $5,000 to implement a monitoring program on the White River with 18 teachers at 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 603-653-0387 ext. 21270 or kevin.peterson@nhcf.org.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation was created in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire, and is dedicated to strengthening communities across the Granite State. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,700 philanthropic funds created by generous families, individuals and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving; supports critical work happening in New Hampshire communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.