Posts Tagged ‘community development’

Green Infrastructure Grants Available for Small Communities

News

Green infrastructure grants available for small communities

Jun 1, 2017 | News and Announcements

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is pleased to announce the request for proposals (RFP) for the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant Program. The Mini-Grant Program will provide funding to help small and medium sized communities improve water quality, manage stormwater, and enhance community well-being. Grants of up to $20,000 USD will support green infrastructure (GI) implementation in U.S. or Canadian municipalities with fewer than 500,000 people. Eligible projects include GI pilot installations, removing institutional or policy barriers, educational programming, developing partnerships with other agencies, or community GI planning efforts. Applicants are restricted to municipal government agencies, regional authorities, or registered nonprofit organizations serving eligible communities.

Mini-grant recipients will join the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Network and be paired with a mentor who has successfully implemented GI in their community. Both the mini-grant program and mentoring network are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program, led by the GLC with support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The goal of this program is to catalyze the adoption of GI practices and policies across the Great Lakes basin by providing mid-sized municipalities with resources they frequently lack.

For more information about the RFP and Mentorship Network, please go to our website. The Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program will also hold webinars to discuss the RFP and Mentorship Network on June 13, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and July 10, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (register for these webinars here). The deadline to submit proposals is July 31, 2017.

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DNR Announces 2017 Community Forestry Grants

Up to $90,000 available for forestry projects statewide

Contact: Kevin Sayers, 517-284-5898
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 9, 2016

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the availability of grant applications for the 2016-17 DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program. The grants are funded through the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program.

Local units of government, nonprofit organizations, schools and tribal governments are eligible and encouraged to apply for the grants, which can be used for a variety of projects including:

  • Urban forest management and planning activities.
  • Tree planting on public property.
  • Urban forestry and arborist training and education events and materials.
  • Arbor Day celebrations and materials.

“Assistance provided through this grant program will help communities and partners interested in creating and supporting long-term and sustained urban and community forestry projects and programs at the local level,” said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry Program coordinator.

Grant applications must be postmarked by Sept. 16, 2016. Projects awarded funding must be completed by Sept. 1, 2017. All projects must be performed on public land or land that is open to the public.

A total of up to $90,000 is available for projects statewide. Depending on the project type, applicants may request grants up to $20,000. All grants require a one-to-one match of funds, which can be cash contributions or in-kind services but cannot include federal funds.

For a grant application or more information, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/ucf, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898 or sayersk@michigan.gov, or write to DNR Forest Resources Division, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Growing More Than Plants: School Gardens Improve Quality of Life for Students and Communities

Healthy Eaters, Strong Minds: What School Gardens Teach Kids

August 10, 2015 7:03 AM ET
Original article published on NPR
Tall brick walls conceal a colorful garden at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., where students like Romario Bramwell, 17, harvest flowers and produce. The program is run by City Blossoms, a nonprofit that brings gardens to urban areas.

Tall brick walls conceal a colorful garden at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., where students like Romario Bramwell, 17, harvest flowers and produce. The program is run by City Blossoms, a nonprofit that brings gardens to urban areas. 

School is still out for the summer, but at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., students are hard at work — outdoors.

In a garden filled with flowers and beds bursting with vegetables and herbs, nearly a dozen teenagers are harvesting vegetables for the weekend’s farmers market.

Roshawn Little is going into her junior year at Eastern, and has been working in this garden for three years now. “I didn’t really like bugs or dirt,” Little says, thinking back to when she got started. “Well, I still don’t really like bugs, but I like the dirt,” she laughs. She gathers a handful of greens, yanks from the stem and pulls up a baseball-sized beet.

During the summer, Little gets paid to work Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. with City Blossoms, a nonprofit that brings community gardens to schools, community centers and other places where kids gather in urban areas.

Little believes that working in the garden has taught her to try all sorts of new things — like eating different kinds of vegetables more often. And she’s taken those healthy behaviors home with her. Little brings home vegetables from the garden, and she says her eating habits have encouraged her family to buy more fruits and vegetables.

Yanci Flores (left) and Roshawn Little harvest beets from the garden at Eastern Senior High School on July 17.Yanci Flores (left) and Roshawn Little harvest beets from the garden at Eastern Senior High School on July 17. Lydia Thompson/NPR

“We’re a chubby family and we love to eat. Well, I do,” she adds with a laugh. “We mainly live around liquor stores and snack stores. There aren’t that many grocery stores. They’re way out, and you have to drive so far” — a common problem in low-income urban areas. “It seems so pointless, when there are snack stores right there,” she says.

City Blossoms is one of many groups across the country teaming up with local communities to install school gardens, like the one at Eastern, in areas with low access to fresh, healthy foods. These gardens, advocates say, are really outdoor classrooms where kids learn valuable lessons — not just about nutrition, but also about science and math, even business skills.

By The Books

Many of these groups have big ambitions to tackle complex problems. But there is research that shows the benefits of school gardens can be real and measurable, says Jeanne McCarty, the executive director of REAL School Gardens.

“There’s a trend across the country where kids are not spending enough time outdoors, period,” McCarty says.

Top Left: Nychele Williams, 15, gathers basil in the garden at Eastern Senior High School. Bottom left: Yanci Flores rinses recently harvested beets. Right: Carrots and beets are displayed at the Aya farmers market, where students sell their produce on Saturdays.

Top Left: Nychele Williams, 15, gathers basil in the garden at Eastern Senior High School. Bottom left: Yanci Flores rinses recently harvested beets. Right: Carrots and beets are displayed at the Aya farmers market, where students sell their produce on Saturdays.  Lydia Thompson/NPR

To counter that, the nonprofit, which operates in Texas and Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, works with schools to create “learning gardens” and trains teachers on how to use them to get students engaged and boost academics. For example, the gardens can be used for math lessons — like calculating the area of a plant bed — or learning the science of how plants grow.

McCarty says REAL School Gardens — which has built nearly 100 gardens — is constantly evaluating the outcomes of its programs, and the numbers are encouraging.

She says partner schools have seen a 12 to 15 percent increase in the number of students passing standardized tests — not just those in the garden program, but schoolwide.

Students at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., trim bouquets to sell at the farmers market.Students at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., trim bouquets to sell at the farmers market.

And 94 percent of teachers in the REAL School Garden programs reported seeing increased engagement from their students, according to an independent evaluation conducted by PEER Associates and funded by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

She says the benefits don’t end with the students, either. Schools that installed learning gardens saw less teacher turnover, McCarty says.

Principal Margie Hernandez tells us she’s seen the effect firsthand among her teachers.

“They start realizing that they need something to invigorate themselves, so they can invigorate their classrooms and invigorate their students,” she says. Her school, Pershing Elementary in Dallas, has worked with REAL School Gardens since 2011.

Rebecca Lemos-Otero (right), co-founder and co-executive director of City Blossoms, helps Erwin Tcheliebou, 15, pick flowers to sell at the farmers market. Behind her is a wall featuring the painted portraits of Eastern Senior High students who have worked in the garden.i

Rebecca Lemos-Otero (right), co-founder and co-executive director of City Blossoms, helps Erwin Tcheliebou, 15, pick flowers to sell at the farmers market. Behind her is a wall featuring the painted portraits of Eastern Senior High students who have worked in the garden.

And for her students — who come from predominantly low-income backgrounds — the experience can be a nutritional eye-opener, Hernandez says. “It totally changed my kids’ perceptions of where food comes from, and what it takes to produce food.”

If They Grow It, They’ll Eat It

Many studies have found that kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they help garden them. That’s part of the motivating principle behind Colorado-based Denver Urban Gardens, or DUG, a school garden program that puts a heavy emphasis on having kids taste the produce they grow.

DUG has 13 garden programs at schools where more than 90 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. Some of the produce that students grow then gets sold to the school cafeteria. That way, kids can recognize the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor in the lunch line. DUG has found that 73 percent of the students who work in the school garden reported increasing their actual consumption of produce.

Rebecca Andruszka, who works with DUG, says her friend’s children will only eat vegetables from the garden at school — not from the grocery store.

“I think it’s just that it seems less foreign when you’re a part of the growing process,” Andruska says.

Rebecca Andruszka, who works with DUG, says her friend’s children will only eat vegetables from the garden at school — not from the grocery store.

“I think it’s just that it seems less foreign when you’re a part of the growing process,” Andruska says.

Roshawn Little (left) invites customer Nate Kohring to try the herbed salt with bread at the Aya farmers market on Saturday.i

Roshawn Little (left) invites customer Nate Kohring to try the herbed salt with bread at the Aya farmers market on Saturday.

“I used to spend money on anything, mainly junk food,” Little says. “Now, as I’m working here, I learned how to use my money more responsibly.”

Nadine Joyner of Nutrition Synergies LLC, a nutrition education company, has a booth next to the kids at the market. She often buys produce from them to incorporate into her quiches. She says she’s constantly impressed by the kids’ knowledge of what they’re selling — they know how to grow it, how to prepare it, and how to cook it.

“It’s a very impressive thing to see young urban entrepreneurs,” Joyner says, looking over at the kids. “It’s a refreshing thing.”

Joyner believes that teaching young people the importance of healthy eating will have long-term payoffs.

“The payoff is exponential, because they’ll be young mothers or young fathers someday, and they’ll feed their children based on what they’ve learned now,” she says.

Students from Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., sell vegetables, soaps and salts at the Aya farmers market on July 25.i

Students from Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., sell vegetables, soaps and salts at the Aya farmers market on July 25.

But the kids aren’t thinking of that bigger picture. Instead, they’re just enjoying the little things, like the way their hands smell after harvesting herbs, or the satisfying crunch of a freshly picked carrot.

2014 Student Contests Announced!

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Information

Jennifer Hunnell

Michigan Arbor Day Alliance

551 Courthouse Dr, Ste. 3

Charlotte, MI  48813

(517) 543-5848 ext.5

miarborday@gmail.com

Contests for Trees Inspire and Engage

The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance’s (MADA) Go Green Youth Challenge (GGYC) program celebrates all that trees give us by engaging Michigan’s youth in community development and service-learning through a friendly, statewide competition. The program has two parts, a fundraiser and a writing contest.  K-12 students are encouraged to participate in one or both.

The fundraiser challenges students to come up with ways to raise money to plant trees in Michigan. Some ideas might be: bake sales, pop can drives, seed sales, classroom coin wars, get pledges for a walk-a-thon…the sky is the limit! The individual or team who raises the most will win a tree planting for their school or community as the Grand Prize winner. All money collected directly funds community tree plantings and statewide outreach efforts.  Also consider incorporating an environmental message in order to teach as well as fundraise.

The GGYC Creative Writing Contest seeks to engage Michigan students by getting them to explore their imagination.  All K-12 students are eligible to submit a creative writing piece of any type and tell us what it would be like “If Trees Could Talk.”  Prizes are available to students for both the fundraiser and the writing contest. 

The GGYC fundraiser runs from January 13 until March 31, 2014.  The Creative Writing Contest begins on the same date, but entries are due by mail a bit earlier, March 3, 2014.  Complete program details, rules, and entry forms can be found on our website at www.miarbordayalliance.com.

Since the program began in 2011, Michigan’s youth have helped plant over 600 trees in communities across our beautiful state.  We invite you to join the cause and Go Green in 2014! 

We would like to thank everyone who participated, including our sponsors:  ITC Holdings Corp., Lansing Board of Water and Light, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Eaton Conservation District, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, and WKAR.

The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance (MADA) is a coalition of organizations and agencies dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Arbor Day throughout Michigan.  Our dedication comes from our belief in the importance of trees and their role in community health and well-being.  Since 1993, MADA has provided educational programs and services to Michigan communities.

 

MADA is a program of the Eaton Conservation District.

The Be BIG Contest

BeBIGContest

Share Some BIG Ideas

Clifford is excited to celebrate his 50th Birthday with you!  He is asking all of his fans to give him the best gift ever to BE BIG!  Being Big is about being Big-Hearted.  It’s about having a Big Spirit.  Being Big is something we should all do more often.

It only takes a little to BE BIG.

Clifford’s BIG Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Respect Others, Work Together and Be Truthful) were borne out of the curriculum developed for the award-winning animated television series – which airs on PBS KIDS.  The goal of BIG Ideas is to support children’s growing understanding that the actions they choose make a difference to themselves and others.  The BIG Idea present value-based content that engage children in important life lessons.

 

The Contest

Bring YOUR BIG Idea To Life!  If you have a BIG Idea that demonstrates Clifford’s BIG Ideas, let us know!  The BE BIG Fund can help bring YOUR winning idea to life with the help of Scholastic, HandsOn Network and, of course, Clifford!  The 5th Annual BE BIG in Your Community Contest is open NOW!  Enter now for the chance to bring your BIG Idea to life with a $5,000 community grant.  Other prizes consist of 5 $1,000 first prize grants.  Remember, it only takes a little to BE BIG!

You can enter online, or by mailing in this entry form.

This contest is open until June 23, 2013.  Full contest rules can be found here.

Unique Community Resource

Have you ever heard of a Little Free Library?  If you haven’t you’re not alone.  I myself did not know this amazing program even existed until recently.

Begun by a group of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, this program promotes literacy and the love of learning while also building a sense of  community that spans across generations.  How this program works is amazingly simple.  You either purchase or build a “Little Library;” mount it in a public, accessible place; stock it with books; spread the word and voila!  A Little Free Library is born!  The principle behind these libraries is “take a book, leave a book.”  There’s no lending period, no rental fees.  The idea is a continual book exchange.  The contents of the Little Free Library can change every day depending on the amount of use.  Many of these little libraries contain books for all ages.  And if you want to start your own and need help, their website has a lot of helpful tips and resources, plus a host of people to contact if you have trouble.

 

Picture                     

Examples of Little Free Libraries

 

This is an international program with a global map.  If you want to start your own Little Free Library location you can get yours added to the map, or you can use it to find ones near you.  There is at least one location in every state in the U.S. and on nearly every continent.

This unique “little” idea certainly has an extensive reach.

 

         

Outdoor Classroom Guide

Now that school is back in session thoughts may be turning toward potential fall projects.  Among the many options have you considered an outdoor classroom?

There have been countless studies recently that show how important getting outside is for kids.  But time outside is hard to find and once you find it, what do you do with it?  This guide to constructing your own outdoor classroom may give you some inspiration…or some much-needed help if you are already pursuing this.  Designs can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Originally published by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and then updated by the National Association of Conservation Districts, this pdf gives diagrams of different outdoor classrooms, links to educational resources, a long list of activities, and tips on outdoor classroom components and maintenance.


Now I know what you’re thinking…that this sounds like a great idea, but there’s no way my school could afford to do it.  Your plans do not have to be extremely complicated.  Just by incorporating one or two ideas or activities you can introduce your students to a whole range of new experiences and possibilities.  But if you want to pursue a larger-scale project here are some resources that may help you make your dreams a reality:

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants

The North Face Explore Fund Grants

Captain Planet Foundation Grants

American Community Gardening Association – there’s a listing of available community garden grants in their newsletter

Michigan Community Foundation Grants

The deadlines for the two grants listed below have already passed for this year, but will be offered again next year:

Go Green Youth Challenge Tree Planting Grants

MI Department of Natural Resources Community Forestry Grants