Education, Nonprofits, and Sustainability

Partners receive grant for outdoor education

December 21, 2018
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Blanford Nature Center students binoculars
Courtesy Blanford Nature Center

A group of partners have been given a grant from a local foundation for a new initiative to create outdoor education experiences.

Grand Rapids Public Schools, or GRPS, said this week the grant is from The Wege Foundation in Grand Rapids for the collaborative Grand Rapids Environmental Education Network, or GREEN, initiative.

GREEN’s mission is offer students "equitable access to high-quality environmental education in West Michigan."

Collectively, GREEN envisions a future where young people throughout West Michigan are "active environmental stewards" and community members.

GREEN is made up of numerous organizations "committed to environmental education": Blandford Nature Center; GRPS; Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department; Grand Rapids Public Museum; Groundswell - Grand Valley State University College of Education; John Ball Zoo; Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds – Grand Valley Metro Council; Outdoor Discovery Center; Our Community’s Children; and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

“Our goal is every student, every year, is outside learning. We are committed to students getting real-world experience directly tied to their classroom learning,” said Clayton Pelon of the GVSU College of Education and lead on the grant. 

GRPS said the goal is to create an environmental education model that can be adapted to other districts.

The model will include a clear account of the GREEN collaboration framework and share best practices and strategies for overcoming challenges. It will also provide ideas for future study and implementation.

It is the intent of the partners to present GREEN through regional and national networks.

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