The Natural Resources Foundation (NRF) was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the Caerus Foundation, which will support several of NRF’s key conservation priorities, including state natural areas and environmental education.
The Caerus Foundation’s grant provides critical support for NRF’s environmental education initiatives including the Field Trip Program, the Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund, and F.I.E.L.D. Corps, a program run by the Wisconsin Green Schools Network (read on for more details on F.I.E.L.D. Corps). Additional funding will support land management and invasive species removal at four priority state natural areas across Wisconsin including Blue River Bluffs and Blue River Sand Barrens in Grant County, Squirrel River Pines in Oneida County, and Kohler Park Dunes in Sheboygan County.
This marks the first time that the Foundation is helping support F.I.E.L.D. Corps, and the grant will be used to fund this program in two schools in Milwaukee, including Escuela Verde and Hawley Environmental School.
F.I.E.L.D. Corps stands for “Fostering Inquiry and Empowering Learners through Discovery,” and is a year-long program that engages teachers and students in meaningful, outdoor experiences encompassing core classroom curricula and real-world community projects. Through the program, schools work with a conservation biologist who helps students and teachers plan a conservation project that features hands-on outdoor learning experiences.
The program kicked off in 2002 through a partnership between a wetland restoration ecologist and a teacher at River Crossing Environmental Charter School in Portage, Wisconsin. This initial partnership was so successful that multiple schools across the state adopted the program. Educators see F.I.E.L.D. Corps one of the best ways to engage children in environmental education. Past projects include restoring eroding shoreline, designing and planning a rain garden, building handicap accessible wildlife viewing platforms, and growing food for a local food pantry.
F.I.E.L.D. Corps has already proven to have a lasting impact on kids and teachers in Wisconsin, and NRF is very excited to be a part of this initiative. Want to help support our environmental education programming? Visit our online donation page and designate your gift to Environmental Education to make an impact in the lives of children.