Students at 25 Indiana schools this academic year will learn about the outdoors, thanks in part to a grant program that supports field trips to Indiana state parks and reservoirs.
The Discovering the Outdoors Field Trip Grant Program is for public, private, parochial or home-school educators and is administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF), the supporting non-profit of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The grants fund transportation costs, program fees and classroom supplies related to preparation or follow-up for the field trips.
An estimated 2,461 students, K-12, will benefit from the grant program in 2017-18. The program expects to distribute $7,026 through 27 grants. All valid applicants will receive funds this year.
This is the fifth academic year that the grant program has been in effect. Through the current academic year, the program has distributed more than $26,000 in overall funding and helped almost 8,100 students.
The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children, with financial help from the Indiana Master Naturalist Advisory Council, according to Jody Kress, executive director of the INRF.
“We appreciate the generosity of those who contribute to Indiana’s youth,” Kress said. “We hope to see this program grow so we can educate more students across the state about our natural and cultural heritage.”
Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding. Field trips to parks and reservoirs engage students in learning about Indiana’s fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats and conservation.