New Hampshire Audubon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New England Field Office, New Hampshire Project Learning Tree, and NH Fish and Game have joined efforts to support schools that want to achieve the benefits of nature-based studies for student development and learning. Our goals are to nurture future environmental stewards by connecting kids with their local environment and to enliven learning through nature.
Research has proven that nature-based learning has a positive impact on student academic and developmental growth.1 A survey of staff at 100 schools with active schoolyard-based studies had positive impressions about the impact of those studies on student development and performance.2 A comparative study of schools across the United States found that students who are engaged in learning that uses the natural environment as an integrating context scored 92% higher when compared to students following a traditional approach; scores improved in science, math, language arts, and social studies depending on the focus of their studies.3 Moreover learning that involves the student’s local environment and community contributed to pride and ownership in their work, fostering a growing stewardship ethic.
Grant Period: Open December 1, 2016 through January 30, 2017
Schools that teach Preschool-12th grade may apply for a Schoolyard Action Grant. Eco-Schools USA-NH seeking the School Grounds Pathway are encouraged to apply. NH Audubon staff is available to discuss project ideas and answer your questions.
Grant application questions address important project components. A project must have a team of three or more people working on its planning and implementation. These teams may be comprised of all school staff or include community members. Proposals should outline a plan for how the project will be integrated with school curricula; strong proposals will integrate multiple subject areas and involve students in its planning and implementation. Projects should have administrative support and a plan for project sustainability. Involvement and donations (time-in-kind or materials) by the community should be documented in the budget. If you are planning a garden for wildlife, a plant list must be included.
Examples of projects that qualify:
- Developing a plan and/or lessons to integrate the schoolyard studies into curricula
- Hiring a landscape architect to design a schoolyard plan with student input.
- Planting native trees, shrubs, vines or perennials to provide wildlife food or cover.
- Establishing pollinator gardens.
- Supplies needed to participate in a citizen science project such as Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feederwatch, Birdsleuth, or Yard Map, or New England Signs of the Seasons phenology project.
- Building ponds or other water sources such as birdbaths or fountains.
- Installing bird feeders and feeding stations.
- Construction of nature trails.
- Building small structures such as benches, bridges, etc.
Examples of projects that DO NOT qualify:
- Purchasing education supplies, unless supplies are related directly to the project
- Funding staff, speakers or other assistants on the project
- School grounds landscaping
- Vegetable gardens
Grant Award Requirements:
- Finish project within 1 year of the award.
- Submit a final summary that includes expenditures, pictures, accomplishments, and the number of participants in the project.
- Visit or participation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or NH Audubon staff.
- Sharing your project with others at a workshop or conference. (TBA by NH Audubon staff).
Links and Downloads:
We are available at no additional cost to help plan and implement your schoolyard projects.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can provide:
- Conceptual planning.
- Assistance with garden layout and
- Soil Improvement recommendations.
- Trail layout and installation.
- Plant choice recommendations.
- Class visit from a biologist.
New Hampshire Audubon can provide:
- Integrating schoolyard studies with the curriculum and standards.
- Schoolyard lesson planning.
- Programs and live animal visits that support the schoolyard studies.
New Hampshire Project Learning Tree can provide:
- Professional development with curricula and schoolyard planning.
- Visit NHPLT website for details.
New Hampshire Fish and Game can provide:
- Professional Development and wildlife information resources.
- Visit NH Fish and Game website for details.
Direct questions to any Schoolyard Action Grant Team Members:
- Ted Kendziora, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, email
- Judy Silverberg, New Hampshire Project Learning Tree, email
- Mary Goodyear, New Hampshire Fish and Game, email
- Hilary Chapman, New Hampshire Audubon, email
Mail, Fax, or Email Completed Application:
New Hampshire Audubon
84 Silk Farm Road
Concord, NH 03301
If you have questions about potential projects or the questionnaires, please contact Hilary Chapman, NH Audubon, by email or call 603-224-9909 ext. 337.
1 The Benefits of Place-based Education. A Report from the Place-based Evaluation Collaborative. 2nd Edition. 2010.
2 Israel, Ron and Kirk Meyer. “Schoolyard Learning: The Impact of Schoolyard Grounds.” Promise of Place, 2000. Web November 2015.
3 Israel, Ron and Kirk Meyer. “Schoolyard Learning: The Impact of Schoolyard Grounds.” Promise of Place, 2000. Web November 2015. Page 15.