A Boost From a Grant Can Help Environmental Causes

Schools have a long history of allowing students to get immersed in environmental and conservation studies, projects or causes. When the first “Earth Day” was celebrated on April 22, 1970, it marked the first time in history that students in classrooms across the country spent their physical education classes picking up litter or taking part in other simple environmental tasks.

As “green energy” and “going green” become more common parts of our vocabulary and, ultimately, in the way we live our lives, it makes sense that our nation’s schools will continue to be on the front lines of such work.

One key for cash-strapped schools is to obtain grants from any number of foundations, organizations or businesses to help fund green projects. Names such as American Honda, Boeing, Captain Planet Foundation, Coca-Cola, and the National Education Foundation are just a sampling of the hundreds of sources of grant money available to help protect the environment. These sources have helped schools spearhead thousands of field projects addressing conservation and environmental issues.

It is also common for schools to take advantage of their own state’s energy grants. A good example unfolded in the Geneva School District, which recently received $36,500 from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation as a reimbursement for lighting projects in two of the district’s elementary schools.

The money was used to pay for lighting retrofitting during renovation projects at the schools. In addition to replacing many light fixtures with more energy-efficient light bulbs, as many as 110 fixtures between two elementary schools were removed. The district reported to residents that the work resulted in energy savings of more than 27,000 watts of electricity. It was a good start, they insisted, on reaching an overall goal of reducing district-wide energy use by 10 percent during the 2009-2010 school year.

If all school districts across the nation could somehow attain a similar goal, the amount of savings in electricity usage would be impressive.

In another Midwest state, Missouri’s Department of Conservation offers  many education grants through its “Fresh Afield – Serving up a Slice of Conservation” program in which the emphasis is on getting school children out in nature and understanding the importance of conservation at a young age.

In this particular area of conservation study and grants, it is common for zoos in major cities to have similar offerings to keep children aware of the pros and cons of nature’s interactions with humans.

The canvas for learning about our environment and the habits we can all live by to conserve our natural resources, and the canvas for obtaining funding to help with those causes, are both endless with opportunities.


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