(UNDATED) – Students at 67 Indiana schools this academic year will experience the outdoors thanks in part to a grant program that supports field trips to Indiana State Parks.
The Discover 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 DNR.
The grants, ranging from $72-$200, fund transportation costs, program fees, and classroom supplies related to preparation or follow-up for the field trips.
An estimated 4,921 K-12 students will benefit from the grant program in 2019-20. The program expects to distribute $11,624 through 72 grants.
This is the seventh academic year that the grant program has been in effect. Through the current academic year, the program has distributed more than $41,000 in overall funding and helped more than 15,000 students visit an Indiana state park for a guided hike or talk with an interpretive naturalist.
The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children in parks. Financial assistance also comes periodically from the Indiana Master Naturalist Advisory Council, and its contribution this year allowed the fund to double the number of grants offered, according to Jody Kress, executive director of INRF. DNR staff also contribute to the fund through the State Employees Community Campaign.
“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 legacy.”
To donate, visit IndianaNRF.org. Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding. Field trips to state parks engage students in learning about Indiana’s fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats, and conservation.