New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Announces $300,000 in Grants to Upper Valley Organizations

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Concord — The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation has awarded $301,990 in grants from its Wellborn Ecology Fund to support ecology education programs throughout the Upper Valley.

The Wellborn Ecology Fund was established at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation through a bequest by the late Marguerite Wellborn, who was a Hanover resident and avid naturalist. Grants from the fund focus on place-based ecology education programs that increase knowledge of natural systems, provide opportunities for hands-on nature study and expand overall environmental education capacity in the region.

This year the Wellborn Ecology Fund made an $80,000 grant to Vital Communities, based in White River Junction, to build a centralized resource for place-based ecology education practitioners called the Wellborn Place-based Ecology Education Hub.

“The Wellborn Hub will serve as a nexus for place-based ecology education in the region and the ‘go-to’ resource for networking, professional development, referrals and information sharing,” Kevin Peterson, senior program officer at the Charitable Foundation and manager of the Wellborn program, said in a news release. “Over time, the Hub will advance the goal of making high-quality, place-based ecology education available to every Upper Valley school.”

Vital Communities was also awarded $20,000 to continue farm-to-school programming in the Upper Valley region.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Site in Woodstock was awarded two grants. A $50,248 grant will support the Wellborn Institute, a year-long professional development program for Upper Valley teachers in New Hampshire schools to help them learn how to incorporate natural and community resources into school curriculum. A $5,000 grant will continue the Forest for Every Classroom professional development program in the Upper Valley.

The Four Winds Nature Institute of Chittenden was also awarded two grants: $22,500 to continue Upper Valley Linkages in Environmental Literacy, a professional development program for area teachers and educators; and $5,000 to continue several professional learning communities that help early childhood educators use nature and the outdoors as a learning environment.

The Center for Northern Woodlands Education, of Corinth, was awarded $25,000 to continue The Outside Story, a weekly essay series on natural history topics.

Sullivan County was awarded a grant of $25,000 to be used toward funding the natural resources education and outreach specialist, who provides support and coordination to area schools on place-based ecology education.

The Vermont Institute of Natural Science of Quechee received $20,000 for continued delivery of VINS school programs in the Upper Valley through its Center for Environmental Education.

Several local schools also received grants.

The Albert Bridge School in Brownsville received $3,000 to support the Mountain Exploration project to introduce teachers to the surrounding landscape for curriculum connections. The Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Lebanon received $2,899 to expand the existing Forest Kindergarten to include a First Grant Forest Program. Richards Elementary School in Newport was awarded $5,000 to support planning and curriculum connections for a family science night in April 2018.

SAU 75 (Grantham School District) received $5,000 for the integration of a new outdoor classroom into school curriculum.

Local organizations with an emphasis on education also benefited.

The Enfield Shaker Museum was awarded $4,900 to support a summer field ecology program for middle and high school students. D Acres Permaculture Farm and Educational Homestead of Dorchester received $5,000 to continue ecology education at Canaan Elementary School through gardening and composting. ForestKinder of Randolph Center was awarded $2,500 to continue a professional learning community for educators seeking to improve and expand outdoor play for young students.

The Linking Lands Alliance of White River Junction received $4,443 to create and provide place-focused landscape maps for use in schools to enhance curriculum and to help meet Next Generation Science Standards. The Newton School in South Strafford was awarded a $2,500 grant to support the kindergarten Forest Day curriculum.

The Soil Carbon Coalition of Enterprise, Oregon and Thetford received $4,000 to fund teaching and curriculum focused on soil ecology. The Fells received $5,000 to support ecology education programming at its Newbury, N.H., site. The White River Partnership of South Royalton was given $5,000 to continue monitoring the White River program in schools in the White River watershed.

Since its inception in 2001, the Wellborn Ecology Fund has awarded more than $5.5 million in grants to 125 organizations and programs throughout the Upper Valley.