MARQUETTE - The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition is once again offering mini-grants for K-12 educators or other groups wanting to create or enhance environmental programming across the U.P.
The grants of up to $500 each have been awarded to many different projects in the past, UPEC communications coordinator David Clanaugh said, including the creation community gardens by elementary school students and the testing of soil samples on snowmobiles by high school students.
"It's an effort of the organization in sustainability of its mission by supporting young people in environmental education activities," Clanaugh said. "And also, the reality is that there's not sufficient public resources for these types of educational activities. We see this with declining school budgets, cuts at the state and local level. It's an opportunity for an organization like UPEC, in a modest way, to address the lack of resources for environmental education in general."
With a total budget of $3,000 and a maximum award of $500, the organization will provide at least six programs with a grant. Grant recipients are chosen by UPEC's board.
The organization will give preference to proposals looking to inspect the possible environmental effects of mining as well as programs that offer hands-on learning experiences.
"People on the UPEC board really enjoy reviewing these proposals and supporting these projects," Clanaugh said. "Every year it creates a lot of energy and good conversation at the UPEC board meeting in January."
Grant applications can be found online at upenvironment.org. All applications must be submitted by Jan 10 and can be sent via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent in a hard copy formate to UPEC, P.O. Box 673 in Houghton.
"We try to spread (the grants) around the Upper Peninsula, the entire region," Clanaugh said. "In recent years, we've been very fortunate to have great proposals from Sault Ste. Marie, Iron River, the Crystal Falls area, as well as in the central U.P."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.