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Grants available for field trips to state parks and reservoirs

Educators interested in taking students, grades K-12, on field trips to an Indiana state park or reservoir in the 2014-2015 school year can receive financial help through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation.

The Discovering the Outdoors Field Trip Grant Program is for public, private, parochial or home-school educators. In 2013, the program benefited more than 1,400 K-12 students from 16 schools.

“We are proud to be a partner in improving school access to our state’s natural and cultural resources through field trip grants for all types of educators and students across Indiana,” said Bourke Patton, director of INRF.

The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a longtime DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children.

Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding. Field trips to parks and reservoirs engage students in learning about Indiana’s fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats and conservation.

“Field trips to our state parks and reservoirs give children a sense of place,” said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship for the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “These trips let them understand how previous generations viewed the significance of Indiana’s natural and cultural resources, and at the same time let them make great memories that they will carry into adulthood.”

The maximum grant award is $250 per application.

Applications are accepted from May 1 – June 30 prior to the school year for which the grant is requested. Applications must be postmarked no later than June 30.

Applicants will be notified by Aug. 1 regarding potential grant awards.

The grant application is at IN.gov/inrf/educate.html.

The INRF is accepting donations to the fund from individuals, businesses or anyone who supports the idea of getting kids outdoors.

For further information, including how to donate, email DiscoverOutdoorsGrants@dnr.IN.gov.