Nine diverse educational organizations from across the Upper Valley received Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative mini-grants this year, including several elementary and high schools, a preschool, and a library. The mini-grant program this year was a great success, utilizing one-time funds available from planned activities that were suspended due to the pandemic. While the UVTPC will not be offering mini-grants again in 2023, the Wellborn Ecology Fund will continue to offer their annual School Based Project Grants. Each grantee implemented programming to support and increase Place-Based Education for students and learners of all ages. The variety of programs demonstrates the creativity and breadth of place-based education programming:
- Randolph (VT) Elementary School built and supplied an outdoor classroom, featuring a soil testing station and weather monitoring equipment
- The Olive G. Pettis Library (NH) incorporated features into their library courtyard to attract birds, butterflies and bats where children learn about nature, native species and habitats through observation, exploration and play. The library also purchased books in the library that support these concepts and hosted a Saturday Story Time dedicated to animals and their habitats
- Hanover Street School (NH) expanded their school gardens and created programming connecting the school cafeteria, summer engagement for students, and a partnership with the local food shelf.
- This past summer, Thetford Academy (VT) hosted a Middle School Garden Camp engaging 10 students (8 participants and 2 high school interns). Students planted, harvested, picked berries and planted blueberry bushes, built more raised garden beds, and foraged.
- The Schoolyard Habitat Team at Maple Avenue Elementary School (NH) expanded their garden and pollinator garden habitat with more raised beds and plants and added a compost bin.
- The Prosper Valley School (VT) created new garden beds strategically placed next to the playground. Students broke ground, prepared the soil, planted seeds, and tended their crops. Produce was harvested for the school’s summer program and in the fall, many great harvests of radishes, tomatoes, peppers, basil, and beans were used in school meals.
- Union Street School (VT) took students on several field trips to immerse themselves in nature and learning, culminating in a student designed and run energy fair for the public. Students shared their personal experiences from the program and provided the public with facts about human energy use and its impact on the land.
- Creative Preschool Program (VT) bolstered programming around place-based learning and ecological inquiry, purchasing materials and tools to help children investigate, appreciate, and understand nearby ecosystems and micro-habitats.
- White River Partnership (VT) upgraded their river ecology education supplies to support programming with teachers and students, and engaged 10 schools and 400 students in spring Crayfish and fall Freshwater Snorkeling units.