State park field trips help young students learn

Indianapolis, In. — Students at 24 Indiana schools this academic year will have the chance to learn about the outdoors, thanks in part to a grant program that supports field trips to Indiana State Parks. Kids trip

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 Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The grants fund transportation costs, program fees and classroom supplies related to preparation or follow-up for the field trips.

An estimated 2,218 K-12 students will benefit from the grant program in 2018-19. The program expects to distribute $4,905 through 24 grants.

This is the sixth academic year that the grant program has been in effect. Through the current academic year, the program has distributed more than $30,000 in overall funding and helped more than 10,000 students visit an Indiana State Park property for a guided hike or talk with an interpretive naturalist.

A video of students benefiting from this grant is here.

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, with financial help from the Indiana Master Naturalist Advisory Council, according to Jody Kress, executive director of the INRF.

This year, DNR staff members are also contributing 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 click here.

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.

The receiving schools and grant information are:

—Bluffton Harrison Elementary School, Bluffton, grade 1, visiting Ouabache State Park, $225.

—Bradie M. Shrum Elementary School, Salem, grade 5, visiting Spring Mill State Park, $225.
—Carlin Park Elementary, Angola, kindergarten, visiting Pokagon State Park, $75.
—Eastside Jr/Sr High School, Butler, grades 7 & 8, visiting Pokagon State Park, $220.
—Edgar Miller School, Merrillville, grade 1, visiting Indiana Dunes State Park, $225.
—Highland Park Elementary, Bloomington, grade 1, visiting McCormick’s Creek State Park, $225.
—Lancaster Central Elementary, Bluffton, kindergarten, visiting Ouabache State Park, $225.
—Lebanon High School, Lebanon, special needs 9-12, visiting McCormick’s Creek State Park $225.
—Liberty Elementary, Liberty, grade 3, visiting Whitewater Memorial State Park, $225.
—Metro North Elementary, Wabash, kindergarten, visiting Salamonie Lake, $155.
—North Elementary, Washington, grade 4, visiting Lincoln State Park, $225.
—Northridge Middle School, Crawfordsville, grade 6, Turkey Run State Park, $225.
—Oaklawn Elementary, Monticello, grade 3, visiting Prophetstown State Park, $225
—Pleasant View Elementary, Yorktown, grade 2, visiting Mounds State Park, $225.
—Riverview Middle School, Huntington, grade 6, visiting Mississinewa Lake, $195.
—Rock Creek Community Academy, Sellersburg, kindergarten, Falls of the Ohio State Park, $225.
—Rockville Elementary, Rockville, grade 1, visiting Turkey Run or Raccoon SRA, $120.
—SENSE Charter School, Indianapolis, grade 7, visiting Fort Harrison State Park, $225.
—Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, grade 11, Indiana Dunes State Park, $225.
—South Decatur Elementary, Greensburg, grade 4, Versailles State Park, $205.
—Southern Wells Elementary, Poneto, grade 6, McCormick’s Creek State Park, $225.
—Spencer Elementary, Spencer, grade 5, visiting McCormick’s Creek State Park, $225.
—Thomas Miller Elementary, Lafayette, grade 3, Prophetstown State Park, $200.
—Westville Elementary, Westville, grade 4, Indiana Dunes State Park, $135.