Photos by Mitchell Pruitt
AEEA supports environmental and outdoor education through an annual mini-grant program. The program is designed to support, enhance, and expand the implementation of environmental and outdoor education throughout the state of Arkansas by classroom teachers and non-formal educators and organizations. AEEA funds projects that include, but are not limited to, direct hands-on education programs, educator professional development, and community engagement events.
For more on environmental education, see our page “What is Environmental Education.”
AEEA understands that embracing diversity of people, perspectives, and backgrounds leads to strength, resilience, and innovation. Believing that the most valuable impact means environmental education is inclusive and accessible to all, we are committed to eliminating barriers and becoming a more inclusive organization and equitable field. Educators have the opportunity to work toward expanding who learns about and experiences the outdoors and to ensure we all have opportunities to connect with the natural world we depend on.
Grant Eligibility Requirements:
- Proposals must be submitted for consideration in either formal education or non-formal education
- Formal education is for projects taking place within a classroom or school setting at Pre-K, elementary, secondary, or college level.
- Non-formal education is for projects taking place outside of a school setting such as at a nature center, park, government agency, non-profit organization, or community/civic organization.
- Completed proposals must be received by AEEA by the stated deadline.
- Grant funds must be used within the calendar year of the award.
- The requirement in previous years that applicants must be AEEA members has been removed. The grant is open to all educators.
- Funds may be combined with other sources of funds to increase the size or impact of the project.
Preference will go to:
- New projects that have not received funding from AEEA before.
- Projects engaging audiences which have often been underserved in environmental and outdoor education programming will receive priority scoring. For this grant, descriptions of underserved communities can include, but is not limited to
- Race and ethnicity
- Socioeconomic status
- Neurodiverse populations
- People with disabilities
Areas of Focus:
- Environmental education in a school, non-formal education, or community setting
- Outdoor education in a school, non-formal education, or community setting
- Community education engagement around an environmental issue of local concern (project should have an education focus, not an advocacy focus)
- Social-emotional learning and environmental or outdoor education
- Educator professional development in environmental and outdoor education
- Environmental and outdoor education and underserved communities
What AEEA Does Not Fund:
- Direct grants to individuals
- General ongoing operation support including salaries
- Political campaigns, events, or lobbying activities
- Projects serving religious purposes
- Food and/or beverages
- Expenses incurred prior to receipt of AEEA grant award
- Any use not specified in the grant proposal and budget
- Applications open September 18, 2023
- Deadline for applications is 5:00 pm October 20, 2023
- Award notification announced December 2023
- Funds will be distributed in January 2024
For questions, please contact AEEA Program Coordinator, Stephanie Lewis, at email@example.com
Salem Superstars 4-H Club – Mini-grant Recipient Highlight
The Salem Superstars 4-H Club outlined a plan to learn about Arkansas native songbirds and share their knowledge with other 4-H Clubs. Through educational field trips and guest lectures, the club learned about identifying songbird eggs, reproduction, and migration. Using the knowledge they gained, they created training kits that included 3D printed eggs. The training kits are now available to to other 4-Hers throughout the state learn about Arkansas songbirds.
Elmwood Middle School students conduct a macroinvertebrate survey at Lake Atalanta Park. Materials were funded through a mini-grant to Ozarks Water Watch in 2019. (Photo Credit: Jason Ivester, Communications Multimedia Specialist, Rogers Public Schools)
Early learners in the Little Sprouts program planting vegetable seeds. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks was a grant recipient in 2017.