News release from Indiana Department of Natural Resources:
Students at 44 Indiana K-12 schools will experience the outdoors this academic year thanks in part to a grant program that supports field trips to Indiana State Park properties.
The Discover the Outdoors Field Trip Grant Program is available for all K-12 schools. It is administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF), the supporting nonprofit of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The grants, up to $250 per school, fund transportation costs, program fees, and classroom supplies related to preparation or follow-up for the field trips.
An estimated 3,432 students will benefit from the grant program in the 2023-2024 school year using the $10,520 the grant program expects to distribute this school year. On their field trips, students will participate in a guided hike or talk with an interpretive naturalist at a designated property to learn about Indiana’s fish, forests, wildlife, natural habitats, and conservation.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, it has awarded 220 grants worth more than $56,500 in overall funding, providing the opportunity for approximately 20,400 students to visit state park properties at less cost to the schools and students.
The program was established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children in parks. Contributions have grown in recent years, allowing the fund to double the number of grants offered. In addition to generous individuals, additional periodic support for the program is also provided by the Indiana Master Naturalist Advisory Council and the Indiana Parks Alliance.
“Through these grants and the support of our partners, Hoosier students across the state will gain hands-on experiences in Indiana State Parks,” said Jody Kress, INRF executive director. “We hope to see this program continue to grow so we can educate more students about our natural and cultural legacy.”
To donate to the INRF, visit IndianaNRF.org. Indiana has 24 state parks, eight reservoirs, two state forest recreation areas, and two off-road state recreation areas eligible for field trip funding. The receiving schools and where they will visit are: