Established by the former Colorado Division of Wildlife in 1987, the Colorado Schoolyard Habitat Program has awarded nearly $150,000 to 250 schools across Colorado to help students improve wildlife habitat at their schools. These habitat projects, which students design with the help of teachers and local experts, range in scope from pollinator gardens to large-scale wetland restoration projects. The Colorado Schoolyard Habitat Program affords students the opportunity to learn first-hand about wildlife and ecosystem interactions as they go through the process of planning and creating their schoolyard habitat project. Students develop important proficiencies as they work as a team, apply critical thinking skills and incorporate math and science knowledge – all of which support in-class curricula. In this way, the program helps teachers fulfill academic standards while providing an exciting hands-on learning opportunity for students. Most importantly, students create and pass on a legacy of positive change in the process. Each year, students are excited to go outside, get their hands in the dirt, and see the impact their work has on wildlife and their school.
In support of the Colorado Schoolyard Habitat Program, CWHF administers grants of up to $1,000 to public and private schools. Teachers interested in applying for a grant must attend a Colorado Project WILD, Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), Project Learning Tree, or TEN (Teaching Environmental Science Naturally) workshop prior to applying. These workshops are offered primarily by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado State Forest Service, and registration fees from workshops are in turn used to fund habitat grants. Upon completion of an approved workshop, the teacher, in concert with his or her students, must submit a completed Colorado Schoolyard Habitat Program Grant Application. Grants range from $250 to $1,000 and are awarded by a committee consisting of members from CWHF and Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW). The committee’s decision to award grants is based on the scientific and educational merit of the project, as well as the project’s fulfillment of criteria detailed in the application. The application deadline is February 1st of each year, with financial awards being distributed to schools by March 1st of the same year. Grant recipients must submit project report forms to CWHF no later than December 31st of the grant year. These grants are made possible in part through the cooperation of Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Interested in getting involved? Contact Kelly Diehl at firstname.lastname@example.org.