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Field Trip Grant Benefits Hoosier Students
Indiana Ag Connection - 10/22/2021

Students at 12 Indiana schools will be able to take field trips to Indiana state parks this academic year thanks in part to the Discover the Outdoors field trip grant program, which is administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF), the supporting non-profit of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Educators in public, private, parochial or home schools are eligible for the grants, which range from $98-$250 and fund transportation costs, program fees and classroom supplies related to preparation or follow-up for the field trips. A total of $5,479 is scheduled to be given through 28 grants, benefitting an estimated 1,364 K-12 students. Through the current academic year, the program has distributed more than $46,000 in overall funding and helped more than 16,000 students visit an Indiana state park for a guided hike or talk with an interpretive naturalist since the grant program started eight years ago.

No grants were distributed for the 2019-20 school year because most schools were meeting virtually with field trip restrictions. The number of grant applications for 2020-21 was lower than normal.

"Many districts still had some uncertainty regarding field trips for this school year during the timeframe that we accept applications," said Ginger Murphy, Indiana State Parks deputy director for stewardship. "We know the students who do visit this year will have great outdoor experiences, and we expect the number of applications to increase again next year."

Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding. Field trips can now also be scheduled for Deam Lake, Starve Hollow, Interlake or Redbird state recreation areas since those sites are now managed by the Division of State Parks. Trips must be scheduled and led by an interpretive naturalist or other staff member to be eligible for funding. Field trips to state parks engage students in learning about Indiana's fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats, and conservation.

To see students benefiting from this grant, see youtu.be/uC4QjhsBLO8. The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a longtime DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children in parks.

"We appreciate the generosity of those who contribute to Indiana's youth," said Jody Kress, executive director of the INRF. "We hope to see this program grow so we can educate more students across the state about our natural and cultural heritage."

To donate, visit IndianaNRF.org.


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