‘Discover the Outdoors’ program offers funding for outdoor exploration

From reports

Educators, did you know you can request funds for

Educators can now request up to $500 for Discover the Outdoors trips. Applications will be accepted May 1 to June 30, 2024, and grants can assist with transportation costs, program fees and material costs.

Educators interested in taking K-12 students on field trips to an Indiana State Park in the 2024-2025 school year can receive financial help through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF).

Grants from the Discover the Outdoors field trip grant program are available for all K-12 educators, regardless of school type.

“The Foundation’s mission is to celebrate and preserve Indiana’s natural legacy,” said Jody Kress, INRF executive director. “This grant gives children an adventure that showcases some of Indiana’s natural and cultural treasures and teaches the importance of protecting and preserving them for everyone to enjoy.”

Since the grant program’s inception in 2013, a total of 220 grants have been awarded, providing the opportunity for more than 21,000 students to visit state parks at less cost to the schools and students.

Indiana has 24 state parks, eight state-managed lakes, two state recreation areas, and two off-road state recreation areas eligible for field trip funding that will engage students in learning about Indiana’s fish, forests, wildlife, natural habitats, conservation, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

“These trips help children understand the significance and diversity of Indiana’s natural and cultural resources and at the same time let them make great memories that they will carry into adulthood,” said Ginger Murphy, deputy director for stewardship for Indiana State Parks.

The maximum grant award has increased in 2024 to $500 per application. The grant may cover the school’s transportation costs, program fees, and other applicable material costs.

Applications are accepted from May 1 to June 30 prior to the school year for which the grant is requested. Applications must be postmarked or emailed no later than June 30.

Applicants will be notified by Aug. 1 regarding potential grant awards. The grant application is at on.IN.gov/state-park-group-programs. Read more about the impact this grant has had at indiananrf.org/the-inrf-difference/education.

A video explaining the program is at youtu.be/uC4QjhsBLO8

The INRF accepts donations to the fund from individuals, businesses, and anyone else who supports the idea of getting kids outdoors. The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a longtime DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children. Donations can be made at indiananrf.org/donate.

For further information, email discoveroutdoorsgrants@dnr.IN.gov.