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Hampton Roads Students Dig in, Get Messy and Learn Through askHRgreen.org Mini Grant Program

Hampton Roads Students Dig in, Get Messy and Learn Through askHRgreen.org Mini Grant Program

Picture of a garden supported by the Mini-grant ProgramLazy summer days have given way to the rush and routine of the school year in Hampton Roads. As families gear up for everything back-to-school, organizers of the askHRgreen.org public awareness and education campaign are recognizing local schools and youth organizations with an A+ for their creative take on green-based classroom projects funded through its Environmental Education Mini Grant program.

“Despite the limitations of a pandemic school year, nine innovative groups in Hampton Roads leveraged the virtual learning platform and outdoor class time to create safe, environmental opportunities for their young learners,” said Rebekah Eastep, an askHRgreen.org team leader. “We applaud these instructors who went the extra mile.”                 

The askHRgreen.org Mini Grant Program provides grants of up to $500 for projects that are specifically tied to suggested environmental topics. Highlights of this recent round of grant projects included:

  • The creation of a bat house and pollinator garden at Thalia Garden Elementary School in Virginia Beach
  • A rain barrel and educational outreach project with a Boy Scouts of America club in Newport NewsA rain barrel and education outread project supported by Environmental Education Mini Grant Projects
  • Water quality testing of local waterways at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Newport News
  • Using worms to vermi-compost at Heritage Elementary School in Virginia Beach
  • Food for the Tummy, Food for the Soul, which taught students to grow, harvest and cook their own nutritious food at Newtown Elementary School in Virginia Beach
  • Caterpillar studies for second grade students in Portsmouth City Schools in partnership with Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation.
  • Renovation of a main entrance garden at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake
  • A “Sweets for Students” project where students learned agricultural and life skills by growing, harvesting, and selling sweet potatoes with the Williamsburg Community Growers in Lightfoot.

A Water Audit, One of the Environmental Education Mini Grant ProjectsIn addition, the Mini Grant program supported the National Geographic travelling exhibit, Planet or Plastic, staged recently at Nauticus. Funds went toward the development of outreach displays to accompany the exhibit that focused on the negative impacts of single-use plastics. The outreach was also integrated into a virtual platform which reached 138 classes and 4,140 students.

“These meaningful experiences are sure to foster a sense of connection between our environment and tomorrow’s leaders,” Eastep said.

AskHRgreen.org is now accepting Mini Grant applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Hampton Roads K-12 school teachers, youth leaders and other organizations working with youth are eligible to apply. There is no deadline for applications, which are accepted year-round as funding is available.

“We’re encouraging teachers to get creative with the grant program by finding ways to engage students with projects they can do, inside or outside the classroom,” Eastep said. 

Read up on details about the projects featured here on the Green Living blog at this link. To access this year’s Mini Grant application, visit https://askhrgreen.org/grants/environmental-education-mini-grant/.

More gardens support by the Environmental Education Mini Grants