Friends of Lory State Park establishes Get the Kids Out scholarship

The Friends of Lory State Park, a non-profit, volunteer organization based in Bellvue whose mission is the protection, preservation, and enhancement of Lory State Park, has inaugurated an environmental education scholarship. The scholarship makes field trips to the park affordable to groups that might be limited by financial constraints. Scholarship applications are now being accepted for 2015.

The Get the Kids Outside scholarship program was created to provide limited financial assistance to schools and other non-profit organizations based on need. It is the first program of its kind in Lory State Park. The goal of the program is to connect youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds with the wonder of the natural world and engage them in hands-on, science-based activities that educate and inspire further inquiry.

“This funding opportunity, made possible by donations, will enable children to visit Lory, where they will have the opportunity to engage with the Park’s naturalist for environmental learning in the field,” said Sarah Myers, Friends of Lory State Park president. “Environmental literacy connects children with the outdoors so that they will know their environment and develop a greater appreciation for all nature has to offer. We will be actively pursuing grants and additional donations to make the scholarship fund sustainable in the long-term future.”

Research has shown that environmental education encourages an active lifestyle and benefits the mind. Benefits include better attention spans, creative thinking, less obesity, greater lung capacity, and well-being feeling. Several studies also cite improved critical thinking skills and suggest that such activities help foster leadership qualities. It makes other school subjects rich and relevant, teaches kids to be real-world problem solvers, assists students in becoming self-directed learners, and gets youth excited about learning.

“It is hard to believe that some children can grow up in the shadows of beautiful natural areas, like Lory State Park, yet never get the chance to visit, ” said Alicia Goddard, Lory State Park naturalist and environmental education specialist. “Without a visit, they do not learn about the land set aside for their enjoyment and the enjoyment of future generations. The best stewardship of our environment comes from first-hand knowledge of wild places.”

Maximum award: $500

Maximum number of participants per trip: 120

Application deadlines: March 31 for spring and summer programs; Aug. 31 for fall programs.

Criteria for eligibility:

All applicants must schedule an environmental program with the Lory State Park outdoor educator. Please email dnr_loryinterp@state.co.us to schedule a date and state that you are applying for the “Get the Kids Outside” scholarship.

If groups have a proposed project, it must include an outdoor environmental education activity at Lory State Park. (If the project involves research, a research permit must be completed and approved before applying for the scholarship.)
• The organization requesting the scholarship must be a non-profit.
• The application must support the mission of Colorado State Parks and Wildlife.
• Preference is given to applicants in the Northern Colorado area on the basis of need.

If awarded this scholarship, a completion report is requested within 30 days of the field trip. The report should include a description of the actual field trip, including the number of teachers, parent volunteers, and students. Include learning outcomes achieved and state standards met.

For an application and a complete brochure about the Get the Kids Outside scholarship, please contact the Lory State Park naturalist at: dnr_lorynterp@state.co.us.

Tax-deductible donations to the scholarship fund are greatly appreciated and accepted at any time. If interested, please send donations to Friends of Lory State Park, P.O. Box 11, Bellvue, CO 80512, with EE Scholarship in the memo line.

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