MEEA began a mini-grants program in 2013 that has provided support to a wide variety of environmental education projects–from school gardens to life jackets to raptor cams. Learn about some of those projects below!
These grants are open to any Professional MEEA member, whether a formal or non-formal educator, except for members of the board. MEEA will award eight grants annually (spring and fall cycles) of $250 each to purchase materials or supplies for advancing environmental or sustainability education. Awards will be made to the recipient’s school or organization.
Debby Barker supports two of MEEA’s mini-grants per year in honor of her late husband Lou Clairmont (1942-2019). Lou was passionate about conservation and very active in the Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, and he could often be found outside enjoying nature. We are grateful to Debby for honoring Lou’s memory by supporting environmental education projects throughout Missouri. Thank you, Debby, for helping us increase the number of mini-grants we can provide each year.
Stay tuned for more pictures, we’re currently updating this page.
Spring 2023 Recipients
Spring 2022 Recipients
Premier Charter School, “MEEA Environmental Educator Grant”
Project Summary: Premier Charter School’s first graders are learning about Missouri’s native species. They have been focusing on endangerment and how to help these endangered species. As a solution they have come up with the idea to create a native garden on our campus in hopes of helping both plant and animal species within our community. Our students are in an urban setting and this will help expose and teach them about the importance of native plants. Our goal is to also educate families and help them with their own native garden experiences.
James River Basin Partnership, “Watershed Outreach and Educational Offerings”
Project Summary: James River Basin Partnership is a grassroots, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization working to improve and protect the water quality of the springs, streams, rivers, and lakes in the James River watershed which consists of almost a million acres of land in portions of eight counties. This grant will fund educational materials for our school outreach programs, including 5th grade watershed festivals, classroom visits, field trips, and more. Teaching children about the importance of clean water and water quality, point and non-point source pollution, erosion, and other environmental concepts has the potential to encourage them to adopt environmentally-friendly habits. A hands-on approach to learning has the potential to stimulate a deeper interest in science and other environmental issues.
Mudbugs Club, “Mama Mudbug’s LOOK Book: A Young Explorer’s Guide to Critters of the Missouri Ozarks”
Project Summary: We will give free books (Mama Mudbug’s LOOK Book: A Young Explorer’s Guide to Critters of the Missouri Ozarks) to kids participating in Mudbugs Club activities at the Bonebrake Center. These activities help kids make a personal connection with nature. Observational and immersive activities along with the LOOK Book will help provide perspective and a sense of security, while encouraging further exploration of the natural world on their own. It will help kids feel empowered as they explore and discover new things when in nature. The end result will be a generation of good stewards of the land that sustains us all.
Four Awards Available for Fall 2022 Application
Fall applications due date extended: Apply ASAP!
Spring 2021 Recipients
Missouri River Relief, “Mornings at the River”
Project Summary: Morning at the River was a series that created opportunities for children and families to spend one-on-one time exploring, discovering, and making memories together at the Missouri River. This program served families with children between the ages of 0-5 years old. In total 633 individuals attended the program during the course of 5 events in June 2021.
Jewish Community Center of St. Louis, “Early Childhood”
Project Summary: Our goal was for each child to become more aware of their natural surroundings and to feel a responsibility to care for it and the animals, creatures, and plants that live there. We intended to pique curiosity about the interdependencies between native plants, wildlife, insects, and people. A rain barrel in our Missouri native pollinator garden provided a tool to emphasize the importance of water and its conservation as well as the importance of reusing and recycling. Curriculum was developed around the rain barrel to illustrate these concepts. This project fostered in young children the notion that giving back and helping the earth and its inhabitants is a mitzvah or good deed and it feels good to be a helper.
Bonebrake Center of Nature and History, “Discover Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight”
Project Summary: The Mudbugs Club, established in 2019, connects kids with nature using a connection of the heart, not the head. It is about kids falling in love with nature. Knowledge and action follow love. We simply immersed kids in nature. Simple activities got them started, such as building a bird nest or making seed bombs (mudballs), literally getting their fingers in the dirt. Once they were comfortable in nature, we spent time in free exploration, searching for tiny treasures hidden in plain sight. Insect nets and magnifying glasses opened up a whole new world of WOW for them.
Fall 2021 Recipients
Nerinx Hall, “Environmental Lab Supplies”
Project Summary: The goal of this project is to teach students about ecosystem dynamics through the creation of a model ecosystem called an ecocolumn. Vernier sensor probes will allow students to use technology to investigate and monitor the changes in the abiotic and biotic factors in the ecosystem models and how they are interrelated. Students will apply the knowledge about ecosystem dynamics from this experience to learn about the issues and solutions to our current environmental issues.
Mehlville High School, “Earth Day Extravaganza”
Project Summary: Mehlville’s Earth Day Extravaganza is a cross-functional project designed by high school science and art students that focuses on local and global environmental issues related to conservation and restoration of our natural resources. The high school students used their voice/choice to research and create educational games for the elementary school students in our district. Through this event, many students at a variety of grade levels learn how to be better environmental stewards for our future.
Rohan Woods School, “LEAK-ership: Leadership Training through Water Conservation Advocacy”
Project Summary: Sixth graders at Rohan Woods School are our school’s leaders, and once a week they meet to develop those skills. The LEAK-ership project teaches these students how to advocate for sustainable change in their lives by learning how to use some simple water conservation tools, measuring their home’s water usage, and convincing their families to utilize these technologies for change! LEAK-ership will help to build the next generation of sustainable advocates by having each student assess how well their advocacy worked and reflect on how to improve.
Shortleaf Interpretive Services, “Take a Hike: Get Outside Through Songs and Stories”
Project Summary: This series includes engaging programs that re-connect the audience with nature. Programs include original songs, hands-on demonstrations, and stories. I visit classrooms or outdoor learning areas in south-central Ozark counties of Missouri. I also provide virtual programs on YouTube or live via online meeting platforms depending on the needs of the school or site. Journaling exercises help the participants express their observations and their feelings, and children are guided to compose a letter, song or story of their own about their experience.
No grants were awarded in 2020 due to COVID.
The Green Thumb Project
With this grant money, we would purchase compost to fill the beds of our hoop house. This will allow us to finally use the hoop house with elementary students, both in school-day lessons and after-school garden club. With compost in the beds, garden club students will be responsible for planting and maintaining the hoop house, alongside garden interns. They will be growing food for donation to our community’s non-profit pay-what-you-can cafe to provide fresh food through the wintertime.
Hannibal Early Childhood Center
Our project will be to increase the natural habitat of our wooded area between both the Early Childhood Center and Veterans schools in Hannibal. The funds will help purchase new native trees, flowering plants, etc. that the students of both schools could use hands-on learning from in their natural setting. We hope to increase their knowledge of Missouri’s natural areas by having it close by and ready as an outdoor classroom with teachers to guide them through the science of learning and increase their appreciation of the environment!
Mississippi River Water Trail Association
Although the Mississippi River is viewed by many foreigners as an intriguing and majestic river, to many in the Metro St. Louis Area it is simply what is under the bridge, polluted, and not worth their time. The Mississippi River Water Trail Association, in its mission of appreciation of the river through safe recreation, works very hard to encourage stewardship of the Mississippi. The river needs young people to realize that it is already magnificent and could be even better if they care.
Missouri Prairie Foundation
Our Grow Native! “Hosts with the Most” rack card will convey easy-to-read information and graphics about host plants that support the greatest number of butterfly and moth species, whose larvae are dependent on them for food, including oaks and asters. This printed piece will help advance our educational objectives of informing more members of the general public about the vital links between native plants, native insects, and other animals in nature’s food web, as well as human dependence upon many of these insects that also pollinate food crops. Action we want to result from this education is more people supporting the web of life by planting native plants at home/school/businesses.
South Fork Preschool
Our project will be set in the spring. If awarded the preschool program will use the funding to purchase plants and tools for the existing garden area. This group of children will be allowed to clean out the old garden and plant and record new vegetables and flowers. Various books, charts, portfolios, journals and discovery activities will be used to teach the life cycle of plants as well as life science. This will carry over to the next semester with a new group of students working on fall planting.
Friends of the Zoo
Few seem aware of how technology has been substituted for nature in the lives of our children; This funding for Shady Dell ECC to receive a program titled “Animal Needs.” In a study (Barman, 1999) Science and Children, revealed 80% of K-2 students said a girl was not an animal. Animal Encounters are essential in the development of understanding animals and what is essential to sustain life. Students will be divided into eight groups for a 30 minute presentation. Four animals will be presented: mammal, bird, reptile and invertebrate. Connections will be made with each animal and how the needs are similar to the students. Teachers will be given a short survey, receive a photograph and students will receive a picture stating the objective.
North Kansas City Schools-Northland Innovation Center – An Inquiry into Missouri Backyard Birds
“An Inquiry Into Backyard Birds” is a project-based lesson, which seeks to have students develop research skills through the design and development of research projects. Students take ownership of the projects through preparation of their own bird feeders in the classroom, maintaining a journal and gathering and submitting feeder data, and designing and conducting a research project. Following a period of guided inquiry into local bird identification and field study experimental design, students will conduct an open inquiry related to bird behavior. Student findings will be communicated in a culminating birding festival, where students will create stations to teach others about the factors that affect bird populations, the results of their experiments, and ways to ensure the continued study of local/migrating bird populations.
Louisiana Elementary School -Helping Paws Get Recycling
Louisiana Elementary Helping Paws Get Recycling is a project that engages students, staff, and community in recycling efforts. It helps to teach why recycling is important. Promotes how to recycle in our small rural area, and what can be recycled. It helps to recognize our local organization that is responsible for recycling. This is our opportunity to build habits in our students, staff, and community to be better stewards of our environment, and our community and environment will be better for it.
The Audubon Center at Riverlands – RiverVision Leadership Project: Mammal Investigations
The Audubon Center at Riverlands, located just north of Saint Louis, has been continually building on their RiverVision Leadership Project. Committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and initiated in 2010, this unique project has partnered with 12 under-resourced schools, exposing students to nature, outdoor education, leadership training, and career exposure. Annually, the education programs serve nearly 10,000 individuals, over 1,000 of them being from RiverVision. Audubon Center at Riverland’s mission is to connect people to the beauty and significance of our Great Rivers confluence area, to inspire conservation of the river’s rich diversity in birds, wildlife and other natural resources, and to support healthy, vibrant communities. By increasing the amount of programs offered, they are able to further increase studentâ€™s awareness of their environmental connections to the region.
Macon Parents as Teachers – Hands On Nature Explorers
We will present basic environmental concepts through hands-on activities at monthly PAT Group Connection events held throughout the school year. Topics such as recycling, growing and preparing food, stewardship in nature, basic life and systems cycles, conserving resources, etc. will be presented with age appropriate materials, information, and hands-on activities.
Phelps Center for Gifted Education – CityScape Field Trips
We will go on trips to the Greene County Landfill, Waste Water Treatment Plant, and Springfield Underground.
Delaware Elementary School – Wildlife Hero
- Week 1 – Examine area for wildlife. Identify habitat-friendly designs for amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals.
- Week 2 – Plant shrubs, create small habitat area.
- Weeks 3-5 – Engage in various activities designed to simulate specific needs of wildlife.
- Week 6 – Final activity & reflection, finalize Assembly presentation.
Conservation Federation of Missouri – Legislative Tool Kits
Our plan is to create a toolkit to train representatives at four Missouri colleges who will educate their campus about conservation issues, and encourage students to get involved.
- November:Choose student representatives
- December:Assemble toolkits
- January/February:Representatives table and visit classes/meetings
- March:Meet at CFM conference for wrap-up
- April:Attend Conservation Day at the Capitol
Macon Parents as Teachers – SPROut Kids Nature Program
The LEAFOut Family Nature Group will connect with the local Parents as Teachers (PAT) program at the Macon school district, which includes families from surrounding contract schools that participate in Macon’s PAT program. Families in the PAT program receive routine home visits from Parent Educators, and it is through these visits that notice of the nature programs would be disseminated through flyers and word of mouth. Facebook pages, text messaging, local advertisement (i.e. flyers, newspapers, radio, etc.) would also be utilized to let families know about the events, provide reminders, and expand attendance.
Green Works Kansas City – Missouri River Rides
Students learn about water via instruction, water testing and field trips. During the river ride students see where drinking water is collected and that trash ends up in the river. This experience transforms what they’ve learned into behavioral change regarding litter, what they put down drains and onto lawns.
Greater Ozarks Audubon Society – Bull Shoals Lake Ecology for GLADE Students
GLADE strives to give tools to our students to build leadership skills and gain knowledge of the Ozark ecosystems around them. Through the past eight years, we have seen students transform into young leaders. They have returned to their communities empowered to put together Community Action Projects to give back.
MAP St. Louis – Transportation Choices
Our students will gain an awareness of the effects of transportation choices on our environment. Our students will learn to take initiative, create a plan, and realize that they can work for change in our community.
Noel Elementary School – Sustainable Gardening
Our goal for the program is to teach students and parents how to produce sustainable crops on an annual basis; how to make wise use of our existing resources; and how to reduce water waste by the use of rain barrels. We want to put homegrown food on students’ tables. We will utilize raised beds for planting using seeds saved from the previous year’s crops. By adding 7 new rain barrels we will become closer to our goal of using 100% rain water in our gardens. We wish to make this a community garden by encouraging community members to assist us i our gardening.
Bowling Green Middle School – Eco Detectives Spread the Green Fever
Eco Detectives Spread the Green Fever is about getting students more engaged in the recycling project that we have here at school, and spreading this energy, “fever” to the rest of the students and staff by creating posters and providing an easy opportunity to separate out the recycling in classrooms. Students will be responsible for the distribution and collection of the bins, which will be purchased with this grant money. Students will also produce posters, with supplies purchased with grant money, to help educate the school about the importance of recycling.
Computer Village – Lewis Place Monarch Waystation
Originally funded by a grant from EarthForce The “Youth Champions for Sustainable Change” have continued to build on their success at the Lewis Place Outdoor Classroom and Learning Garden. This summer, by building a Monarch Waystation and registering their garden with the national effort to create a “Pollinator Corridor”, Moanarch butterflies that migrate through Missouri will teach the youth about the impact of Climate Change on agriculture and species extinction.
Southern Boone Learning Garden – Gardening & Composting with Special Services Students at Southern Boone County High School
The Southern Boone Learning Garden will work closely with 3 high school special services teachers to integrate a classroom worm compost bin and outdoor garden beds & compost piles into lessons & activities throughout the 2015-16 school year. We’re currently working on curriculum development for this project, including working with a Lincoln University professor in charge of their large vermiculture project. In addition to daily & weekly connections to several life skill objectives for these special needs students (daily chores, taking care of living things, working collaboratively in small groups, individual responsibility, etc.), the classroom worm bin will provide multiple opportunities for math & science connections as well. The Learning Garden will also facilitate several outdoor lessons related to composting & gardening.
The Wild Wonder Project – The Wild Wonder Project Stewardship Semester
The Wild Wonder Project recognizes that play is essential for healthy development, and that time spent in the outdoors leads to a greater love for nature and long-term citizen engagement in protecting it. With our three half-day/week fall 2015 semester, we will enable a sense of place and a land ethic in young learners age 8-10yrs. These students will be prepared for continued civic engagement in their neighborhoods by practicing water quality monitoring, meteorology, phenology and climate science during the semester. By integrating monthly open community gatherings, students will also have an opportunity to share what they’ve learned with a broad audience who can support and join them as stewards of their environment.
Mississippi River Water Trail Assocation – Building the Mississippi River Water Trail
This grant will allow us to purchase additional needed safety equipment for our kayaks. This will help us to recruit and train volunteers to provide additional supervision for on-the-water events. More safety boaters mean that there will be additional opportunities for people to enjoy the majestic and lovely Mississippi River. Internalizing a deep love and/or appreciation for the river brings active stewardship.
Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park – Nature Detective Supplies
Our content will include (1) living and non-living components of three different habitats – forest, cave and stream and (2) basic skills and equipment preschoolers and their parents can use in exploring these natural areas. Our goal is that parents will gain knowledge of how to safely explore nature and use a variety of methods in exploring nature with a a young child. – Parents will visit a natural area or park to explore nature with their preschool child at least 4 times in the next five months.
Southern Boone County Learning Garden – School-Day Lessons for the Learning Garden
The primary goal of our programming is to empower school-age children to grow their own food, and to make healthy and conscientious decisions about eating. We utilize student reflection and classwork in evaluating our effectiveness and their retention of information—journaling, creative writing, and worksheets. We survey teachers, parents, and volunteers for their assessments of our programming, and to understand how information presented in the Learning Garden is being transferred to classrooms and homes.
Noel Elementary School – Sustainable Gardening
Students will learn sustainability practices while planning, planting, and harvesting vegetables unique to their cultures. We will learn about soil types and how to compost, thereby reducing waste originally destined for the landfill. We will invite parents and local master gardeners in to teach the students successful gardening practices. Our goal for the program is to teach students and parents how to produce sustainable crops on an annual basis; how to make wise use of our existing resources; and how to reduce water waste by the use of rain barrels. We want to put homegrown food on students’ tables.
City Raptors Project of Digital Arts Collective- Citizen Science Interactive Mapping Ap for Visualizing Urban Raptors
We believe individuals learn best when they authentically EXPERIENCE a topic. People will be empowered to become true change agents using mobile phones and web based technologies. The range of urban raptors crosses neighborhoods and communities, collectively individuals become active participants and stakeholders as they publicly collect, share, and visualize an urban wildlife community. A free open source data management system, Ushahidi, will collect crowd sourced data to visualize what happened, when and where . The audience will be invited to learn and participate in this citizen science program through social media and at events. A nature storytelling series will be conducted to educate the community about urban birds, present a forum for telling nature stories, demonstrate collected data and invite participation.
Missouri River Relief: Educational Banner for Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Events
This project will develop an interactive Missouri River watershed map/display. The display will contain multiple removable layers such as high definition aerial photos, watershed facts, ecology and history of the Missouri River. It will be utilized at education events and clean-ups to educate about the importance of the Missouri River. It can be difficult to understand the scale and connectivity of our environment. Utilizing watersheds is an effective method of explaining the connectivity and importance of personal actions in watersheds. This project would allow us to provide more information/context to our clean-ups and be a useful resource for education events.
Mississippi River Water Trail Association: Equipment and Supplies for a River Safety Course
The Mississippi River Water Trail Association introduces the public to safe activities and facilities on the river. Through outdoor skill development and river time, participants learn appreciation for this most majestic river in the US. Experienced Safety Boaters from the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club and an American Canoe Association certified kayak instructor(s) will introduce safe kayak use following the ACA guidelines. Instruction will take place in a sheltered area of Riverlands. Emphasis is on working within the comfort level of the student, who will be practicing skills immediately after the introduction. The emphasis will be on enjoyment as well as technical expertise and safety.
Webster University: Sustainability Course
Using multidisciplinary guest speakers, field trips, iconic literature and current events,college students in Webster University’s Intro to Sustainability Studies will have hands-on interactive education on a wide array of environmental topics – food an agriculture, climate change, pollution and toxics, endangered species, invasive species, population growth and energy. As part of the course students will complete a research paper and poster on a sustainability challenge.
Grand Center Arts Academy: Designing a Smart GrowLab
Using a Makerspace student innovation challenge, students will develope a “Smart Gow Lab” that models school waterheds. Students will learn the fundamentals of sustainable sites, gardens, site design, water needs, computer programming and hardware interfacing. Students will document project progress publicly via the Markerspace blog and present on their Smart Garden at the GCAA MarkerFaire in Spring 2014.
The Audubon Center at Riverlands: Building an Environmental Education Children’s Library to Promote Literacy
The center will promote children’s literacy by providing age-appropriate environmental education literature. The books will cover water quality, pollution and toxins, climate change and will be available to visitors at the center. The center will use written reflections from students in school groups and by monitoring a check-out/check-in log
Blue Ridge Elementary School: Sustainable Practices at Blue Ridge – Composting in the Cafeteria
Students at Blue Ridge will implement a composting initiative in their school cafeteria in an effort to reduce cafeteria waste as well contribute to the production of rich humus for the gardening efforts on their school grounds.
Fort Zumwalt North High School: Water Quality Testing
Students at Fort Zumalt will test for Nitrate, Nitrite, dissolved Oxygen, phosphorus and other qualities in local watersheds. They will use the information to map water quality and identify possible point and non-point sources of pollutants in the watershed.
Truman Elementary Outdoor Kids: Learning to Grow a Garden
The program at Outdoor Kids will teach students how to plant, grow, manage and harvest food and flowers from their newly established raised garden beds.