We have been buzzing like bees! Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently visited Bellingham to present Wild Whatcom with a $20,000 grant award from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office for the new No Child Left Inside program. Over $940,000 in grants were awarded for programs in 15 counties statewide to help get kids outdoors to connect with nature and their communities. With only 19 out of 122 applications selected for funding, we are honored to be among the recipients of this competitive grant. A shout out to our friends at North Cascades Institute, the only other Whatcom County organization to be selected!
“These grants create opportunities for kids who don’t get to visit parks and other natural places. When children connect with nature, it improves their health and their grades. It also can help them appreciate their communities and instills in them the importance of our state’s natural resources. Investing in these programs helps all Washingtonians.”
EdVentures, a partnership between Wild Whatcom and the Bellingham School District with support from the Whatcom Community Foundation, will begin this fall with a series of four sequential field outings during the 2016-17 school year for second graders, from the district’s six Title 1 elementary schools (with plans to expand to all schools as soon as possible, dependent on additional funding). Students will explore nature first-hand, enhanced by pre and post learning sessions at their schools.
“Thousands more children will get outside because of No Child Left Inside, educating them about the splendors of our incredible natural resources and beginning a lifelong love of the outdoors and outdoor recreation."
Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island)
In addition to Governor Inslee, Dr. Greg Baker (Bellingham Schools Superintendent), Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island), and Don Hoch, Director of Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission helped deliver the exciting news. After the presentation, Governor Inslee and special guests joined the kids and field staff from our Neighborhood Nature class at Northern Heights Elementary in the woods to learn and explore. That doesn't happen every day!
Our hearts are full of gratitude for our Governor, Superintendent Greg Baker, and the legislators who understand the importance of fostering connections to the outdoors and are committed to providing access to nature for all children. This short video produced by the Governor’s office provides a great snapshot of the celebration. Additional media coverage was provided by the Bellingham Herald.