Field trip grants available through Montana State Parks partnership

Montana State Parks is accepting applications for $200 field trip travel grants.

The applications will be accepting through Oct. 22 and grants can be used for field trips to federal and state public lands taking place between Jan. 2 and Aug. 30, 2019. The grant money is aimed at covering transportation-related costs with an emphasis on assisting Montana elementary students who are underserved in their access to public lands for outdoor recreation, according to Montana State Parks.

For 2019, there will be 40 grants available.

This is the fourth year of the program, which has already been made available to more that 4,700 students across Montana.

The grants are made possible through a partnership between Montana State Parks, Glacier National Park and the Montana Environmental Education Association, whose funding comes from the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program.

This program complements the federal Every Kid in a Park initiative targeted toward fourth grade students, according to Montana State Parks release.

Last year, there were 43 grantees from 38 different schools and programs. Collectively they visited 23 different places, including a wide range of national and state parks, national forests, historical sites and recreation areas. More than 72 percent of grant recipients noted that this funding helped to provide their only opportunity for outdoor education on public lands, according to the release.

The $200 grant award can only be used to cover transportation costs. The field trips must be for Montana elementary-aged children, and there will be a preference for fourth grade students as part of the selection process. Applicants will be ranked with higher scores going to classrooms that are underserved. There will also be a preference for groups and schools that have not previously received an award. Selections will be made with an eye toward broad geographic dispersion across the state in terms of schools and groups represented, and trip destinations, according to the Montana State Parks release.

Montana State Parks does not weigh in on grant application decisions and is a partner in the program through outreach and “strong belief in supporting initiatives targeted toward youth outdoor and educational programming,” according to the release.

Awardees will be notified of their grant in November 2018 and funds will be distributed by the end of the calendar year for use in 2019. To learn more about the program and apply, visit:  https://bit.ly/2BWP0Os