Environmental Education Fund

Students learn from Little Traverse Conservancy educators at Round Lake Nature Preserve.

The Environmental Education Fund was established in 2009 by a generous donor who wanted to connect local youth to the incredible ecology that surrounds them. With inland lakes, hardwood forests, “million dollar” sunsets, freshwater springs, coastal sand dunes, migratory bird paths, pastoral countryside and, of course, the beloved Little Traverse Bay – Emmet County boasts an abundance of natural resources for our enjoyment and learning. We truly have one of the best “outdoor classrooms” around!

Environmental Education Fund grants may be used to support nature-based learning for K-12 students in Emmet County. Current priorities include:

Field trip transportation to local nature preserves, birding trails, state parks, fishing ponds, family farms and other outdoor environments that complement what students are learning in their classrooms.

Equipment such as orienteering devices, art supplies, binoculars, waders, etc. that enhances student learning and deeper observation of the ecology.

Specialized training  for local educators and nonprofit staff on how to facilitate environmental education for area students.

Since 2009 the Environmental Education Fund has helped nearly 5,000 Emmet County children and teens learn from nature!


Emmet County schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits that provide K-12 environmental education in Emmet County are eligible to apply for a grant. Requests must be $500.00 or less. Proposed activities must occur during the current K-12 school year and must emphasize nature-based learning. This fund is not intended to support outdoor recreation or athletics, such as skiing trips or sailing lessons. Contact the Community Foundation to discuss other funding opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Please submit your request in advance of the proposed activity. The Community Foundation does not reimburse activities that already occurred.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis during the school year. CLICK HERE TO APPLY ONLINE. The Community Foundation will review your request. If approved, a grant check will be mailed within three weeks. (School applicants, note that grant checks will be mailed to your superintendant.)


Contact Kassia Perpich, Community & Donor Engagement Officer, at kperpich(at)phsacf.org or 231-348-5820.


You can learn more about environmental education at the following sites: 

  • Getting Kids Outdoors is a coalition of Northern Michigan nonprofits and businesses dedicated to unstructured outdoor play for children. Check out their Passport to Adventure.
  • Little Traverse Conservancy offers many area nature preserves to explore, plus environmental education staff, programs, and resources for teachers.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council trains local high school students to become watershed experts through their signature program, The Watershed Academy.
  • Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a professional association supporting and advancing environmental education in a variety of settings.
  • Alliance for the Great Lakes has K-8 and 9-12 “Great Lakes in My World” curriculum that teaches core science concepts, improves science skills and connects students to their community and their environment.