Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000
Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms in Middletown. $1,500
Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500
Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000
Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000
Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570
Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500
Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100
Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900
SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000
Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225
Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030
2016 Special Mayor’s Ball Award
Middletown Public Schools, “Science in Nature”
Rockfall Foundation is particularly pleased to utilize the proceeds from the 2015 Mayor’s Ball to award this special grant which will reach all of Middletown’s sixth graders and provide them with an opportunity to better understand and appreciate their environment. Science in Nature, a field-based program aimed at improving critical thinking skills and environmental awareness, exposes students to conservation concepts not easily taught in the classroom. Under the guidance of trained teacher-naturalists at the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Glastonbury Center, this program supplements traditional teaching methods with hands-on, inquiry based experiences in modules carefully designed to convey an understanding of how humans, wildlife, and the natural world are connected, and to highlight the scientific process while exploring ecosystems local to their communities. $6,750.00
CT Audubon Society, “Conservation & Science Program Coordination Benefiting Middlesex County”
This grant will provide matching funds that will enable the CT Audubon Society to hire a Connecticut River Corridor School Coordinator. The Coordinator will help deliver the award-winning Science in Nature Education program to Middlesex County school children in grades 3 – 8 and will manage the citizen Science Osprey Monitoring program along the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. $5,000.00
CT River Coastal Conservation District, “Wait…There’s More! Revised & Expanded Edition of Invasive Plants in Your Backyard”
Funding will assist with the printing of an updated and expanded guide for the identification and control of common non-native invasive plants. The guide helps provide landowners with the tools and information needed to protect and enhance the natural resources on their properties. $1,000.00
Connecticut River Museum, “Invaders: They come by Air, Land and Water Project”
Funding will provide displays for the Museum’s up-coming in-house and traveling exhibit designed to both introduce visitors to the threat of invasive species and to educate them about their role in limiting this threat. $6,860.00
Lawrence School, Middletown, “Lawrence School Learns Outside”
Funding will enable third and fourth grade classrooms to have outdoor education experiences tied to common core and science curriculum, and will support a 9 week afterschool outdoor education program. $1,550.00
Middletown Garden Club / Farm Hill School, “Butterfly Garden/Outside Classroom”
Funding will assist in the restoration and enhancement of the Farm Hill School Butterfly Garden and the creation of an outdoor classroom, which will enable the elementary school students to learn about pollinators in their natural environment. $2,500.00
Middletown Public Schools, “21st Century Environmental Learners in Action Program”
Funding will combine with a state grant to assist with creating a project-based, experiential learning program focused on developing environmental awareness and 21st century skills for middle school student leaders. $8,640.00
Nathan Hale-Ray School, “Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School Accessing Outdoor Education”
Funding will expand and further develop a student-built hiking trail and garden on the grounds of Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School in Moodus that will be used to teach students about local flora and fauna and sustainability. $1,125.00
Shoreline Greenway Trail, “Interpretive Signs for the Shoreline Greenway Trail”
Funding will provide interpretive trailside signs at Hammonassett State Park. The signs will build awareness about the importance of the salt marsh, explain the rain garden that catches run-off from the trail parking lot and processes pollutants, and increase understanding about shore birds, their habits and habitats. $1,375.00
SoundWaters, “Coastal Explorers 2016: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students”
Funding is for a one-year bridge to self-funding in order to sustain the innovative 2013-2015 project that SoundWaters began in Middlesex County middle schools. The project combines teacher training with rigorous, hands-on science education, experiments, and investigation of human impacts on Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River. $4,650.00
Wesley School, Middletown, “Wesley Walks”
Funding is for 45 guided nature walks for students, teachers and families over the course of the year as well as a teacher-mentoring component intended to assist teachers in linking the natural world to classroom curriculum. $1,300.00
Wesleyan University, “Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter”
The Green Street Teaching and Learning Center will host 10 elementary-age at-risk youth for a once a week after-school program where students create environmentally inspired artwork related to the river. Funding is for the teacher fee and material costs for final projects that will be featured at Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter, an annual event celebrating the river as a source of cultural inspiration and creativity. $750.00
Commodore Macdonough School, Middletown, “Macdonough School takes the Classroom Outside,” Macdonough School’s 3rd grade and kindergarten students will learn about and be better connected with the natural world through a series of schoolyard explorations and field trips. Each program will be based on either Common Core or required science curriculum. $2,950.
CT River Coastal Conservation District, Middlefield, Middletown, “Creative Methods of Communicating Water Quality Information in the Coginchaug River Watershed,” The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District will develop creative new methods to communicate water quality information from the District’s ongoing monitoring activities in the Coginchaug River Watershed. A web-based interactive graphic display will help to build a better understanding of water quality issues and human impacts on our rivers. $1,000.
Indian Hill Cemetery Association, Middletown, “Celebration of Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery,” This project will encourage and enable children and adults to enjoy the natural world and learn about trees at the Indian Hill Cemetery. The program will include booklets about the trees along with guided walks and field trips for Middletown elementary school students.$2,740.
Middlesex Community College Foundation, Middletown, “Environmental Biology Workshop Mentorship,” This two part project connects Middletown High School students with an environmental biology lab workshop series, followed by development and execution of a community service project, mentored by Middlesex Community College students. $2,190.
RiverQuest, Haddam, “Butterfly/Pollinator Garden,” This grant will fund the creation of a butterfly garden at Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. The garden will be designed as an educational tool as well as a spot to enjoy nature. It will include plants that serve as pollinators and as food to attract butterflies and other insects. $1,000.
Wilbert Snow Elementary School, Middletown, “Outdoor Exploration at Snow School,” Snow School’s 4th grade and kindergarten students and their teachers will have hands on science and outdoor education tied to Common Core and science curriculum. This after school outdoor education programs will enrich and expand classroom learning. $2,420.
Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Rockfall, for “Project Learning Tree, Green Schools!”
to introduce the program, which is based on a U.S. EPA program and coordinated with the CT Department of Public Health, into the Middletown School System. In this program, students take responsibility for improving the environment at their schools while addressing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects. Educators will receive training, including a guidebook of lesson plans correlated to state and national academic standards, and will learn how to integrate environmental education into their curriculum, conduct environmental school audits with their students, and complete service-learning projects. Because the teachers are trained and become part of a network of similarly trained teachers, the program can continue in future years without specific CFPA participation. $12,500
SoundWaters, Stamford, for “Coastal Explorers: Meaningful Watershed Educational Exploration for Middle School Students,” to introduce their Coastal Explorers program into seven Middlesex County middle schools. The program teaches rigorous, hands-on environmental education to increase students’ scientific understanding of the Long Island Sound watershed and the downstream effects of their daily activities. Besides working directly with the students, SoundWaters provides a customized, on-line watershed science curriculum for teachers to conduct with their students. They estimate that the program will reach 1400 students in grades 6 – 8 as well as their science teachers. $12,500
Common Good Gardens, Inc., Old Saybrook, “Animal Protection Fencing,” to install fencing enclosing fruit trees and produce growing areas needing protection from foraging wildlife. The fencing will increase the gardens’ yield, which reached 7,700 pounds of food for local food pantries last year. $800
Connecticut River Watershed Council, Middlesex County, “Take me to the River,” for paddling events that will combine recreation and field based learning about water quality in Middlesex County, exploring such issues as bacteria pollution, waste water treatment and how nature works together to make a healthy river. $500
Durham Park and Recreation, Middletown, Middlefield & Durham, “Everyone Outside,” to promote environmental stewardship through walks and activates that will connect people with the natural world including the use of educational letterboxes. The program will also enhance information about the Wadsworth Legacy Properties on the Everyone Outside website and will create audio recordings of social and natural history. $1,610
Essex Town Park & Recreation Department, Essex, “2013 Essex Great Outdoors Pursuit,” a collaboration between Essex Parks & Recreation and the Essex Land Trust to offer a series of outdoor and conservation programs. These programs are designed to encourage local families to participate in positive and healthy outdoor endeavors and increase awareness of the variety of parks and open space preserves in Essex. $250
Essex Land Trust, Essex, “Exploring Nature in Essex,” includes 20 nature walks, kayak trips, lectures and educational programs to encourage Lower Connecticut River Valley residents to appreciate the local unique and fragile environment. The program will help participants learn about the importance of protecting our environment, about nature and wildlife and the need to support the preservation of open space and healthy habitats. $1,000
Franklin Academy, East Haddam, “The World Next Door: Stewardship in the Chapman Pond Nature Preserve,” supporting a number student projects that will improve accessibility to the Nature Conservancy’s Chapman Pond Nature Preserve, encourage stewardship of the natural world and educate the public and the school community about the history, nature and science of the Preserve. $2,000
Long Lane Farm, Wesleyan University, Middletown, “Middletown Food Project,” to help create a subsidized, low-cost community supported agriculture (CSA) program focused on providing healthy, sustainable and organic produce to low income families in the community. A hands-on learning program involving the children of families participating in the CSA will include lessons on sustainable farming practices and food education. $1,000
Mattabeseck Audubon Society, Middletown, “Everyone Outside: Curriculum & Docent Program for the Wadsworth Legacy Properties,” to develop and revise standard-based curriculum for the Wadsworth Legacy Properties featuring hands-on exploration of the natural world, and to support a docent training program, which will enable economically disadvantaged students from four area schools to participate. $1,520
Middlesex Community College & the YMCA, Middletown, “MxCC Internship to Connect Kids with Nature,” to support a student intern who will be trained to assist with outdoor education programs for kids to learn about and experience local ecosystems. A nature play area will be established at a Middletown school near a wooded area, enabling students to have a positive connection with nature and learn to become environmental stewards. $1,420.
New Britain Youth Museum at Hungerford Park & Van Buren Moody School, Middletown, “Living Things on the Earth,” to provide hands-on, live animal programs to augment the K-2 Science curriculum at school and during visits to the Hungerford site. $1,000
North End Action Team, Middletown, “North End Kids Market,” an intern program to assist in the organization of the North End Kids Market program (farmers market). This program is helping to increase food security by providing locally grown food to children and by supporting environmental and agricultural education. The program teaches local youth about nutrition, budgeting and the relationship between natural resource conservation, agricultural practices and food security. $3,200
Our Community Cares, Clinton, “Food for All, Jr.,” to establish a common garden in Clinton to provide fresh produce for the Clinton Food Pantry. In addition students from the Pierson School will visit the garden and learn about gardening skills, seasonal crop growing and harvesting. The goal will be to educate students about local growing cycles and horticulture and the needs of community residents. $2,500