2019 Grants

Coginchaug Area Transition Giving Garden Working Group

Giving Garden of Durham-Middlefield

In partnership with the Town of Middlefield, the new Giving Garden is being built at the Community Center to provide fresh, free organic produce to residents whose access to healthy nutrition options are limited. The garden will follow organic protocols, working in partnership with nature. Community building will be encouraged through recruitment of volunteers and hiring an educator/outreach coordinator. Grant amount: $1,175.


Connecticut Audubon Society

Science in Nature Education Program for Chester and Deep River Elementary Schools

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center will deliver their award-winning Science in Nature Education Program to 16 classes at Deep River Elementary and Chester Elementary schools. The field-based program will focus on Weather & Climate, Geology, and Adaptations, and links hands-on learning to classroom science lessons. Students will use tools such as mobile, on-site laboratories, temperature sensors, soil moisture sensors, soil corers, soil sieves, anemometers, and compasses among others. Grant amount: $4,450.


Connecticut Forest and Park Association

Highlawn Forest Vernal Pool Education Boardwalk

This project will build a new boardwalk and educational signage to provide safe access to the large vernal pool located on the Highlawn Forest’s Discovery Trail at CFPA’s headquarters in Middlefield. The boardwalk, to be built by CFPA interns, is used for educational programs and hundreds of users of the Highlawn Forest Trails, and will serve to minimize damage to the ecosystem, as well as a learning opportunity for the interns. Grant amount: $5,000.


Indian Hill Cemetery

A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery

Through two public, guided walks, and a field trip for a Middletown school, this grant enables children and adults to learn about the beautiful trees at Indian Hill Cemetery, the geology of the tombstones, and local history, all while enjoying outside time in a beautiful, park-like cemetery. Indian Hill has one of the largest collections of interesting and large, old trees in the area, and this project will plant an additional four to six species to be used for learning purposes. Grant amount: $910.


Macdonough Elementary School

Macdonough Gets Into Nature

Students at Middletown’s Macdonough Elementary School will learn about and be better connected with the natural world through a field trip for each grade. Led by Everyone Outside, the field trips will provide hands-on science education and understanding of their local ecosystem. Macdonough teachers will receive books and equipment so they can offer more lessons about nature that incorporate the new Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Common Core State Standards. Grant amount: $1,650.


Middlesex Community College Foundation

Organic Garden Student Internship

Through establishment of a new intern-led MxCC Veteran’s Memorial Organic Garden on campus, organic produce will be distributed to Middletown Middle School’s Summer Program and to MxCC students on the Magic Food Bus. The Magic Food Bus seeks to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity faced by college students and their families, providing non-perishable food items, toiletries, and under this project fresh, organic produce. Grant amount: $4,350.


Mystic Aquarium

Amphibian Conservation through Community Stewardship

Expanding upon the citizen science Amphibian Monitoring Program, community volunteers will assist in collecting data on the presence of chytrid in amphibian species in the CT River watershed. Amphibian surveys will be conducted in a variety of wetland habitats throughout Middlesex County to further conservation of amphibian species in the region and support public education on the decline of amphibian species. Grant amount: $5,000.


North End Action Team

Ferry Street Community Garden Initiative

A community garden organizer position will be created for the Ferry Street Community Garden to provide the children and families in the north end of Middletown a community hub for experiencing and learning about organic gardening. Through volunteering and structured weekly gardening programs, students will be educated on all stages of growing and harvesting. In addition, participating children and families will receive vegetable shares from the garden and supporting farms. Grant amount: $5,250.


Town of Westbrook

Sustainable Practices Education and Demonstration in a Parking Lot Project

New interactive signage placards and plant labels will educate the public on demonstrated sustainable design and care practices in a parking lot. The half-acre, 20 space parking lot is surrounded by an urban meadow with an adjacent stream at the corner of the Boston Post Road and Route 153 in Westbrook. The placards and plant labels will highlight native plants that require minimal care, protective trees, pervious asphalt, low energy lights, and solar powered trash and recycling receptacles that call for pick-up when full, reducing unnecessary trash pick-ups. Grant amount: $3,465.


Valley Shore YMCA

Farm to Table Camp

The week-long “Farm to Table” gardening camp in August serves to educate children on the importance of growing a garden, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and upholding the responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. Students learn hands-on via two “teaching beds” in the YMCA Community Garden, a chicken coop, a farm field trip, a food preservation lesson, and a celebratory meal prepared with produce harvested from the garden. Grant amount: $2,500.


 2018 Grants

Brainerd Memorial Library

River Views: An Appreciation of our State’s Namesake Waterway

With the Connecticut River running just outside the library’s property, Brainerd Memorial Library in Haddam is working to educate patrons about the history and importance of the river. Through a 2018 series of lectures and workshops at the library, supported by a grant from the Rockfall Foundation, Brainerd will highlight the variety and diversity of wildlife, ecology and plant life in the Connecticut River watershed and help inspire individuals to advocate for the care of this important region. The workshops include presentations on the history, ecology, and geology of the river, edible plants, nature writing, and birds of prey living in the Connecticut River region. Grant amount: $1,000.


Commodore Macdonough Elementary School

Macdonough Students Get into Nature

Through collaboration with Everyone Outside, the Commodore Macdonough Elementary School’s “Macdonough Students Get into Nature” program will provide opportunities for Macdonough students to learn about and be better connected with the natural world through a series of field trips for each grade, including field trips to Indian Hill Cemetery, Wadsworth Mansion, and the Middlesex Land Trust’s Palmer-Taylor Preserve and Mica Ledges Preserve. In addition, Macdonough teachers will receive training to enable them to offer more lessons about nature and local ecosystems that incorporate the new Next Generation Science Standards as well as the common core curriculum. Grant amount: $1,980.


Connecticut Audubon Society

Schoolyard Science in Nature

The Connecticut Audubon Society will work to increase environmental literacy for more than 250 students in Middletown and Chester through the organization’s Schoolyard Science in Nature program. This grant will provide tuition to students who would otherwise be unable to participate in the program due to budgetary constraints, provide professional development workshops for 11 participating teachers, and update older equipment for the program at the Center at Glastonbury. The focus of the modules for this project is the Connecticut River Watershed. Grant amount: $5,270.


Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

CHISPA Student Internship

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Education Fund’s CHISPA student intern works on providing education to Middletown residents, including teens and their parents, about the environment and how local residents can bring their concerns into the public forum. This intern’s efforts are focused on encouraging Middletown to adopt and implement the zero emissions school bus program, as well as assisting the community in developing its own environmental agenda, activating citizens to learn more as voters, and encouraging them to engage their lawmakers concerning environmental and conservation policies. Grant amount: $4,000.


Connecticut River Museum

Shad Stories, Museum Exhibit and School Programs

Shad Stories is a program that is developing stewardship of an environmentally and culturally important native species of the Connecticut River, the American Shad. This program enhances school curriculum and visitor experiences on this important species, and is expanding the Connecticut River Museum’s exhibits dedicated to nature. All of the projects including in the Shad Stories program promote ecological awareness of the American shad, and the role they play in the food chain, river health, and the health of the people in the Connecticut River watershed. Grant amount: $4,480.


Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc.

An Ecological Landscape Benefiting Seniors and the Disabled

Currently in its design phase, this Estuary Council of Seniors’ project will provide the elderly and disabled of their Senior Center an opportunity to enjoy the estuary by transforming the center’s marsh landscape into an accessible contemplative garden. By its completion, the project will include hardscape for accessibility, as well as replacement of invasive vegetation with native plants to increase ecological productivity and reduce chemical use. Grant amount: $3,000.


Independent Day School

Expanding the use of the IDS Nature Trail by Middlesex County Families

Age appropriate guides for families to use when exploring the nature trail at The Independent Day School are being developed by project funded interns. In addition, the availability of this trail is being publicized to local organizations who serve children and families. By its completion, this project will have expanded the guided use of the IDS Nature Trail by Middlesex County families to educate, promote appreciation, and inspire stewardship  of local environmental resources. Grant amount: $1,250.


Indian Hill Cemetery

A Celebration of Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery

Through two guided walks for local families and a field trip for Farm Hill School students, A Celebration of Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery is enabling students to learn about the beautiful trees at Indian Hill Cemetery, the geology of the tombstones, and local history, all while enjoying time in nature in one of Middletown’s most lovely, park-like cemeteries. These walks include an event set for October of 2018, which will offer a family tree walk and ghost hunt on a weekend before Halloween. Grant amount: $880.


Middletown Public Schools

Stewards of the Earth

Students of Middletown Public Schools’ Woodrow Wilson and Keigwin Middle Schools are exploring human impact on water and soil, and determining how to mitigate these effects. Stewards of the Earth employs the use of a community garden project, that serves the local school community, to apply the knowledge the students have gained regarding the role of clean water and rich soil in healthy food, and the role humans play in sustainability. Grant amount: $5,000.


Valley Shore YMCA

Farm to Table Camp

In its second year funded by The Rockfall Foundation, Valley Shore YMCA will once again hold a “Farm to Table” gardening camp in August. This camp serves to educate children on the importance of growing a garden, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and upholding the responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. The 1-week camp uses four “teaching beds” in the YMCA Community Garden and it culminates with a class-led celebratory meal preparation from harvested produce, and a Final Feast including the prepared foods for camp attendees and their invitees. Grant amount: $2,500.


 2017 Grants

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 Conservancy

“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



“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


2016 Grants

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


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 ’15

“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


Lawrence School

“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

“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


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


SoundWaters ’15

“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

“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


2015 Grants

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 ’14

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.


Wilbert Snow Elementary School

“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.

2014 Grants

Connecticut Forest and Park Association ’13

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 ’13

Old Saybrook,  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


2013 Grants

Common Good Gardens, Inc.

“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 Conservancy ’12

“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

“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 Land Trust

“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


Essex Town Park & Recreation Department

“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

Franklin Academy

“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


Keigwin Middle School

“Keigwin Ecology Enhancement Program” included the development of curriculum to allow the use of Keigwin Middle School’s natural facilities to greater advantage. This project allowed for frequent “field trips” to the Keigwin woods for observation/study and enhanced all of the school field trips to Wadsworth Park through curriculum revision and development of Keigwin teachers to co-lead and teach a section of the Wadsworth curriculum. Collaboration and training of the after-school staff was also facilitated to better study the forest ecology and vernal pool at the Keigwin facility. $3,200


Long Lane Farm

“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

“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


New Britain Youth Museum at Hungerford Park & Van Buren Moody School

“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

“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

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


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