By Denise Dittrich, MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations
In the environment bill (HF1874 – Chapter 226), there are three little talked about provisions funded through the environmental trust fund under the Environmental Education Subdivision.
The first provision, Wilderness Inquiry for Urban Students, allocates $1,093,000 to the commissioner of Natural Resources for an agreement with Wilderness Inquiry for a partnership including the National Park Service and Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools to establish a metro-wide system providing place-based environmental education using existing, but under-utilized, outdoor environmental resources serving more than 15,000 middle and high school students.
The second provision, Raptor Center Integrating Online and Outdoor Learning Environments, allocates $186,000 to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Raptor Center to develop environmental education program on raptors to be targeted to middle school students. Part of this money will support integrating outdoor experiences with technology and scientific investigation.
The third provision, Wolf Management Education, allocates $120,000 from the trust fund to the commissioner of Natural Resources for an agreement with the International Wolf Center to help reach out to metro area K-12 classrooms and nature centers in order to help children understand wolf management issues.
This money is dedicated to increasing environmental learning opportunities for urban students, which is needed. It would be very interesting to see some of these programs and how they are implemented and how they interact with the students and schools. Student testimonials would be a great way to get a better feel for how this money is used and what benefits they provide.