During 2020 and 2021, federal support for economic recovery and Covid-19 response has meant that significant funds have been made available to Maine public schools and the partner organizations that support them, and outdoor learning has been a major focus of those funds for many districts. In 2020, CARES Act and Cares Act Extension funds were the main funding mechanisms. In 2021, and continuing through 2024, the American Recovery Plan provides similar support. Below, read and share the 2-page introduction to how districts can use these funds in support their students through outdoor learning in your district. The resource is relevant for both public school districts and the organizations they partner with.
Moreover, There are numerous grants for Maine teachers and schools available from Maine-based and national foundations and agencies that fund small and large projects. See the spreadsheet below for up-to-date funding opportunities.
Of course, every school’s greatest resource is its community. Many educators have been able to build outdoor classrooms, easels, picnic tables, benches, school gardens and more on a shoestring by reaching out to local businesses and school families for materials and construction. Many community members are looking for ways to contribute and support their local schools and are eager to respond to requests for support.
Schools can access 2021 federal relief funding to support outdoor learning efforts, including partner programming, building outdoor learning structures, and gear and transportation.
Recorded Training on Funding
In this workshop from the 2021 Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) conference, Maine funders explain the different types of funding opportunities available to those engaging in nature based education in Maine.