Utah Outdoor Classroom Grant Fund
Policy Type Legend
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Outdoor Learning in Schools
Early Childhood Education
In 2022, Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation began offering a Utah Outdoor Classroom Grant Fund to fund permanent infrastructure that supports student learning at community-based non-profit organizations or publicly funded K-12 schools to help get Utah’s K-12 students outside
In 2013, Utah became the first state to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation. Since then, the office has become a national leader working to broaden the economic value of Utah’s outdoors through collaboration with various business and community partners. The Office of Outdoor Recreation developed grants through three 1-year appropriations to support infrastructure in 2015, 2016, and 2018. In 2017, after proven grant program success, and demand becoming clear, the Utah State Legislature created the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant Fund, and in 2018, this expanded funding was awarded for the first time. In 2020, community members and previous applicants expressed a need for additional funding, and two additional tiers were created:
Regional Asset Tier, to allow funding for larger projects.
Recreation Restoration Infrastructure Grant, to help support the backlog of maintenance needs.
In 2021, the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation set a goal to support outdoor education for youth, and developed the Utah Outdoor Classroom Grant with input from environmental education partners from across the state.
Eligible projects include amphitheaters, pergolas, picnic tables, pollinator gardens, and other landscaping. Funds from this grant cannot be used to support the purchase of materials that may only last one season (i.e., pop-up tents, camp chairs, etc.)
Applications should include reference to how their project will encourage a connection to a nature-based curriculum and/or outdoor recreation opportunities. Applicants must include specific examples of nature-based curriculum and outdoor activities they intend to teach outdoors. The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation Grant Programs created an Outdoor Classrooms Toolkit for resources on planning, building, and designing a curriculum in accordance with grant guidelines.
The Utah Outdoor Classroom Grant funding is dedicated to permanent, built infrastructure that can support student learning. The Utah Children’s Outdoor Classroom Grant Fund is a category of Utah Outdoor Recreation Grants (UORG). It is a mini-grant with awards between $500-$10,000 available for community-based non-profit organizations or publicly funded K-12 schools to help get Utah’s students outside.
After receiving funding from the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant (UORG) fund, which is funded with a small percentage of Transient Room Tax (TRT), and was additionally funded by a one-time appropriation of $4 million in 2021 to this fund to help offset the lower TRT numbers due to COVID and travel restrictions, the Utah Outdoor Classroom Grant awarded about $177,000 to 19 applicants in 2021. UORG applicants can additionally fund their projects through other grants, school districts, non-profit general funds, donors, etc.
Grants are given as a 1:1 match. The matching contribution can come from both the applicant and project partner, and half of that match must be in cash. Projects must be completed within 18 months of the signed contract date. Up to 75% of the matched funding may be given before the completion of the project, and final funding is contingent upon inspection of the completed project.
Most Recent Yearly Funding
Continuing or One-time Funding
Small percentage of Transient Room Tax, and a one-time appropriation from COVID relief funds.
Path to Enactment
Office of Outdoor Recreation