Help a child discover the places you did
You found nature, right?
So, help a child find nature too by supporting the No Child Left Inside Program.
This unique effort funds youth fishing, hiking, biking, nature discovery and other outdoor experiences throughout Minnesota.
The program works. In fact, youth and outdoor organizations have submitted grant applications that far exceed funds available, meaning many programs that would have introduced a child to nature are not occurring.
You can change that. Simply click the donate button below. It can be the spark that ignites positive change.
That's because the child who discovers and appreciates nature today is more likely to conserve and protect it tomorrow.
Thank you for your support.
How we've helped
World's biggest classroom • Students of fishing • Kids & snow • Preschoolers discover nature
Grant aims to increase learning from being outdoors
A No Child Left Inside grant is enabling a Twin Cities elementary school to achieve its goal of using the outdoors as the “world’s biggest classroom.” Grant dollars were used by the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley to modify curricula so that kindergarten and first grade students can learn outdoors using, in part, equipment funded by the grant. The school teaches students to become critical thinkers, innovators and problem solvers by infusing science, technology, engineering, math and arts into every subject.
The School of Engineering and Arts is part of the Robbinsdale Area School District. It received a $3,000 grant. Funds were used to purchase binoculars, magnifying glasses, digging tools and other outdoor equipment to enhance outdoor learning experiences for kindergarten and first grade students. Funds also were used for curricula mapping to align equipment use with curricula.
The grant has served as a catalyst for learning, as the new curricula has inspired curiosity in students and teachers alike. Outdoor learning has tapped into students’ innate ability and desire to learn through exploration and discovery. Grant funds have allowed the school to provide many outdoor experiences of wonder.
Initially, grant outcomes were less than anticipated due to distance learning protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that has changed and the school envisions long-term positive benefits. That’s because grant-funded curricula mapping has given teachers detailed information on how to engage students in outdoor education. This is likely to generate impacts for years to come, even with staff turnover.
The DNR funded this grant to increase nature understanding and awareness in urban elementary school students. This is important because those who understand and appreciate nature in their youth are more likely to support and environmental and natural resource conservation causes as adults.
Student fishing group catching on in big way
A No Child Left Inside grant is enabling hundreds of students throughout the state to enjoy the outdoors by participating in a virtual fishing league. The recently formed Student Angler Organization is a volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to increasing youth fishing opportunities and environmental awareness. Through a NCLI grant, the state is helping this organization achieve its mission of creating a passion for the outdoors in students and their families.
The Student Angler Organization was awarded $49,000. Grant funds were used to develop infrastructure (websites and mobile device applications), conduct fishing events, purchase trophies and manage the grant.
The grant has enabled the Student Angler Association to achieve its goal of implementing a statewide fishing league. Grant funds were instrumental in creating and updating the Virtual Fishing League website at www.studentangler.org and related Student Angler Tournament Trail website at www.mnsatt.org. Website and mobile applications are at the heart of this fishing organization. They are how students enroll in the league, register for events, enter their catches, view league results and more. Thanks to online technology students can fish locally yet compete statewide by submitting catch information via a mobile device.
The Student Angler Organization held five events in 2020 and four events in 2021, garnering more than 3,000 registrations. Student interest is high. In 2020, one league event open to 200 teams (400 anglers) filled in seven minutes. Similarly, in 2021 a Student Angler Tournament Trail in 2021 event filled in six minutes.
The DNR funded this program because it addresses the state’s long-term decline in angler participation. Studies have shown that those who fish in their youth are more likely to fish as adults. Moreover, this program promotes nature appreciation, potentially converting students into life-long advocates for natural resources conservation.
Duluth has snow; grant helps kids enjoy it
Youth in Duluth are experiencing the outdoors in a new way thanks to a No Child Left Inside grant. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department used grant funds to purchase snowshoes and offer free snowshoeing sessions for city youth.
The City of Duluth was awarded $5,000. It used this money to purchase 28 pairs of snowshoes and four pair of tail extensions. Additionally, grant funds were used for bus fees and staff time to develop and implement the program. The city intends to use their newly acquired snowshoes long into the future and may allow other organizations to use them too, thereby providing even more free outdoor opportunities for youth.
Initially, nearly 200 youth went snowshoeing. The city’s program appealed to many community sectors. Participants included members of school programs, church groups, agencies that serve youth, scout groups and school classrooms. Coupled with snowshoeing, the city’s program included team building exercises, group games and lessons about the natural world. Snowshoeing allowed participants to try something new, enjoy the outdoors during winter and build social connections.
Post event surveys indicated participants were satisfied with the experience. Most respondents said they would like to snowshoe again. Groups that had two or three sessions showed more comfort with the activity and with staff facilitators. An additional benefit of the grant was that it enabled the city to build new relationships with various community groups. The city hopes to continue these relationships by offering other outdoor experiences during different seasons, including more snowshoeing in the winter.
This project enabled youth to participate in an outdoor winter activity without having to overcome the barriers of equipment expense and transportation to a recreation destination. Further, it enabled youth to use high quality equipment and learn from trained staff.
Grant helps preschool students discover nature
A No Child Left Inside grant is helping urban preschoolers discover nature. Instructors at the Minneapolis Nature Preschool immerse students in nature-based activities, so they can learn about their environment and reasons to protect it.
Minneapolis Nature Preschool received $44,785. Funds were used to hire naturalist teachers, purchase classroom supplies, acquire outdoor equipment, create and post interpretive signs, administer the grant and more.
To date, more than 125 children age five and younger have attended the Minneapolis Nature Preschool, which is located within the Bryn Mawr Elementary School. Moreover, more than 70 children have participated in various nature-based pre-school summer camps.
Beyond those numbers, hundreds of other children - those enrolled at the Bryn Mawr elementary and middle schools - have benefited from nature-based learning thanks to a pre-school initiated joint collaboration. That’s because the preschool took steps to capitalize on the adjacent 11-acre school forest, involving students to map the land, design trails, create interpretive signs and more. Thanks to grant funds, one acre of school forest has been converted into a nature play area that includes garden beds, picnic tables and benches.
The grant has created a positive vibe in this North Minneapolis community. To date, more than 117 volunteers have contributed more than 520 hours of service to the preschool. Volunteers water newly planted trees, share nature information in educational videos, fill bird feeders and more.
"The school forest is a huge asset. By incorporating D/Lakota language into interpretive signs we have provided a meaningful platform for Dakhóta language immersion camps. In the middle of Minneapolis, this forest offers people of all ages a chance to connect with nature to learn, heal and explore."
– Alyson Quinn, preschool director
The Department of Natural Resources approved this grant to increase nature discovery in urban children. This is important because those who understand and appreciate nature at an early age are more likely to become conservation advocates in adulthood.