Grants Support Environmental Education in Berkshires

Nov 28, 2012

Several environmental nonprofits in the Berkshires have been awarded funds to encourage outdoor and environmental education. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports….

The Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund recently announced over fifteen thousand dollars in grants that will benefit seven nonprofit organizations in the Berkshires. The fund, managed by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, is focusing on expanding youth environmental education on land and water conservation.

The Flying Cloud Institute is one of the organizations to receive part of the grant. They were awarded $3,000 to support their Berkshire Environmental Education Network. Executive Director Jane Burke explains that the Network helps connect teachers throughout the Berkshires share ideas on environmental education, and that the programs that the Institute offers assist school districts in engaging youth learning in the STEM fields – Science Technology, Engineering and Math…

The Housatonic Valley Association was awarded $2,000 to help develop educational programming for kids and adults about rain gardens. Allison Dixon, Berkshire Outreach Manager for the HVA says that after the City of Pittsfield completed its downtown streetscape renovations, which included installing rain gardens in the sidewalks, it provided an opportunity for others to learn about this particular kind of Low Impact Development.

Other recipients include the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Greenagers, the Great Barrington Land Conservancy, the Hoosic River Watershed Association, and the Muddy Brook elementary School.

The Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund is overseen by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which is now observing its 25th anniversary and recently announced that it has seen 100 million dollars in charitable giving go to projects across Berkshire County, Litchfield County, CT and Dutchess and Columbia Counties in NY.

Jennifer Dowley, president of the Foundation says her organization sets up funds that allow members of their local communities to give back and support cultural and educational programs.

Dowley also said that the Foundation is dedicated to helping area school districts by allowing individuals, business owners, and other members of the community support their schools.