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Nebraska Academy of Sciences

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PIE Grant of the Month 

Stories from the Field 


Environmental Education for the Community Birchcrest Project (21-03-3P)

This grant was developed to enhance the learning gains from  mutiple previous PIE grants (18-03-2P Applying 4H and Scout Knowledge for the Community, 14-03-2P Growing Flora for Nebraska Pollinators, 19-05-3P Helping the Community Water Quality and Conservation, and 20-02-3P Environmental Education for Community Assisted Living Areas). This project ties the common need of water management and water quality as top crucial factors for plant growth in our raise bed classroom being pioneered at the raise beds at the Giles, Old Millard, LeMay, and Birchcrest sites. Each site has an aquaponic unit to continue learning year-round inside. With the creation of the sites at Lemay Elementary with 368 youth and Birchcrest with an additional 367 youth will integrate their learning at Bellevue Public School curriculum with a hands-on real-world application with an Outdoor Classroom. There are 195 students involved between the five different state projects from 4H and Scouts in Douglas and Sarpy counties. With the 4H students using this as part of their county and state exhibits. This year we have developed raise beds and new aquaponic units at Birchcrest and LeMay Elementary. Through Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and Nebraska Forest Service we replaced ten trees with three black cherry, two black oak, two chinkapin oak, two American linden, one honeylocust tree to increase biodiversity while increasing food production.

The grant has developed an incredible outreach to youth and education. At LeMay Elementary School, we have 115 youth taking the learning home with 3D printed planters to grow fresh produce or pollinator plants. This outreach has partnered with Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District to give out plant seeds in community events at Millard Public School STEAM Summer Program with these new planters. This is developing into next year project by all the youth, Environmental Education for the Millard, and Bellevue Public Schools Project. The youth are drawing up the rough project drafts to be reviewed by Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District to further develop these amazing sites with Outdoor Classrooms.

Photos included from all mentioned grants. 

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