2017 KEEN Effect Grantees: Fostering future stewards
With all of the issues surrounding environmental protections and policy this past year, it’s easy to take our eyes off of long-standing issues. Lurking behind all of the headlines of toxic spills, public land heists, and violence are grim stats that hint at a future strongly disconnected from the natural world.
So, for our fourth annual KEEN Effect grants cycle, we chose grantees that specifically address the issue of Nature Deficit Disorder — a pandemic impacting a global generation of children with record low experiences in natural spaces, leaving them with little passion, inspiration, or reason to take action when these spaces need a voice.
We chose grantees that specifically address the issue of Nature Deficit Disorder — a pandemic impacting a global generation of children with record low experiences in natural spaces.
By selecting programs that bring diverse audiences of children outside for natural science education, adventurous recreation, and environmental stewardship projects, the KEEN Effect grants program is actively building a future where grown-ups can reflect on lasting, formative experiences that built their values in the outdoors and defined their childhoods.
We are discovering the best grassroots organizations developing youth in the outdoors worldwide. They are breaking down the silos of outdoor activities, embracing creativity and ingenuity in educational programming, growing scientific literacy, and showing urgent conservation needs while addressing racial, economic, gender, ability and environmental justice.
Welcome to our 2017 KEEN Effect grantees!
1. Careyes Foundation
Ecology Education and Outdoor Recreation in Coastal Mexico, Careyes, Jalisco, MX
Develops a hands-on ecology education and outdoor recreation program for underserved rural schoolchildren in Jalisco, Mexico. Through conservation field trips and community bike rides, witness the beauty of coastal ecosystems that helps them become lifelong stewards of their local environment. careyesfoundation.org
2. Isles, Inc.
Activate and Revitalize! Community-Based Environmental Engagement, Trenton, NJ
Engages urban Trenton youth in place-based environmental education and hands-on learning, like urban agriculture, mobile recreation, and green infrastructure. Through gardening and growing food, children learn about public spaces, nutrition and the critical connection they have to the earth. isles.org
3. Mississippi Park Connection
Every Kid in a Park, St. Paul, MN
Introduces 100 fourth and fifth grade classrooms to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Through watching otters, primitive skills education, fishing, paddling and geocaching, underserved youth will discover the outdoors in their back yard for the first time. parkconnection.org
4. Environment for the Americas
GALS: Girls on outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science, Longmont, CO
Leading high school girls of color on week-long backcountry experiences to explore and study the natural world. Participants are accompanied by scientists to conduct hands-on studies of wildlife, water quality, the impacts of climate change all while backpacking and camping Rocky Mountain National Park. environmentamericas.org
5. Conservtz Water
Rainwater Harvesting Schools and Radio Water Education in Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Sets up two school rain harvesting and tree planting projects and a local vernacular radio show in semi-arid Kenya. Children in the region will learn about water conservation projects and then create poems, songs and short stories for other children in the region. facebook.com/conservtz
6. Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Inc.
Lead & Learn Conservation and Sustainability Program, Milwaukee, WI
Provides meaningful employment opportunities in natural resources/environmental sustainability fields to students of color to encourage future environmental leaders and agents of change. Activities like organic agriculture, prairie restoration, beekeeping, and climate change tracking engage over 500 low-income youth. www.neighborhoodhousemke.org
7. Sail To Prevail
Confidence is Cool, Newport, RI
Children with physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, spina bifida and downs syndrome experience outdoor activities such as sailing, swimming, kite flying, and field trips to the aquarium, zoo and art museum. Self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills are learned through overcoming adversity. sailtoprevail.org
8. Human Access Project
Elementary School Outreach, Portland, OR
Provides 30 Portland metro schools with education, inspiration, and opportunity to steward the Willamette River. Both in-school presentations and on-site clean-ups and recreation reconnects a community estranged from a once-polluted major waterway. www.humanaccessproject.com
9. Cahaba Riverkeeper, Inc.
Cahaba River Assessment and Education Project, Birmingham, AL
Educates underprivileged youth and their teachers about the importance, quality, protections, and native perspectives of one of the most aquatically diverse rivers in North America, the Cahaba of Alabama. Natural science and environmental projects are woven into a recreational setting to create active waterkeepers. www.cahabariverkeeper.org
10. The Lands Council
Snow Science and Water Resources in a Changing Climate, Spokane, WA
Enables local youth to strap on snowshoes, hike up a mountain, and analyze their local water budget up close and personal: in a snow pit where it all begins! Students will calculate watershed runoff, analyze impacts of climate change, practice avalanche safety and awareness, and identify plant/animal adaptations to winter. landscouncil.org
11. Back Country Land Trust
Living Classroom Program, Alpine, CA
Engage local students in environmental education programs on a community-owned nature preserve. Students participate in a hands-on outdoor education curriculum featuring habitat restoration and service learning projects in partnership with teachers and scientific professionals. backcountrylandtrust.org
These wonderful grantees were chosen by our KEEN Effect Committee – a group of 10 employees from across our organization who play an integral part in forming the direction of our grant dollars. For more than a month this team dove into nearly 900 passionate applications from NGOs spanning nearly all U.S. states and representing several countries. We can't wait to see the positive impact our 11 grantees make. Visit keenfootwear.com/grants for more about the KEEN Effect grants program.