Wilderness Education Mini-Grants Awarded

Under the Wilderness Forever program--formed to continue the work of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act--applications were accepted in 2015 for wilderness education mini-grants. Ten finalists were selected for additional screening and four organizations were selected for mini-grants of up to $10,000 each. Overall, the Wilderness Forever program dispersed approximately $30,000 of non-federal, discretionary proceeds remaining from the October 2014 National Wilderness Conference back into the wilderness community to support organizations and programs that foster the next generation of wilderness stewards and activists. The following organizations were awarded funds by the Wilderness Forever Program Grants Selection Committee:

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness - $5,000
Now in its fourteenth year, the Thomas Flint Canoe Trip program sends approximately 60 youth from Hmong, African American, Native American and Latino communities, accompanied by mentors, to spend a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Progress update from July 2016; Final report from September 2016.

Friends of Saguaro National Park - $8,000
The "Park Stewards" program engages 150 Arizona College Prep Academy students through a semester-long class on wilderness, wilderness character monitoring and hands-on service learning within Arizona's Saguaro Wilderness, and summer wilderness internships. Project update from May 2016; Final report from October 2016.

Native American Land Conservancy - $10,000
The Old Woman Mountains Wilderness Learning Landscapes program introduces 30 Cahuilla, Mojave, and Chemehuevi tribal youth to the natural and cultural heritage in California's Old Woman Mountains Wilderness and the adjacent Native-managed Old Woman Mountains Preserve through two-day intensive field classes. Project update from May 2016; Final report from December 2016

North Cascades Institute - $6,550
The Youth Leadership Adventures program serves 100 low-income youth annually through one- and two-week stewardship work trips in Washington's North Cascades wildernesses and ongoing mentorship opportunities. Project update from August 2016; Final report from December 2016.

Wilderness Forever Program Grants Selection Committee members included:

  • Lisa Ronald, Wilderness Forever board chair, former 50th Communications Coordinator (committee facilitator)
  • Adam Liljeblad, National Forest Foundation (granting process advisor)
  • Aricia Martinez, National Wilderness Conference Youth Scholar, UC Merced Wilderness Education Center
  • Dylan Lang, National Wilderness Conference Youth Scholar
  • Elaine Poster, Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center (Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service)
  • Matt Kirby, Sierra Club Nearby Nature Program
  • Jarrod Ball, Student Conservation Association
  • Jason Grubb, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  • Ken Watson, Yosemite National Park, former 50th Education Committee Chair