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Request for Proposals from the

Nebraska Department of Education/Nebraska Early Childhood Training Center

for Creation of a Certified Nature Explore Classroom Demonstration Site

Funds are available to help create a certified Nature Explore Classroom demonstration site in Nebraska. The goal of the project is to develop an exemplary site that will become part of the national network of Nature Explore Classrooms so that they may serve as a demonstration site for other programs wishing to use nature as an integral part of children’s daily learning.  Your organization is being invited to apply for these funds.

To become a certified Nature Explore Classroom demonstration site, your organization must meet the following yearly requirements:

1.  Well-designed outdoor space: Provide evidence that principles from the  Learning with Nature Idea Book were used in the design of new spaces, or the enhancement of existing spaces. For renewal, provide evidence of annual maintenance.

2.  Staff development: Provide evidence that staff have attended a full-day Nature Explore Workshop. For renewal, provide evidence of annual professional development relating to nature education.

3.  Family involvement: Provide evidence that activities or materials designed to increase family awareness and involvement in nature education for young children are provided on an on-going basis.

The staff member designated as the Nature Explore Classroom Coordinator will submit the Nature Explore Classroom initial and renewal applications, providing documentation that the requirements have been met. Programs designated as certified Nature Explore Classrooms receive national recognition, and signage for display at their sites.

The program chosen to become certified Nature Explore Classroom demonstration site will receive the following funding and support:

1.  Staff Training support:  The program will receive free training for up to 30 staff, with a total value not to exceed $3,000.

2.  Technical assistance: The program will receive a free consultation from a Nature Explore landscape architect/education specialist team to help develop the initial plan for outdoor space design or enhancement, following field-tested principles, with a total value of $3,500.

3.  Stipends for outdoor materials: The program will receive a stipend of $3,000 to purchase natural outdoor equipment available from the Nature Explore Sourcebook. 

4.  Public recognition: The program will receive national recognition as an Outdoor Classroom/Nature Explore Classroom demonstration site. 

To apply to become a demonstration site, programs must meet the following requirements:

1.  Workshop attendance:  Staff members (including at least one with administrative or decision-making authority) must attend an initial Nature Explore Workshop.  (More information on this workshop will be mailed to all programs who apply for these funds.)  It is desired that larger programs send a team of staff members, but it is not required that all staff members attend. 

2.  Nature Explore Classroom Certification Standards: The program must make a commitment to meeting the requirements to become a certified Nature Explore Classroom:
•    Well-designed outdoor space: Provide evidence that principles from the Learning with Nature Idea Book were used in the design of new spaces, or the enhancement of existing spaces. For renewal, provide evidence of annual maintenance.
•    Staff development: Provide evidence that staff have attended a full-day Nature Explore Workshop.   For renewal, provide evidence of annual professional development relating to nature education.
•    Family involvement: Provide evidence that activities or materials designed to increase family awareness and involvement in nature education for young children are provided on an on-going basis.


3.  Community Collaboration: The program must show evidence of intent to create community collaborations in working to become a demonstration.  (Examples of collaboration include support from parent groups or donations of materials or supplies from local businesses.)

4.  Funding Support: The program must show evidence of a plan to supplement the grant funds with funds or in-kind donations from other sources.

Please complete the following application and mail to:
JoAnn Rall
Dimensions Educational Research Foundation
2045 E Street
Lincoln, NE 68510
For questions, or to E-mail this application, contact JoAnn Rall at joannr@dimensionsfoundation.org

Nature Explore Demonstration Site Application

Program Name:_________________________________________________________________

Address:__________________________________ Phone number:________________________

Program Administrator:___________________________________________________________

Staff Member Designated as Outdoor Classroom/Nature Explore Classroom Coordinator:


______________________________________________________________________________

1.  Names of staff member(s) who will attend the initial Nature Explore Workshop series:

1a. Have any staff members previously attended a Nature Explore Workshop? Please specify:

2.  Please describe your commitment to meeting the standards for becoming a Nature Explore Classroom Demonstration site:

3.  Please describe your plan for community collaboration in carrying out this project:

4.  Please describe your plan for securing supplemental funding or in-kind donations:

5.  Why do you believe your program should be chosen as a demonstration site?

6.  Do you agree to allow scheduled visitation to your demonstration site if visits are arranged with you in advance and at your convenience?