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School Improvement RFP of the Week: Is There a Business in Schoolyard Habitats?

Announcement: Schoolyard Habitat Projects Due June 27 (May 28) U.S. Department of the Interior

Their Description:
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is implementing its “Connecting People with Nature Program.” To realize its vision of conserving species and habitats by connecting people with nature in Nevada, the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office desires to provide funding for the “Schoolyard Habitat Program” and seeks educational institutions as partners, grades K-8. The purpose of this requirement is focused on providing funding assistance to help teachers and students create wildlife habitat on school grounds; for education; outreach; and the improvement of fish and wildlife habitat in urban area. Funds will be passed through to partnering educational institutions using a Challenge Cost Share Assistance Agreement with cost share requirements.....

[S]tatement of work in project proposals should have objectives and goals that result in the following benefits:

Improved habitat: Schoolyard habitat projects provide habitat for local and migratory wildlife including songbirds, shorebirds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. In many cases, these habitats also provide a vegetative buffer to nearby streams, reducing pollution reaching these waterways.

Teaching and learning: Schoolyard habitats offer many teaching and learning opportunities in English, science, mathematics, history, geography, social studies and art. The process of planning, creating and using a habitat provides children with unique hands-on experiences....

Stewardship: During the formative years of life, students develop perceptions and values about their environment. If designed and managed properly, schoolyards can provide students a powerful example of land stewardship. Conversely, it is less likely that students will develop a sense of stewardship if attending a barren, poorly managed schoolyard.

Social development.... A well-designed schoolyard including a diversity of natural areas, allows students to exercise these innate needs leading to a happier and more fulfilled childhood....

Information Needed....

[A] brief plan (no more than 3 pages) how federal funds could help teachers and students in either (or all) of these ways: to create wildlife habitat on school grounds; for education and outreach; or for the improvement of fish and wildlife habitat in urban areas..... Deliverables can also include presentations, workshops, seminars, and publications... training, textbooks and materials, field trips, etc.

Cost Sharing Requirements....

Applicant’s cost sharing is required at a 50% match. Cost sharing may be made through cash or in-kind contributions from the applicant, or third party partners. Each proposal shall include a funding plan that describes how the non-Service share of the costs will be obtained. During the activity, indirect costs which are incurred and will not be recovered may be included as part of your cost-share. In-kind contributions will be counted in-lieu of cash....

My Thoughts:
School improvement providers on the lookout for grants they might leverage to market their programs. Here is an opportunity with a one-to-one dollar match - including in-kind contributions. The products and services that might benefit include schoolyard equipment and landscape design, service and experiential learning, science curriculum and supplementary materials. The possibilities are not quite endless, but - if this Department of Interior program grows - they are intriguing.

K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report is a comprehensive weekly web-enabled report delivered by email on Monday. It covers grant and contract RFPs issued by every federal and state education and social services agency and every school district over the internet. K-12Leads is for school improvement providers who understand that their offerings are not commodities, rarely displayed as such, and so easily missed by traditional computer-based “word search” systems.

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