The Keep Indianapolis Beautiful GreenKids program is currently under construction. If you’re interested in applying for an outdoor classroom or greenspace for your schoolgrounds, please see the IPL Project GreenSpace application. If you’re interested in environmental education, please email Director of Education Heather Maurer at email@example.com.
Stay tuned for our Department of Education/PINE Grants webpage…
WHY KIDS NEED NATURE
In a world of ever-advancing technology, demanding schedules, and more school time spent indoors, many children find themselves disconnected from the natural world. But studies have shown that spending time in nature is beneficial for children in almost all parts of their life. Not only does it help prevent obesity, reduce stress, and build self-esteem, but it can also help restore focus in the classroom and improve cognitive functions, social skills, leadership, and collaboration.
Check out the research and see for yourself the physical and mental benefits of connecting children to nature!
Research and Publications
- University of Illinois : Landscape and Human Health Laboratory
- Nature Explore : Nature Benefits
- Natural Learning Initiative : Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature
- Follow our Youth and Nature board on Pinterest! We've pinned tons of great stuff from all over the web, from crafts to outdoor youth activities, and even less plans to keep kiddos engaged in our natural environment.
- Start your own Family Nature Club! Click here for resources, ideas and to download the Nature Clubs for Families Toolkit!
- Have a great idea, but need a little funding? Check out this environmental education crowd-funding platform, called WorthWild!
KIB GREENKIDS SCHOOLs
Schools can apply to for an outdoor classroom through our IPL Project GreenSpace program, during which we'll help build an outdoor classroom right on school grounds! The custom-designed outdoor classroom can include three main areas, each supplemented with educational lessons and activities led by KIB staff:
- Native Plant Garden
- Fruit Tree Orchard
- Nature Play Area
These three spaces help us fulfill our mission to help people and nature thrive. Each space helps improve the environment and connects children to nature so they can enjoy its many proven benefits. Take a look at some of our previous and ongoing school partnerships!
VOLUNTEER WITH US
We rely on volunteers to help create outdoor classrooms for our partner schools. Due to the sensitive nature of working with school groups (and background-check requirements), most of our volunteer opportunities are for organized groups. If your group is interested in a Custom Day of Service at one of our partner schools, contact Michaelyn Meave at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-264-7555 x101.
Projects In Nature Education (PINE) Grant: Schools of all grade levels seeking financial support for native plantings and outdoor classroom or recess area enrichment materials geared towards environmental education and support are eligible to apply for a reimbursable grant, up to a maximum of $500.00 to help fund their project. This grant also comes with the requirement of one interactive lesson regarding the project from our Department of Education with the students involved with the space.
GreenKeepers: Past GreenSpace and GreenKids partners can join our GreenKeepers network to share resources, organize volunteer days, and stay in touch with KIB. Find more info on the GreenKeepers Facebook page.
Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP): Past project partners active in our GreenKeepers group are encouraged to apply for a reimbursement grant to help complete maintenance and other greenspace projects. Grants can be requested for up to $500.
Media: If you're currently a GreenKids school, you can find media resources here.
Not Ready Yet For An Official Greenkids Program At Your School?: There are plenty of other ways we can help you get your kids outside and learning about nature! We would love to guest speak at your school or host a field trip to KIB. Check out our Youth & Education Resources for outdoor activities, links to curriculum guides, and other youth- and nature-related initiatives around Indianapolis. This list is growing every day!