A grant program designed to encourage organizations to create new and innovative ways to support and understand the local environment has awarded four local projects a total of $20,000 in grant support.
Retired KU professor Elizabeth Schultz created the environmental fund at the Douglas County Community Foundation in 2005 with a simple mission in mind, “I wanted our community to ‘focus on the crocus’,” said Schultz. “If we pay attention to our own immediate environment and if others around the world would do that too, there is a chance that we as humans might be able to protect the world for the future – for all living creatures. I really do believe in our working together to do this. We need to recognize that being kind to the environment is being kind to humans – it is a win-win situation – all we have to do is DO IT!”
Schultz, along with a committed group of advisory committee members, reviewed grant applications in late October and grants were awarded at a special Douglas County Community Foundation event on November 14. Committee members include: Sharon Ashworth, Sarah Hill-Nelson, Nancy Jackson, Dan Nagengast, and Elizabeth Schultz.
The Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund (ESEF) awards grants each year to support a variety of local efforts to preserve and understand nature. The four projects receiving support this year will all benefit the citizens of Douglas County in a variety of ways.
Growing Green Kids at Ballard Community Services will initiate environmentally friendly practices, including recycling, composting and gardening, into daily activities at the Ballard Center Preschool. The project will benefit disadvantaged preschool students, their families, and Ballard staff by increasing understanding of nature and resource conservation while providing the opportunity to grow and consume fresh produce. The project received a $9,850.00 in grant support.
With a $3,500.00 grant award, the Kansas Land Trust (KLT) project will continue the preservation of the Lawrence Nature Park owned and managed by Lawrence Parks and Recreation. KLT will convert 5.5 acres of a brome field into a prairie with prairie forbs and grasses. This prairie restoration will significantly add biodiversity to the park, enhance wildlife habitat, create a pollinator habitat, and enhance the scenic landscape for hikers.
The Lawrence Public Library Foundation received a $3,500.00 grant award to bring professor of environmental studies and geology and author of color, Laurent Savoy, to our community to share her multiple-award-winning book Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape. As an educator and Earth historian, Savoy will lead a lecture, likely held at Liberty Hall, to discuss the crucial intersection of race and the environment.“This project reflects the range of goals we are committed to – the library is bringing in a great environmental writer who will share with our community the ways in which communities interact with a much larger environmental vision,” said Schultz. “Encouraging people to read about the environment is an important part of our mission.”
A special award was given by the ESEF to Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT) in honor of Marilyn Hull and her work for FLAT in the amount of $3,792.00.
“Marilyn really helped ESEF get off and running, and through her personal dedication to FLAT she has continued her commitment to improving our environment. We were so pleased to support a project so near and dear to Marilyn’s heart,” said Schultz.
DCCF will be following the progress of each of these projects over the next year. ESEF grants are designed to benefit all of Douglas County and nonprofits throughout the community, including Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence and Lecompton, are encouraged to apply. Applications will be available in September of 2019.