Did you know the average American child spends over six hours a day in front of a screen -- yet only four to seven minutes playing outside?! Thankfully, in our area, Monmouth Conservation Foundation's Kids for Conservation program is helping to change that.

The inspiration behind Kids for Conservation is to grow future conservationists!  By exposing children to nature, we are planting the seeds of curiosity and a sense of wonder in children's lives today - encouraging an understanding and caring for the natural world for their entire lives.

The Kids for Conservation program is a STEM and STEAM based educational enrichment program that brings nature straight to kids!   STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Alternatively, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.  The program reaches children through conservation science into the lives of children in urban, suburban, and underserved communities.

A primary focus of the program is to foster a curiosity about nature and the outdoors in all children in all walks of life in Monmouth County.  To accomplish this, the program uses a variety of techniques to meet the needs of teachers, caregivers, and children as follows:

  • Kids for Conservation Contest – Kindergartenclasses across Monmouth County use lesson plans to learn about a conservation science issue and then integrate what they learned into a class contest submission. Schools win cash prizes to support their STEM programs.

  • In-school visits – K-12 – MCF staff has a variety of interactive and fun educational modules that are taught in classrooms or club settings.

  • Afterschool modules – K-12 – MCF partners with after-school and community center organizations to offer STEM education in underserved programs across the county.

  • Days in the park – K-5 – MCF offers kids nature hikes, scavenger hunts, and other nature based crafts and activities at park locations across the county for families to enjoy.

In the Works:

The program is currently entering its 5th year and each year the program evolves thanks to feedback and input from the schools, families, and organizations we partner with.  As a result, the program continues to improve and grow.  Here are some of the upcoming changes we are currently in the process of implementing:

  • Bringing tower gardens into the schools! What better way for students to learn about growing and eating organic healthy food than by watching it grow right in their school or after-school environment. Tower gardens are a wonderful learning tool for students of all ages to learn about science, local foods, and nutrition, as well as a potential career opportunity in the growing field of urban aeroponic agriculture.

  • Strengthen and establish new relationships with underserved schools & afterschool programs for free. Many students do not have easy walkable access to a backyard or safe community greenspace. These are often the children who have the weakest connection to the outdoors. Therefore, MCF is working through community partners such as YMCA and Boys & Girls Club to establish continual educational experiences that engage the students in nature based activities both in the classroom and on field trips.


Interested in learning more?  Please contact MCF program staff, Amanda Brockwell at