Monmouth Conservation Foundation Unveils Preschool Winners of Kids for Conservation Contest
Preschool students earn grants for their conservation creativity
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By Heather Keefe (Open Post) March 16, 2015
Monmouth Conservation Foundation, a non-profit organization that collaboratively has preserved more than 22,500 acres of open space and farmland throughout Monmouth County, is proud to announce the young winners of its Kids for Conservation contest. As part of the contest, Monmouth Conservation Foundation provided $2,500 in academic grants for Monmouth County students.
Kids for Conservation is an academic enrichment program that Monmouth Conservation Foundation created for preschool and kindergarten students in Monmouth County. The program was funded, in part, with a Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant given by New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
The purpose of Kids for Conservation is to teach children and adults about their environment and how to care for it. The program emphasizes the importance of land conservation, wildlife protection, and the preservation of farms, farmland, and open space.
From September 3 to November 7, 2014, Kids for Conservation was open to all preschool and kindergarten students in Monmouth County. The schools were challenged to implement one of the lesson plans provided by Monmouth Conservation Foundation (pertaining to rainwater, wildlife, trees, and other topics) or develop their own lesson plan. They created projects and shared artwork demonstrating what they had learned about preserving and protecting a clean environment.
The first-place winner of Kids for Conservation is Janet Ford’s Midstreams class at Atlantis Prep School in Manasquan. The students (4½-5 years old) created an interactive water cycle project and earned a $1,500 academic grant from Monmouth Conservation Foundation.
The second-place winner is the Learning Experience of Wall. A “seasons tree” project, led by teachers KristyLyn Krais and Kelly Lord, incorporated nature into learning the alphabet. The preschool students earned a $500 grant from Monmouth Conservation Foundation for their school.
A second component of Kids for Conservation is Discovering Nature at Home. Monmouth Conservation Foundation encouraged preschool and kindergarten students to draw, paint, or photograph an aspect of nature that they discovered while outside. Richie Wagner, a four-year-old resident of Manalapan, earned a $500 academic scholarship from Monmouth Conservation Foundation for his depiction of a dinosaur as “nature from the past” and leaves as “nature from today.”
According to Lisa McKean, Managing Director of Marketing and Development for Monmouth Conservation Foundation, the foundation is eager to continue motivating children and adults to participate in environmental education.
“At Monmouth Conservation Foundation,” McKean explains, “we want to inspire children to engage in and become passionate about nature – to play outdoors and make their own discoveries about the environment.
“With the Kids for Conservation program,” McKean continues, “Monmouth Conservation Foundation educates young students and their families about the importance of land conservation, open space preservation, and wildlife protection. It is our goal to create an ongoing legacy of open space for our own families and all the families of future generations so everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of Monmouth County.”
William Kastning, Executive Director of Monmouth Conservation Foundation, reiterates this mission. “Engaging young children at any early age instills an appreciation for nature, conservation, and protecting the land,” Kastning states.
The late Michael Huber and Judith Stanley – longtime residents of Monmouth County – founded Monmouth Conservation Foundation in 1977. The mission of Monmouth Conservation Foundation is to create a permanent legacy of open space, parks, farmland, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife throughout Monmouth County.
Monmouth Conservation Foundation is the only countywide land trust in Monmouth County. The organization achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
In the fall of 2015, Monmouth Conservation Foundation plans to offer the Kids for Conservation program once again. For more information, please contact Christine Horrigan at Monmouth Conservation Foundation (732-671-7000) or visit Monmouth Conservation Foundation on line: www.monmouthconservation.orgor www.facebook.com/MonmouthConservationFoundation.