Lodi Heritage School partnered with local agencies to help their 5th grade turn their field trip with MSI into a ‘Watershed Legacy Project,’ culminating in the creation of a mosaic ceramic bench and mural inspired by their trip.
Ms. Jacinto’s 5th grade class went on a Discovery Voyage with the Marine Science Institute on November 12, 2012. They planned a public art project that would reflect their experience and share the take away message of “the importance of keeping the streets of Lodi clean, since stormwater run-off goes to the Mokelumne River, then the San Joaquin River, and westward, potentially affecting downstream waterways.” The result was an aesthetically pleasing and educational mosaic bench and mural that students may share with the community with pride. We at MSI love to hear stories such as this, as beyond teaching marine science our mission is to inspire stewardship.
With the state of the economy and school budgets, many classes have less funds available for field trips and special projects. Though MSI provides all of its programs below-cost, many schools still need to fundraise to pay their portion of the program cost. Fundraising and grant-writing can be a daunting challenge, so in order to help our teachers raise funds more efficiently and effectively, MSI created a Teacher ‘Get-a-Grant’ online toolkit.
In order to fund the class field trip and follow-up activities, Watershed Education Coordinator Kathy Grant successfully reached out to various local agencies and corporations, leveraging the education and public art aspects of her project to find funding for both. They garnered support from Wal-Mart’s Art in Public Places Program and the Lower Mukelumne River Partnership (East Bay Municipal Utility District, US Fish and Wildlife, and CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife). Donna Billick and her team from UC Davis provided fundamental artistic vision and expertise at an affordable rate that enabled this project to be a success.
We asked Kathy to shared some tips and best practices to help others effectively fundraise for local classrooms. Some of her top tips include:
- “Hunt on-line, trying to stay local”
- “Build a network” with steering committees, agencies, and others that may be involved in grant programs with goals that align to your class’s education goals.
- “Education is key” and additional projects such as a public art project are an additional benefit, not the primary goal.
- Summer is an ideal time to grant-write because the process because “takes a LONG time from start to finish.”
Thanks to Kathy for her helpful tips, and thanks to Lodi Heritage School 5th Grade and Earth Keepers Club for such great work a fantastic project! Learn more about the project and those that made it possible here!
Do you have a story of a classroom follow-up project from an MSI program or success in fundraising? Let us know!
(Photos provided by Kathy Grant)