CNLM awarded grant to bolster environmental education and volunteer program

From second graders learning about pollinators to the dozens of individuals who have spent decades on the prairies, the many people that help preserve the South Sound prairies continue to strengthen the restoration and conservation of this rare ecosystem. CNLM’s work and the contributions of its volunteers have not gone unnoticed by various other groups and government agencies. As a result, CNLM was awarded funds from the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) Volunteer Cooperative Grant Program.

Administered through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the ALEA grant supports organizations through providing funding for a variety of important projects, with a particular focus on (and with respect to the work of CNLM) volunteer implemented restoration and environmental education throughout the state of Washington. WDFW support will allow the South Sound Program to purchase important resources for volunteer restoration activities, volunteer native plant propagation, and volunteer seed collection, and also support the monthly conservation lecture series that educates our volunteers and the general public. As CNLM continues to enhance habitat for rare species and protect habitat from encroaching invasive species, ALEA underscores this commitment to community engagement and environmental education in the South Sound region.

The grant award comes at a crucial time of growth for the CNLM volunteer program.  Just over the past few months, CNLM has expanded its outreach to various schools within the Western Cascades. Students from North Thurston Public Schools (in partnership with Wolf Haven International, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Get Out Olympia) came out to learn about the impacts and importance of pollinators on the prairies. In addition, students from Olympia High School, Avanti High School, Evergreen Christian School, Julia B. Hansen Elementary, Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, and Komachin Middle School have spent many hours helping to restore the prairies by working on the Violet Prairie Seed Farm and Native Plant Demonstration Garden, and by pulling Scotch broom on Glacial Heritage Preserve.

CNLM’s volunteers are pivotal to restoration of the South Sound prairies. The WDFW grant recognizes and underscores the essential work of the South Sound program and its commitment to providing and improving environmental education programs for people of all ages through field-based restoration and conservation activities.

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