Legislation aimed at getting more kids outdoors in more ways — dubbed the No Child Left Inside bill — was included in the final natural resources package approved by Minnesota lawmakers in May with $1.2 million in grants now available.
The legislation earmarks $182,000 in fiscal 2020 (starting July 1) from the state’s general tax fund and $318,000 from the Game and Fish Fund stocked by license fees “for grants for natural-resource-based education and recreation programs.”
There’s also specific money earmarked to promote youth participation in for traditional outdoor endeavors — archery, trapshooting, hunting firearms safety and fishing — in schools across the state. The one-time $500,000 allotment will be in the form of state grants to school districts and American Indian schools to encourage more participation in school-based outdoor sports.
And there’s more: Lawmakers made another $200,000 specifically available for high school fishing teams which are growing rapidly across the state.
Under the No Child Left Inside grant program, lawmakers have ordered the DNR commissioner to “establish and administer a program to provide grants for outdoor environmental, ecological, and other natural-resource-based education and recreation programs serving youth.” The commissioner “may award grants under this section to public entities or private nonprofit organizations: with priorities to programs that “provide students with opportunities to directly experience and understand nature and the natural world; use a research-based, effective environmental, ecological, agricultural, or other natural-resource-based educational curriculum; maximize the number of participants that can be served; serve children with limited opportunities to participate in natural-resource-based outdoor activities; use public park and other natural resource venues and personnel as a resource; and commit matching funds or in-kind resources.”