Assessing the Current State of Outdoor Learning Environments in Iowa and Building Capacity for the Future 

burdock_zoomPrairie Rivers of Iowa contributes to the enhancement of Iowa’s outdoor classrooms and outdoor learning environments programming through generous grant funding from Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund and the REAP Conservation Education Program. This project reviews the current state of outdoor classrooms and learning environments in Iowa, seeks out best practices for outdoor learning environments nationwide, and helps funders better support educators in creating their own outdoor learning environments. If you’re interested in reading the 2015 report, please click here.

What are the major parts of this initiative?grant-program-page

First, we are assembled an advisory group of experts in areas related to the creation of successful outdoor learning environments: educators, naturalists, facilities managers, and others. We surveyed past outdoor classroom creators to determine the state of projects in Iowa and to define some of the major successes and challenges they have faced. We conducted a wide-ranging review of best practices in outdoor learning environment creation nationwide (and beyond) and we developed guidance for funders and educators to help strengthen future projects in Iowa.

Who is supporting this initiative?

Major support for the Outdoor Learning Environments in Iowa report was provided by Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund, based at the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the REAP Conservation Education Program, past of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

ILRTF Logo Full color
Funded by Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund. Recognizing the value of native plants in our roadsides, the Iowa Legislature established the Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF) program in 1988. This annual program provides funding for Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management activities to cities, counties and applicants with statewide impact for the vegetation along Iowa’s roadsides to be preserved, planted and maintained to be safe, visually interesting, ecologically integrated and useful for many purposes.
Funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program(REAP CEP). Resource Enhancement and Protection Program: Invest in Iowa, our outdoors, our heritage, our people. REAP is supported by the state of Iowa, providing funding to public and private partners for natural and cultural resource projects, including water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, parks, trails, historic preservation and more.