Through the generous support of the Harry D. Stephens Memorial Fund, the Friends of Darke County Parks have created a repository of field trip funding for the schools and teachers who need it. Many times teachers would like to schedule field trips to the park but are unable to find the funding for transportation costs. This program hopes to alleviate that problem, so more students can benefit from the wide variety of natural and cultural history programs offered by the naturalists at Darke County Parks.
Interested teachers need only set up a potential field trip date with the naturalist staff, complete an application, and submit it to the Friends of the Darke County Parks prior to their regularly scheduled meeting (first Tuesday of the month) at least a month before the potential field trip date. The application includes a proposed budget for the field trip including transportation cost, material fees, any other costs associated with the trip, and a description of the school’s financial need. The Friends will review the applications at their monthly meetings, and the teachers awarded funding will then be notified. In order to be eligible for future funding, after the funds have been distributed and the field trip taken, the Friends ask teachers to complete a follow up evaluation about their field trip and the use of funding. The evaluation form asks about the actual budget, how the funding directly benefited the students, and how the field trip content will be incorporated into the regular classroom lesson plans, among other things.
Applications can be found and submitted at the Nature Center at 4267 St. Rt. 502 just west of Greenville or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The park district serves not only Darke County schools but also schools from the surrounding area. The entire staff strives to provide the best possible experience to the constituents who have placed their trust in the education of our stewards of tomorrow, and the Friends of Darke County Parks endeavors to support that objective in any way possible. Questions about the funding application or the Friends’ mission can be directed to the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.