Flower near river and bridge from NEEF grantee project
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NEEF Awards Grant Funding to Public Lands Impacted by COVID-19

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is pleased to announce the awardees for the 2020-21 Restoration and Resilience COVID Recovery Fund grant. Thanks to major support from Toyota Motor North America, International Paper, and the Hilton Effect Foundation, NEEF is providing over $50,000 in grant funding to support 24 public lands sites impacted by increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has made a significant impact on our lives, and public lands are no exception,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, president and CEO of NEEF. “Federal and local agencies and organizations have struggled to maintain public lands due to reduced staff and volunteer resources, as well as a dramatic increase in visitation during this time of social distancing. With the Restoration & Resilience COVID Recovery Fund, we can help restore these special places by distributing resources and mobilizing volunteers as needed.”  

Volunteer Rich Freeman repairs hand railings at Lynn Camp Creek Bridge in Southwest Virginia (photo: Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers (PATH)

First established in 2018, NEEF’s Restoration & Resilience Grant has provided monetary support for improving public lands and developing strategies to make those lands more resilient to future disasters. To date, NEEF and its partners have given over $260,000 in Restoration & Resilience Grant funding to land trusts and foundations across America, providing them with necessary resources to mobilize community volunteers and educate participants about the importance of their actions and their relationship to the long-term sustainability of local public lands. 

With the 2020-21 Restoration and Resilience COVID Recovery Fund, NEEF is able to further refine its support for public lands directly affected by COVID-19. Standard eligibility restrictions were relaxed to reach as wide an audience as possible, including both public and private land to which the public or patrons have a reasonable expectation of relatively unrestricted access. Applicants were required to describe the impact of COVID-19 on the public land site and how their project would address this impact. 

Out of over 100 submissions, the top 24 projects were selected as awardees. The following groups will receive up to $2,500 to fund improvement projects on America’s public lands:

Conservation Projects 

  •     Institute for Environmental Solutions, Denver, Colorado 
  •     Mississippi River Water Trail Association, St. Charles, Missouri 
  •     California State Parks Foundation, San Francisco, California 
  •     Governors Island Alliance, Inc, New York, New York 
  •     EUREKA! McConnell Science Museum, Grand Junction, Colorado 
  •     Rock Creek Conservancy, Bethesda, Maryland 
  •     Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, Cleveland, Ohio 
  •     Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands (SHADOW), Renton, Washington 
  •     San Diego Mountain Biking Association, San Diego, California 
  •     Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Basalt, Colorado 
  •     North Shore Community Land Trust, Haleiwa, Hawaii 
  •     SOLVE, Portland, Oregon 
  •     USACE Berlin Lake, Berlin Center, Ohio 
  •     Douglas-Hart Foundation, Mattoon, Illinois 
  •     Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Portland, Maine 
  •     Dunwoody Nature Center, Dunwoody, Georgia 

Accessibility Projects 

  •     Michigan Legacy Art Park, Thompsonville, Michigan 
  •     Door County Facilities and Parks, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 
  •     San Diego Mountain Biking Association, San Diego, California 
  •     Sequoyah State Park, Hulbert, Oklahoma 
  •     USACE Berlin Lake, Berlin Center, Ohio 
  •     Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Portland, Maine 

Maintenance Projects 

  •     Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, Greensboro, North Carolina 
  •     Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), Asheville, North Carolina 
  •     The Sawtooth Society, Inc., Hailey, Idaho 
  •     Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas 
  •     San Diego Mountain Biking Association, San Diego, California 
  •     Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Basalt, Colorado 
  •     North Shore Community Land Trust, Haleiwa, Hawaii 
  •     USACE Berlin Lake, Berlin Center, Ohio 
  •     Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Portland, Maine 

Cultural and Historical Preservation Projects 

  •     San Diego Mountain Biking Association, San Diego, California 
  •     City of Loveland Parks and Recreation Foundation, Loveland, Colorado 

For more information about other funding opportunities from NEEF and our partners, please visit the Grants section of our website. 

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