NEEF Announces Awardees for Second Round of Restoration & Resilience Grants
May 12, 2020

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is proud to announce the awardees for the second round of Restoration & Resilience Grants for 2020. With major support from Toyota Motor North America, this grant totaling $75,000 assists nonprofits conducting restoration and community engagement projects on public lands throughout the U.S. that have been impacted by natural disasters.

“NEEF has a history of partnering with public lands and spaces to ensure their sustainability and integrity for the public and surrounding communities,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, president and CEO of NEEF. “We are excited to continue to support these awardees as they work to improve our public lands for all Americans to enjoy.”

NEEF established the Restoration & Resilience Grant in 2018 to support existing efforts for improving public lands and strategies for making those lands more resilient to future disasters. Through this grant, local land trusts and foundations have the capacity 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.

The following projects have been awarded a second round of grant funding to continue established improvement projects on America’s public lands:

Land Trust of North Alabama: Monte Sano Nature Preserve, Huntsville, Alabama

Established in 1987, the Land Trust of North Alabama works to preserve the region’s scenic, historic, and ecological resources through conservation, advocacy, recreation, and education. The Land Trust currently manages more than 7,000 acres in five counties, including over 70 miles of public trails maintained with the help of committed volunteers.


Volunteers from North Alabama

The purpose of the initial Trail Reconstruction Project was to return a vital Land Trust trail—damaged by drought and erosion—to a usable and sustainable condition, and then use this renovation as an example and educational tool for sustainable trail building and improvements to be used on Land Trust and other preservation properties. For the second round of Restoration & Resilience Grant funding, the Bluff Line Trail Reconstruction Project – High Trail Connection project will serve a similar purpose, but on a trail that connects the Land Trust’s Monte Sano Nature Preserve to the Monte Sano State Park via City of Huntsville Lands.

Mountain Studies Institute: San Juan National Forest, Durango, Colorado

The Mountain Studies Institute (MSI) was established in 2002 in Silverton, Colorado, as an independent, not-for-profit center of knowledge dedicated to collaboration between researchers, educators, policy makers, and the wider community surrounding the San Juan Mountains. In the wake of the area’s devastating 416 Fire in June 2018, MSI stepped in to develop the 416 Fire Recovery and Response Plan for the town of Durango, which was severely impacted by the wildfire and subsequent debris flows into the nearby Animas River.


Mountain Studies Institute volunteers at an event

With the second round of grant funding, MSI plans to implement this community response plan, as well as further develop outreach events and educational activities for adults and youth such as the San Juan Resilience Youth Summit and Hermosa Resilience community event. They will also build on successful stewardship events like National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day, and increase fire-adapted community resilience to help prevent future disasters.

Timucuan Parks Foundation: Timucuan Trail State and National Parks, Jacksonville, Florida

Timucuan Parks Foundation (TPF) supports the Timucuan Trail State and National Parks, a unique partnership between the National Park Service, Florida State Parks, and city preservation parks in Jacksonville—the nation’s largest urban park system. Established in 1999, TPF’s mission is to preserve, promote, and enhance Jacksonville’s natural areas through community engagement, education, and enjoyment.

In year two of their "Restoration and Resilience: Service Learning Lessons from the Timucuan Preserve" project, TPF will continue to collaborate with their national, state, city and community partners to address hurricane impacts and the value of healthy salt marshes and coastal ecosystems to mitigating those impacts. They will continue to provide hands-on learning opportunities and educational programming for all citizens, including engaging Jacksonville’s military veterans and their families. TPF will also build on the successful water quality and salt marsh monitoring projects with local middle and high school students that was established in the first year of grant funding.

For more information about previous Restoration & Resilience Grant awardees as well as other funding opportunities from NEEF and our partners, please visit the Grants section of our website.