Saturday, August 29, 2009


The Indianapolis Parks Foundation in partnership with the City of Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation proudly announces that the American Honda Foundation in California has awarded a $60,000 grant to support “Out of School, Into the Parks,” a program that will integrate a new environmental education curriculum into Indy Parks’ after-school program at eight elementary school sites in Indianapolis.

“We are pleased to contribute to the meaningful endeavor that the Indianapolis Parks Foundation is making in the field of education,” said American Honda Foundation President Gary Kessler.

Expected outcomes of the multi-disciplinary, grade-appropriate environmental education curriculum are to increase students’ knowledge of and appreciation for the natural environment; improve students’ problem-solving, math and language arts skills through hands-on, inquiry-based environmental studies; and better students’ overall academic performance and school-related behavior such as attendance, classroom participation and ability to complete homework. Students will learn how to become stewards of Indianapolis’ environment and value the resources within the city’s parks system. The curriculum aspires to foster life-long learning and curiosity about the sciences through hands-on and inquiry-based activities and incorporate the students’ families into the experiences.

“The Indianapolis Parks Foundation greatly appreciates the awarding of this grant as we increasingly seek dollars from outside sources to fund our programming,” said Indianapolis Parks Foundation Executive Director Cindy Porteous. “We are proud and pleased to receive this funding, which positions the Parks Foundation as a national leader for foundation grants and will serve as a catalyst for additional dollars.”

Youth in Grades 1-6 at eight elementary schools in the Indianapolis Public Schools system participate in Indy Parks’ after-school program, whose primary goal is to extend the educational day through cooperative experimental learning models in science, math, literacy, arts, recreation, fitness and citizenship. About 50 youth participate at each school in the program, which aims to empower students to meet Indiana achievement standards in core academic subjects. The eight sites are IPS 27, IPS 51, IPS 49, IPS 63, IPS 69, IPS 31, IPS 46 and IPS 82.

“This grant will provide unique opportunities for children to experience a natural environment beyond their backyard or neighborhood,” said Indy Parks Director Stuart Lowry. “Through this program students will build a foundation of knowledge and passion about Indiana’s natural environment and its ecosystems and thus aspire to be our next generation’s environmental steward.”

For more information, please contact Indianapolis Parks Foundation Executive Director Cindy Porteous at (317) 860-3251 or Indy Parks School and Family Program Administrator Leslie Power at (317) 327-7015.

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