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Educational organizations in Chelan and Douglas counties are getting a chunk of state money for outdoor learning experiences. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction have announced $3.7 million in Outdoor Learning Grants. The program was created by the Legislature last year to develop and support outdoor educational experiences for Washington’s public school students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

In a news release, the RCO says outdoor learning leads to reduced stress, improved mental and physical health, improved academic performance, increased graduation rates, increased relationships with peers, and more. These grants target students who have been historically underserved in outdoor learning.

More than 147-thousand dollars will go to Chelan, Douglas, and Grant Counties Cascade Fisheries to expand its year-round community science, stewardship, and education program, Watching Over the Watershed (WOW) to 456 students in grades two to twelve from seven schools in Cascade, Entiat, Orondo, Quincy, and Wenatchee School Districts. The students will restore habitat on the Lower Sleepy Hollow Preserve, the last remaining functioning floodplain on the lower Wenatchee River.

200-thousand dollars will go to the Wenatchee River Institute to bring the voices of Colville Tribal members to outdoor environmental education programs in seven rural school districts in eastern Washington. This two-year project has three parts. First, the Institute's Traveling Naturalist Program will provide outdoor education, infused with indigenous ecological knowledge, to more than 1,100 fourth and fifth graders in six rural school districts, including Brewster, Eastmont, Lake Chelan, Manson, Orondo, and Quincy.

In all, 27 grants were awarded to projects in 22 counties across the state.

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