Manatee Community Foundation awards $10,000 grant to Conservation Foundation for youth programming

Research shows multiple benefits to children from spending time in nature, Conservation Foundation president points out

Image courtesy Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

The Manatee Community Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in support of the latter’s Next Gen Conservation Program, the Conservation Foundation has announced.

The grant was made possible through the Bishop-Parker Foundations Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, a release explains. It will enable the Conservation Foundation to expand upon its commitment to youth education “through discovery, nature-based activities, citizen-science, and memorable experiences in the great outdoors,” the release adds.

“Research indicates time spent in nature is important for children’s cognitive, emotional, social, and educational development,” said Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation, in the release. “Our Next Gen programming gets kids outside year-round, immersing them in nature and providing a host of benefits for their overall well-being,” she added in the release. “We are incredibly grateful to Manatee Community Foundation for their investment in our work and the youth we serve.”

Next Gen Conservation is the Conservation Foundation’s umbrella program comprising Youth in Nature and Nature Explorers, the release notes. Youth in Nature focuses on underserved middle and high school youth from Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties, the release adds. “In partnership with other youth-serving organizations, Youth in Nature is able to facilitate hundreds of WOW! moments in nature each year, creating life-long memories, building self-esteem,” and instilling in youngsters “a love for the natural world,” the release points out.

Nature Explorers is the Conservation Foundation’s free education program for children in grades K-5; it is open to the public, the release says. “This program uses ‘citizen science’ techniques” to show youngsters how they can make a difference in others’ lives as well as help the Earth, the release explains. “Next Gen programs are central to Conservation Foundation’s commitment to environmental youth education and community engagement,” the release notes.

“The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature,” the release points out. Working with landowners, businesses and local governments, the Conservation Foundation “saves land forever, protecting those special places that make this region extraordinary,” the release adds. Learn more at