During Earth Week 2012 more than one billion people around the globe will be acknowledging community environmental initiatives.
The Northern Chautau-qua Community Foundation (NCCF) will celebrate the accomplishments it has made through its Environ-mental Grants Program. This program is made possible through the Northern Chautauqua Environmental Fund, a permanent endowment fund. The fund was created from local contributions and matched by the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Joyce Fund and Charles S. Mott Fund through the Great Lakes Environmental Collabora-tive Project.
The first grants awarded in 1999 totaled $1,951 and most notably assisted in the expansion of the Jamestown Audubon Center's programming to Dunkirk, Ripley and Brocton schools. In addition, grants enabled students to attend the Great Lakes Student Summit and replaced a boat used for lake research through the SUNY College Environmental Research Program.
Since the Environmental Fund's inception in 1999, small grants have been provided for a broad range of educational activities, including events and hands on educational experiences focusing on Lake Erie and its watershed. These initiatives have totaled more than $18,000.
Grants have included: the purchase of testing and field supplies to help area high school students monitor several local streams and littoral drift in the Dunkirk harbor; binocular purchase for middle school students to monitor bluebird houses and band monarch butterflies; purchase of GPS equipment and dissolved Oxygen Meter for stream monitoring and assessment; high school student beach grass plug project used to stabilize the sand and stop wind erosion at Point Gratiot.
The Environmental Fund has also provided: assistance to the Lake Erie Salmon and Trout Association's pen-rearing project in the Dunkirk harbor; repairs to nature trails and the establishment of a native plant demonstration garden at Camp Gross; repairs an existing dam to restore pond surface area; and, handicapped access to the pond at the SUNY Fredonia College Lodge.
The fund has also supported student attendance and transportation to Science Exploration Days, Great Lakes Student Summits, Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District Envirothons, JAKES Youth Conservation Field Days, the Lew Mead Memorial Youth Fishing Tournament, SAREP Youth Fly Fishing Program and other related environmental studies projects.
Over the years, the NCCF has experienced an increase in grant requests to the Environmental Fund. For that reason, the NCCF is encouraging community support of the Environmental Fund's permanent endowment. The goal of the NCCF is to be able to increase it's commitment to local environmental initiatives resulting in an even greater impact in the future.
For more information on how you can support the Environmental Fund and learn about environmental grant opportunities, please visit the NCCF website at www.nccfoundation.org or phone 366-4892.