Local environmental projects get grant money

Quad Cities Community Foundation student scholarships

The Mark W. Schwiebert Fund for Environmental Studies at the Quad Cities Community Foundation has awarded $10,600 to seven local nonprofits for environmental education and research projects.

These nonprofits received 2022 Schwiebert grants:

  • Environmental Education Association of Illinois, for comprehensive climate change education for K-12 classrooms – $1,500.
  • Illowa Council Boy Scouts of America, for bee support program – $1,500.
  • Niabi Zoo and Forest Preserve, for information panels for gibbon enclosure – $1,500
  • Quad City Botanical Center, for educational material ages 2–12 – $1,500.
  • River Action, for the 2022 Upper Mississippi River Conference: Changing Climate, Evolving River – $1,500.
  • St. Ambrose University, for the Sustainability Round Table Series for educators – $1,500.
  • Western Illinois University Foundation, for water and microclimate data research – $1,600.

“Quad Citizens don’t just love the natural beauty of our region—they understand the importance of worldwide efforts to combat climate change,” said Kelly Thompson, the Community Foundation’s vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “We’re proud to support the Schwiebert Fund’s contribution to those efforts. Philanthropy has a vital role to play in sustaining our environment.”

Among this year’s grants is $1,500 for the Boy Scouts of America Illowa Council to help it construct an outdoor classroom and a support shed for its bees program. “There’s an old saying that three-quarters of ‘scouting’ is ‘outing,’” said Jeff Doty, scout executive/CEO of the Illowa Council. “Ecology and conservation are major parts of our programs.”

The bees program project builds on the council’s efforts to restore Lake Lennen at Camp Loud Thunder in Illinois City in Rock Island County, the organization said. Now that the lake is safe for wildlife and the Scouts alike, the council intends to build an outdoor classroom with bench seating for 30 and a new bees shed, where it will store hives and educational equipment, on the lake shore. The Schwiebert grant will anchor the construction of the outdoor classroom, while the Council will raise additional funding to complete the bees shed.

“This is going to be a good, fun learning experience for the Scouts,” said Mr. Doty. Not only will they learn about bees’ critical – and often imperiled – role in the ecosystems humans depend on, but they will also eventually be able to sell honey from the bees to fund future enhancements to the program, an education in the power of sustainability.

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