Nonprofit, foundation and kids raise money for local park
National Park Trust successfully secured a grant from the 3M Foundation to provide resources for the design and construction of an outdoor classroom at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, an award-winning city park on the edge of downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. These generous resources are also being matched by another substantial gift secured by the local friends group, the Lower Phalen Creek Project (LPCP) from the McNeely Foundation. In addition, 3rd-grade Buddy Bison students from the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland -- located 1,000 miles from the sanctuary -- learned about this project from NPT and decided to designate their Pennies for Parks fund to support this project. They used their artistic talents to craft and sell 65 bracelets!
As a result of these collaborative efforts, this project will be completed in fall 2013. The grant from the 3M Foundation will also be used to bring local students from under-served schools to the sanctuary. "All of us at the Lower Phalen Creek Project are most appreciative of these critical resources, which will enable us to better serve school groups, community groups and our partners, including the National Park Service. Our partners mean the world to us and 3M and the National Park Trust are valued friends," stated Dan McGuiness, Director, LPCP.
"We are delighted to be a part of this important project that will enhance the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and will provide hands-on learning opportunities for local students. It is wonderful to see the collaboration of non-profits, foundations and students to achieve this goal," stated Jonathan Cohen, chair of NPT's Land and Park Preservation Committee.
Located in the National Park Service’s Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the sanctuary's towering bluffs, spring-fed wetlands and restored prairies and forests, is a place to find a snake, watch a bald eagle soar and see a great blue heron take flight, all with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. Located at a sharp curve in the Mississippi River that has attracted people for thousands of years, the sanctuary's 27 miles also is rich with cultural significance – home to a cave that is sacred to the Dakota and remnants of Saint Paul’s railroad history and earliest brewery.
Hundreds of school children visit the sanctuary each year to learn about geology, engineering, biology, American Indian science and culture and early industrial history. in 2008, thanks to the Apache Foundation, NPT provided 300 native trees for the sanctuary that were planted by local school children. NPT also provided resources to the LPCP in 2012 to launch the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary education program to create seven lessons that meet key Minnesota science and social studies benchmarks for seventh and eighth graders.