Education Programs Overview

The TLA SEOP Grant Applications are now  being accepted for the school year 2015-2016. Information on the application process can be found under ‘2015-2016 SEOP Grants – Overview

Information on the grants which were made for the 2014-2015 school year can be found under ‘2014-2015 SEOP Awards‘.

Science Education Outreach Program

The goal of TLA’s Environmental Science Education Outreach Program is to help cultivate a sense of stewardship of the lakes, streams, and land in young people who will be part of the next generation living within the watersheds of Torch, Bellaire, and Clam Lakes. Our strategy for accomplishing this goal is to work with science teachers and students in the school districts of Central Lake, Bellaire, Kalkaska, and Mancelona.

TLA’s Environmental Science Education Outreach Program is a fundamental part of TLA’s Mission is to provide leadership to preserve, protect, and improve the environmental quality of the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed for all generations with emphasis on Lake Bellaire, Clam Lake, Torch Lake and their tributaries.”  By offering supplemental assistance to help local science educators we hope to enrich their environmental science curricula. Science teachers are invited annually to submit a grant application for science materials or experiences that enhance science instruction, but are not within the school district’s budget constraints. This invitation extends to the four school districts within the watersheds of Torch Lake, Clam Lake, and Lake Bellaire. TLA awards as many grants each year as its budget will allow.

This Environmental Science Outreach Program was started in 2008, and has provided the following items to the four school districts:

  • 24 Classroom excursions aboard the Inland Seas Schoolship out of Northport
  • 29 Other field trips, including class field trips to Grass River Natural Area
  • 15 Framed maps of the Elk River Chain of Lakes for school libraries
  • 22 Teachers attended science conferences
  • 12 Memberships in state or national science education organizations
  • 610 Students benefited from subscriptions to science magazines
  • 372 Pieces of science equipment placed in classrooms
  • 79 Participating teachers received most or all of their Wish-List requests
  • Thousands of science students – classroom and field trip experiences that enhanced their science curriculum
  • Total funding from TLA (dues and donations) since 2008: over $50,000.
Bellaire 6th graders

Bellaire 6th graders testing the quality of water with a water testing kit courtesy of TLA.

Inland Seas Schoolship Program and Elk Rapids Chain of Lakes Maps

In the first year of this program, TLA pledged to annually fund four Inland Seas Education Association’s schoolship excursions; one for each of the four districts within the watersheds of Torch Lake, Lake Bellaire and Clam Lake, i.e. Bellaire, Central Lake, Kalkaska and Mancelona Schools.

This year and in future years, TLA and ISEA (Inland Seas Education Association) are partnering to provide the annual schoolship excursions. The total cost to send a science class to ISEA is $800. TLA will contribute $400 and ISEA will contribute $400. We will provide the ISEA Schoolship application in the superintendent’s TLA packet. If you are the teacher who will be taking your class aboard the schoolship, please contact your superintendent or principal for a copy of the application and an explanation of how to proceed.

TLA also provided a framed map of the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed for each building library and some classrooms in the four districts. The Inland Seas schoolship excursions and the Chain of Lakes maps were born of conversations with science teachers. Several teachers expressed a need and we were able to act on it. These requests were granted in addition to the Wish Lists submitted that year.

Carol Gray Norris Education Fund

As part of the Outreach Program, TLA notifies each science teacher in the districts of Bellaire, Central Lake, Kalkaska and Mancelona about The Carol Gray Norris Scientific Education Fund. This Fund was created by the Norris family in honor of Carol Gray Norris to offer loans to students, groups of students or science competition teams to purchase necessary materials. In recent years, funds requested from the CGN Fund have helped students with financial need in other ways. In 2010, funds from The Carol Gray Norris Scientific Education Fund were used to underwrite a field trip for five Kalkaska physics students with special financial needs, to join their physics class for a special Physics Days field trip. These students were able to participate in a multi-day physics experience in Chicago including the Fermi Labs, Museum of Science and Industry, and an amusement park where they measured velocities and gravitational forces. This spring, the entire second grade at Birch Street Elementary School in Kalkaska spent a day at the Au Sable Institute thanks to a helping hand from the Carol Gray Norris Fund.

Additional information on how to apply for an award from the Carol Gray Norris is contained in this packet, which you can download: Carol Gray Norris Fund packet