Education Programs Overview

The TLA SEOP Grant Applications are now being accepted for the 2017-2018 school year. Information on the application process can be found under: 2017-2018 SEOP Grants – Overview

Science Education Outreach Program
The goal of TLA’s Environmental Science Education Outreach Program, which is in its ninth year, 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 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:

  • 28 Classroom excursions aboard the Inland Seas Schoolship out of Northport
  • 40 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
  • 712 Students benefited from subscriptions to science magazines
  • 454 Pieces of science equipment placed in classrooms
  • 92 Participating teachers received most or all of their Wish-List requests
  • Serving thousands of science students – classroom and field trip experiences that enhanced their science curriculum
  • Total funding from TLA (dues and donations) since 2008: over $65,000.
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.

TLA and ISEA (Inland Seas Education Association) are now partnering to provide the annual schoolship excursions. The total cost to send a science class to ISEA is $800. TLA contributes $400 and ISEA contributes $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 first 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. Last 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. Last year, the CGN Fund underwrote $913 to send Bellaire High School’s 12th grade Biology II class on a field trip to the Fox River, Whitefish Point and other UP destinations and to provide 6th – 12th grade science classes in Central Lake with current science reading materials while the district bridges the gap between old and new texts.

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