The National Wildlife Federation

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Applications Open for ECHO Nature Play Grant and Family Child Care Cohort

Denver, Colo. – The National Wildlife Federation’s Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) is now accepting applications from licensed child care centers and preschools to receive seed grant funding for the implementation of nature play in their outdoor space. ECHO will select 15 Colorado programs to work hand-in-hand with a professional landscape designer with specialized expertise in early childhood settings to develop a master plan.

ECHO is also accepting applications for a cohort of family child care providers to participate in the Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments online certificate program offered through North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative. ECHO will select 10 cohort participants to receive a micro-grant and design assistance to add natural elements to their outdoor spaces and serve as mentors for other family child care programs.

Selected participants for both programs will have ongoing opportunities for professional development through ECHO training, education from early childhood professionals and a network of ECHO representatives leading nature play movements across the state.

To apply for seed grant funding, licensed child care centers or preschools serving children under the age of five in Colorado must meet the following criteria:

  • License is in good standing with the state
  • A Colorado Shines minimum rating of Level 2 or higher is preferred
  • Commitment to stay in your current location for the next five years
  • Participation in an online technical assistance webinar prior to applying is recommended, completion of the linked survey at the end of the webinar indicates your participation

Eligibility requirements for the family child care provider cohort include: 

  • Family child care provider must be in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, or Jefferson county
  • License must be in good standing with the state of Colorado
  • A Colorado Shines minimum rating of Level 2 or higher is preferred
  • Commitment to stay in your current location for the next five years

The deadline to apply for seed grant funding is Friday, April 3, 2020. The deadline to apply for the family child care provider cohort is Friday, April 10, 2020.

About Early Childhood Health Outdoors 

Founded in 2017, Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) is a National Wildlife Federation program that collaborates with diverse communities to bring nature play and learning to young children and their families. Led by a team of landscape designers and early childhood experts, ECHO creates innovative outdoor designs that bring nature to the forefront of traditional rubber and plastic playgrounds and provides professional development for early childhood professionals on nature play best practices. Since its inception, ECHO has brought nature within reach to more than 10,000 children and trained more than 2,300 early childhood professionals in expanding nature play to their communities.

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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