Funded Projects2022 Funded Project: Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

June 2, 2023

Cultivating Transformative Relationships

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains aims to cultivate transformative relationships between people and the land through various conservation initiatives. To promote a healthy relationship with nature and get children outside and involved with their natural surroundings, Dyck Arboretum has launched an Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) Program focused on training K-12 teachers to restore prairie gardens on school grounds. In turn, teachers are able to study the model prairie with their students and then plan, plant, maintain, and research their prairie gardens as hands-on schoolyard learning laboratories.

Educating Our Future Leaders

In honor of Chris’ adventurous spirit, love of people, and passion for travel, the Chris Mikesell Foundation aims to support opportunities for young people to experience nature and recently awarded a $5,000 grant to Dyck Arboretum to further their Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) Program. The current EPS Program not only engages students to learn about their Kansas natural and cultural history but also helps them develop a sense of place. By learning about the native plants, wildlife, soils, and water in the natural systems around them, students will be better equipped to make positive environmental decisions while becoming more competent, well-rounded future leaders.

  • “I first met Kendall and Sherry through our Dyck Arboretum Prairie Remnant Inventory Program around the mid-2000s. I remember them being passionate about conserving the prairie around their house, including remnant prairie and disturbed areas they were looking to restore...

    During a prescribed burn in 2008, I remember hearing about the recent family tragedy and the glowing stories they told about how Chris passionately left an indelible mark on this world. Since then, the Chris Mikesell Foundation funds have helped us regularly engage with EPS K-12 teachers and students throughout the year.”

    —Brad Guhr, Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

Making an Ever-Growing Mark in Kansas

After garnering support from the Chris Mikesell Foundation, Dyck Arboretum has been able to further the reach of its Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) Program. During the week-long teacher training Summer Institute in June, participants can learn about the process of prairie gardening while earning three hours of graduate credit. They are also provided with an extensive curriculum correlated with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards that they can take back to their students. The funds provided by the Chris Mikesell Foundation have continued to help with spring and fall prairie-related field trips, and assist with school garden planting sessions, weed identification sessions, and garden consulting visits to schools.

To see a comprehensive history of organizations and causes the Foundation has supported, see all Funded Projects.

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