On 1 June, the Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) opened the application round for non-profit associations and foundations operating in the field of environmental education, to support the active education programmes that were cancelled as a result of the emergency situation. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2020.
Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk considers it important that environmental education centres are able to continue their activities in the same manner as before the emergency situation. ‘This is why the Government decided to allocate support funds to nature and environmental education centres. During the emergency situation, the people’s interest in being in nature increased significantly. Apparently, more people also want to join environmental study programs’, said the Minister of the Environment.
‘Already at the beginning of the emergency situation, we extended the participation of schools and nursery schools in study visits to environmental education centres until the end of this year, so that children would not miss out on new knowledge’, said Andrus Treier, Chief Executive Officer of EIC. ‘It is certainly important for us to provide additional help to centres offering fascinating learning opportunities in this difficult time, and by doing so help in the acquisition of new environmental knowledge’.
Non-profit associations and foundations offering environmental education active training programmes are eligible to apply for the aid. An applicant must be registered as a nature or environmental education centre and as a provider of study programmes in the portal //rutt%40interlex%2Eee [at] imap.gmail.com:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/www.keskkonnaharidus.ee">www.keskkonnaharidus.ee. The applicant’s programmes must have passed the quality assessment by the Society of Estonian Environmental Education, and in the event that it has not, then the programmes must be submitted for assessment before submitting an application. The people conducting the programmes at the centres must have passed at least one training course in the past five years which supports their activities in conducting the programmes.
The EUR 150,000 allocated with the decision of the Government helps the centres pay the costs incurred in the period from 12 March to 31 December 2020. These include utility costs for the centre, salaries, the purchasing of equipment necessary to conduct the programmes, etc. The EIC will review the applications on a running basis, in the order in which they are received, and will disburse the grant after making a positive decision. The maximum amount of the grant is EUR 8000 but the specific amount of each centre depends of the number of study programmes conducted.
The grant can be applied for in the //rutt%40interlex%2Eee [at] imap.gmail.com:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/etoetus.struktuurifondid.ee">E-support environment until 15 June 2020. More detailed information about the grant can be found on the EIC homepage or requested from project coordinator Angelika Vers (angelika.versh [at] kik.ee, 6 274 311).
The grant can also be received in the event that the non-profit association or foundation has applied or intended to apply for aid from another crisis mitigation measure or other aid. The relevant information must be provided in the application, and in the decision about allocating the grant, the EIC will evaluate the need for said grant. The Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with the EIC, developed the support measure for nature and environmental education centres after the Government’s decision to allocate funds.
There are over 100 environmental education centres in Estonia, with half of these being foundations and non-profit associations that provide study programmes for different ages, which are mostly held at the centres and in nature. The centres are of great help to nursery school and school teachers in conducting lessons, they support the development of scientific literacy, and contribute to increasing environmental awareness through active education.