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Parks and Nature
Parks and Nature
2022 Nature in Neighborhoods nature education and outdoor experiences grants
CLOSED  Deadline  5/17/2022
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Description  [hide this]


2022 Nature Education and Outdoor Experiences Grant

For nearly two decades, Metro has provided grants for habitat restoration, nature education and other programs that connect people to nature close to home. Funding for Nature in Neighborhoods community grants continues thanks to the voters’ renewal of Metro’s five-year parks and natural areas levy in 2016. The levy includes approximately $3.7 million for grants to be awarded from 2018 to 2023.  These investments are strategically focused to support communities of color and other marginalized communities who have experienced barriers to accessing Metro grant funding in the past.

Funding for 2022 nature education and outdoor experiences grants is set at $700,000 in total. Grant awards have a maximum of $100,000 for up to three-year grants. This is the fifth and final round of Nature in Neighborhood community grants to be awarded from the renewal of Metro’s 5-year levy funding.

What’s the timeline?

April 2022Availability of grant funds announced
April and May 2022Nature education grant workshop and one- on-one meeting opportunities
May 17, 2022, 4 p.m. Nature education pre-applications due to Metro
June 2022  Successful pre-applications invited to submit full applications
July 2022Nature education full application meeting opportunities
August 9, 2022Final applications due to Metro
Early September 2022Grant awards announced
September 2022Orientation meeting for grant recipients
September or October 2022Metro Council grant awards
October 2022Grant funds available

Please see the 2022 Nature in Neighborhoods nature education handbook on the Nature in Neighborhoods website for guidance and details.

If you have questions about your application or grant, please contact Karissa Lowe, grants program manager (360)261-4683 or

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Minimum Qualifications  [hide this]

Who may apply? 

Community groups, nonprofits, neighborhoods, individuals, collectives, faith groups and service groups with nonprofit or other tax-exempt status may apply. Metro is not eligible to apply for or receive grant funds.

Nature education and outdoor experiences grants are intended to support community-driven initiatives and programs. Partnerships are key to a competitive proposal. Grants can serve people of all ages and abilities from all backgrounds.

Organizations are encouraged to submit applications for projects benefitting, designed by, and led by Black and Indigenous communities, communities of color and other marginalized groups. For example, a project designed by members from historically and continually marginalized communities would demonstrate that they are involved in decision-making, project planning, implementation, outreach activities and evaluation.

Past grants have funded programs that serve people at all stages of life from children to elders, including job training and life skills for youth, and outreach and engagement programs for residents from around the region.

All applications must clearly meet the grant program’s overall purpose. Priority will be given to applications that meet each of the grant program’s three goals.


Nature in Neighborhood grants support partnerships. Successful applications typically feature multiple partners actively engaged in leveraging their skills and financial or in-kind services in order to make the program a success. Partnerships should center racial equity and lead to creative approaches that address multiple social, economic and ecological needs and desires from the community. Therefore, this grant requires at least three partners (including applicant). Applicants may partner in multiple grant applications.


  • Programs must address at least one of the program goals (see below).
  • Programs require at least three partners. Applicants may partner in multiple grant applications.
  • After being awarded the grant, programs must be completed within 36 months.
  • Metro allows the use of fiscal sponsors for groups that don’t have 501(c)(3) status.


  • Programs require a 1:1 match a minimum of 1:1 match of the awarded grant funds. The match should come from other funds and/or in-kind contribution(s) of materials, services or volunteer assistance.
  • First year funding match must be secured at time of final application; funding match for additional years must be committed at the time of the final application. Funding from other grants managed through Metro cannot be applied towards match. Overhead costs are reimbursable up to 10 percent of the total grant award and as match up to 10 percent of the total program cost.
    • Detailed financial information will be requested as part of the full application.
    • If you would like additional information about overhead costs before the full application stage, please contact Karissa Lowe, Community Grants Program Manager,, 360-261-4683.


  • Programs must take place within Metro’s jurisdictional boundary, the Metro urban growth boundary, or directly serve Metro-area residents.
  • Programs may be conducted on Metro property by other eligible organizations or individuals by obtaining a Metro special use permit.
  • Programs on private land must be able to show a clear public and environmental benefit.
  • All programs must have written landowner permission at the time of full application.

Purpose and Goals  [hide this]

All applications must meet the grant program’s overall purpose and one or more of the three grant program’s goals.


Nature education grants support and create partnerships in local communities that improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and connect people with nature.


Nature education grants prioritize programs that advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion, make communities more resilient to climate change and include greater collaborative partnership. Following the Metro Parks and Nature department Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, Nature education grants fund programs that meet the following equity goals:

Cultural equity

People of all cultures, races and traditions connect with nature and with one another in the region’s parks and natural areas.


  • Build relationships and partnerships for outdoor education and nature based programming by and for people of color.
  • Increase the number and improve the experience of visitors, staff and programs at parks and natural areas representing diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups and other historically and continually marginalized groups. Provide opportunities to communities of color to learn about, guide, and have decision-making power in how agencies and communities manage and care for the land and create opportunities to learn about and care for trails, harvest seeds or plant native plants. Improve accessibility to and within natural areas for elders, people with disabilities and communities of color.
  • Increase capacity within organizations that center people of color to lead programs (such as nature education and cultural programming) in parks and natural areas.
  • Support cultural programming in parks and natural areas, such as cultural gatherings, storytelling, songs, performances or educational opportunities.
  • Increase sense of safety for people of color through outdoor education and nature-based programming that is trauma-informed.
  • Center programming for those who are most often excluded from or made to feel unwelcome in parks and natural areas, including people who are unsheltered, people with disabilities, queer and trans people and Black and Indigenous people and people of color.
  • Support region-wide nature education diversity initiatives.

Environmental equity  

Communities of color in greater Portland enjoy the benefits of conserving land, air and water and equitable access to safe and welcoming parks, trails and natural areas; communities enjoy learning about, helping restore, experiencing and connecting with nature and the region’s natural areas.

These grants help address inequities in the conservation movement by providing access to nature and the positive impacts of clean land, air and water to Black communities, Indigenous communities, communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized groups in greater Portland.

You can read how Metro operationalizes racial equity, diversity and inclusion at:

Please consider these resources as information only. They are not intended as guidance for your application.

Economic equity 

Communities of color prosper economically from the business of Parks and Nature in greater Portland.


  • Provide social and economic benefits to Indigenous communities, Black communities, communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized communities beyond the specific project scope or original design.
  • Support mentorship, youth corps and job skill development in natural resources, nature education or other nature-related science, technology, engineering or math careers.
  • Support worksite tours, career-related learning, youth or adult apprenticeships and paid work and on-the job-training. Shift power to create possibility for equity in career pathways, hiring, retention, and educational opportunities.
  • Include work with Black communities, Indigenous communities, and/or communities of color on anti-displacement and housing security.
  • Include workforce development goals for partner organizations or programs, including internships or career pathways programs, advancement of leadership or other board service or community organizing in nature related fields.
  • Provide economic opportunities for communities of color and other marginalized communities in the construction of natural area improvements, restoration or community stewardship projects by working with COBID-certified firms and hiring and training a local workforce.
  • Support equal opportunity for everyone to access and participate in economic opportunities in parks and natural areas.

For examples of past project that address these goals, please see the 2022 Nature in Neighborhoods nature education handbook on the Nature in Neighborhoods website.

Library  [hide this]
Description File Name Date Uploaded File Type
2022 Nature in Neighborhoods community grants nature education and outdoor experiences full application handbook 2022NatureEducationGrantsFullAppHandbook_Final.pdf 7/5/2022 6:23:27 PM PDF

$ 0.00 requested
Application Status: Not Submitted

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Instructions Show/Hide

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Amount Requested
Up to $100,000
Estimated Match
At least one-to-one match

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