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January 23, 2008
In Reply Refer To:
1115 (650) P
Information Bulletin No. 2008-032
To:                   All Field Officials
                        Attn: State Environmental Education Coordinators
From:               Division Chief, Education and Volunteers
Subject:           Call for Nominations for Hands on the Land Network                                                   Due Date: 04/25/2008
The Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships Division is soliciting nominations from BLM Field Offices for sites that are interested in joining the Hands on the Land (HOL) network.  HOL is an interagency network of field classrooms designed to connect students, teachers, and parents to their public lands.  Established in 1999, more than 60 sites, including 28 from BLM, are now involved in this program.  Last year, education programs at BLM HOL sites reached nearly 75,000 students.  HOL site participants have existing education programs in natural and cultural settings that have been developed in conjunction with local schools.  A key feature of the HOL program is its interactive website: www.handsontheland.org .
HOL is a program of Partners in Resource Education (PRE), a partnership of six Federal agencies and a non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing learning on public lands. The PRE agencies are Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and NOAA Marine Sanctuaries.  The National Environmental Education Foundation coordinates this interagency effort.  HOL coordination and administrative support are provided by The Keystone Center, a non-profit public policy and educational organization.
Hands on the Land sites are centers of excellence for BLM education programs at the Field Office level.  Criteria for entry into HOL are as follows:
  • Sites must offer education programs for students at a field classroom located on BLM lands.
  • Education programs must be developed in partnership with a local school or school district and designed to support established school curriculum and local standards of learning as well as BLM resource management objectives.
  • The programs may be delivered with the assistance of community partners and volunteers, but a BLM staff person must be permanently assigned as a point of contact.
  • Programs must be offered on an ongoing basis; they cannot be one-time or once-a-year events.
Up to three new sites will be selected to join the HOL network in FY2008.  Preference will be given to those sites that demonstrate broad-based community support.  Sites chosen will be eligible for up to $5,000 in startup funding that can be used to enhance education program offerings; however, these programs must be sustainable without such funding in future years.  The funds provided must be spent or obligated in FY 2008.
Membership in the HOL network offers numerous benefits to participating sites, schools, and communities.  For example, Federal program providers can:
  • exchange best practices with other HOL sites, through the interactive website, mentoring programs, meetings, and other avenues, thus avoiding duplication of efforts;
  • showcase programs and disseminate the resource conservation message to a broad audience; and
  • strengthen ties to communities and enhance volunteer efforts.
Teachers and students can benefit from participation in HOL by being able to:
  • access a broad array of teaching resources;
  • participate in hands-on experiences and service-learning opportunities on Federal lands;
  • interact with Federal resource professionals; and
  • develop exchange programs, including data sharing, with other sites and schools through the website.
Communities can also benefit from the HOL program through opportunities to:
  • share experiences with other communities that have similar resources and interests;
  • involve parents in learning with their children; and
  • develop more informed and active stakeholders in their public lands.
Once accepted into the HOL network, sites will be required to work with the HOL project director and webmaster to post information on the HOL website within three months. Such information includes a site profile and tour, education program descriptions, and educational materials, as available.  (See the HOL website for examples.)  Within six months, an accounting of startup funds spent should be sent by e-mail to elizabeth_wooster@blm.gov.  Once this initial work is accomplished, participation in network projects, such as web-based exchanges with other sites, conference calls, and annual meetings, can be self-paced.
In order to nominate a site, prospective site coordinators should fill out the application on the Hands on the Land website: http://www.handsontheland.org/manage/membership/join.cfm
The following information (some of which can be copied from the web application) should also be sent by FedEx to:
Betsy Wooster
BLM- Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships Division
1620 L Street NW – Room 406
Washington, DC 20036
* Program Description: Describe current education programs offered at the site and how those programs can be enhanced through participation in the HOL network
* Budget outline: Describe how startup funding would be used to enhance education program offerings (Note: Such funding cannot be used for permanent staffing, facilities, or transportation; instead it should be used for purchasing equipment and supplies; training; hiring student interns or contracting for purposes of curriculum development, program evaluation, etc.)
* Site name and BLM contact information: Name, address, phone, fax, e-mail
* School/school district partner(s): Name(s) and contact information
* Community partners: Name and contact information for other partners involved in the education program
* Letters of support from BLM site Field Manager, school(s) or school district, and significant community partners
For your information, a list of existing BLM Hands on the Land sites is attached.
Questions about the network can be directed to Betsy Wooster at 202-452-7731 or by e-mail: Elizabeth_Wooster@blm.gov
Deadline for nominations is April 25, 2008.
Signed by:                                                       
Authenticated by:
Mary E. Tisdale                                               
Robert M. Williams
Division Chief                                                  
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Education and Volunteers
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Last updated: 10-21-2009