Grantee Highlight: Machetanz Elementary Outdoor Learning Cart

You might know us for funding trail and park projects, but our investment goes to more than infrastructure and equipment. We want everyone in our community to have access to the outdoors, and that's why we fund accessible and ADA trails like the one at Government Peak Recreation Area. We know that trails, parks, and sidewalks aren't only for optional recreation but also provide transportation to schools and businesses and improve our community's health. We foster trail stewardship and teach residents how to take care of public land by funding volunteer-driven trail days and projects like the Machetanz Elementary Outdoor Learning Cart. We don't just fund trails; we're building the pathway to a healthier community.
Alaskans for Palmer Hayflats, in partnership with teachers from Machetanz Elementary, created an Outdoor Learning Cart program that enables teachers to easily transport materials from the school to nearby trails to facilitate outdoor learning experiences throughout the year. The Learning Cart contains weatherproof plastic totes full of foam tiles for outdoor seating, outdoor clipboards, tarps, books, nature journals, and a science kit with binoculars, hand lenses, compasses, and other educational tools. In addition, Alaskans for Palmer Hayflats maintains a collection of trail maintenance tools and resources that can be integrated into the cart for conducting workshops on trail maintenance and stewardship.
Outdoor Education in Schools: The Outdoor Learning Cart gives teachers and students the tools to learn outside all year round!
"The cart has raised the bar for outdoor learning at Machetanz! There are now 4 classes (representing 100 students!) getting out on a regular basis, and more will join as the days get warmer. The materials in the cart really expand and inspire the possibilities for lessons outside, and the cart itself makes it so much easier to keep everything organized. We have used it for trash cleanup, nature journaling, outdoor storytime, and much more to come. Chin'an MatSu Trails and Parks Foundation for supporting this project!" ~ Mr. Nick, K/1 Teacher at Machetanz Elementary.
The next generation of trail and land stewards: Increasing children's access to trails and outdoor spaces during school creates connections and a sense of stewardship that they bring home to their community!
Since 2011, generous community support has allowed the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation to award over $1 million in grant funding to local organizations. It’s an investment that supports access for everyone into wild and beautiful places in Alaska. Parks for families, trails for seniors, access for hunting, fishing, and horseback riding, trails for backcountry adventurers, as well as strong stewardship that translates into maintenance for our new and existing world-class trails. Research has shown that this access has a direct, positive impact on children and families’ health and well-being. That’s why we’re focused on building neighborhood trails that connect schools and parks, and pocket and regional parks that support play and access to nature for all ages and abilities. Please join us in keeping the MatSu Wild, Accessible, and World-Class, and consider donating today!
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While applying for their PFD online, Alaskans can choose to Pick.Click.Give. in increments of $25. All donations are tax deductible and donors will receive tax documentation from the State once their donations have been processed. Permanent Fund Dividend applications are available from January 1 to March 31, though Alaskans may choose to add or adjust their pledges online through August 31.

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The Mat-Su Trails & Parks Foundation partners with organizations and local governments on projects and efforts that expand and enhance the valley’s network of trails and parks. Find out how we can help fund your next trail, park, or recreation project!

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