Outdoor Education for All Program

Office Hours

We will host Virtual Office Hours, with your questions and ideas until all funds are distributed, every Monday from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Contact Information

Sheila Wilson
Program Manager, Outdoor Education

From reducing stress to improving mental and physical health, outdoor-based learning helps kids thrive. Research shows that kids who participate in outdoor educational activities are more likely to graduate, are better behaved in school, and have more relationships with peers, higher academic achievement, more critical thinking skills, and more direct experience of scientific concepts in the field. They also have better leadership and collaboration skills and a deeper engagement with learning, place, and community.

The Washington State Legislature created the Outdoor Learning Grants Program to develop and support outdoor educational experiences for students in all geographic regions and include high levels of accessibility for students with disabilities.

Review these Considerations for Outdoor Learning to learn about the alignment to state standards and see examples of school district programs from PreK-12 grade.

SSHB 2078 provides funding for allocation grants to schools and districts to support outdoor education experiences for all students. The grant programs are administered by OSPI.

Grant Opportunities


Grants for Schools, School Districts, and ESDs administered by OSPI

This portion of SSHB 2078 supports allocation-based grants for schools, tribal schools, school districts, and Educational Service Districts to develop or support outdoor educational experiences. Outdoor education programs should be aligned with the Washington State content learning standards and the development of social and emotional learning skills. Programs are encouraged to review the Since Time Immemorial Curriculum developed by the Office of Native Education at OSPI and infuse traditional ecological knowledge into the field experiences for students.

Schools and school districts participating in overnight outdoor school for 5th or 6th graders with related experiences for high school counselors should apply for funding through Outdoor Schools Washington.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds are expended. 

All funds are awarded for the 2023-24 school year. Please consider applying for 2024-25 school year, no sooner than July 1, 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

Funding will be prioritized for communities historically underserved by science education. These communities may include:

Grant activities can include:

  • Hands-on, environmental education, nature-based learning experiences
  • Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education activities
  • Learning about habitat restoration and environmental stewardship activities
  • Integration of professional environmental and land management mentors in learning
  • Immersed learning in field studies, journaling, and group discussions
  • Pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade, experiential, outdoor education program activities learning in, for, or about the outdoors
  • Support for new outdoor education learning programs, capacity building within current outdoor education learning programs, and/or building outdoor shelters for student learning

Application Questions

  1. Provide a description of your project, including your project’s goals and objectives and how it supports the purpose of the grant/ (Limit 500 words)
  2. How does the project meet the grant program eligibility criteria
  3. Why is this grant program important to your school and community? What do you hope to achieve?
  4. How many students will participate in the grant activities? How many educators?
  5. Who are the key leads on the project? Describe their backgrounds and their project roles.
  6. How will you include family and communities in the Outdoor Education for All program? What community-based organizations will be involved, if any?
  7. How will you include student voice and equitable participation in this grant program as envisioned by HB 2078?
  8. What is your timeline, including milestones? What are your communication plans for sharing with community partners, colleagues, families, and students?
  9. How will you know you are successful? List specific measurable outcomes (i.e., number of students, number of hours, academic progress, etc.), as well as qualitative outcomes (i.e. improvements in school climate, teamwork, etc.)

Please login to the iGrants website for more information.

Learn more about Outdoor Learning Grants in this short video,

Grants for Program Providers administered by the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO)

OSPI shall award grants to eligible school districts, federally recognized tribes, and outdoor education program providers. OSPI may consult with the Washington RCO in awarding grants under this section.

This portion of SHB 2078 supports competitive grants for federally recognized tribes and outdoor education providers to support existing capacity and to increase future capacity for outdoor learning experiences.

Please visit the RCO website for more information.

Overnight Outdoor School Experiences, 5th and 6th grades, administered by Outdoor Schools Washington

The purpose of the outdoor education experiences program is to develop and support outdoor learning opportunities for fifth and sixth-grade students in Washington public schools, with related opportunities for high school students to volunteer as counselors. The program will consist of hands-on learning experiences that are:

  • 3-5 days in duration and up to four nights;
  • Overnight or consecutive day programs (when overnight programs are impractical due to health or cultural considerations and have a focus on environmental education aligned) with the Washington state learning standards and the development of social and emotional learning skills.

OSPI may work with a statewide nonprofit organization representing school principals to create guidelines for the program established by this section.

The priority focus of OSPI must be given to schools that have been identified for improvement through the Washington school improvement framework and communities historically underserved by science education. These communities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Federally recognized tribes, including state-tribal education compact schools,
  • Migrant students,
  • Schools with high free and reduced-price lunch populations,
  • Rural and remote schools,
  • Students in alternative learning environments,
  • Students of color,
  • English language learner students, and
  • Students receiving special education services.

For more information, please visit the Washington School Principals Education Foundation Website.

Outdoor Schools Washington Grants provide additional funding for overnight learning experiences through Outdoor Schools Washington.