The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is calling for applications for the new “No Child Left Inside” grant program to help get more kids outdoors more often.

Public entities and nonprofit organizations serving youth under age 18 are eligible to apply for this first phase of the grant program, which features a simple application and a quick review.

In the first phase, $182,000 is available for programs all around Minnesota. The minimum request is $500 and the maximum is $5,000. Future phases of the grant program will have larger grant awards with more extensive application and review processes.

As previously reported in the News Tribune, the No Child Left Inside program was created by the 2019 Minnesota Legislature and in the wake of studies that show a serious nature deficit for many U.S. kids and many lifelong benefits to early life nature exposure.

“We’re excited to be putting some funding toward getting kids outdoors. The time is now,” said Jeff Ledermann, the DNR's education and skills team supervisor.

Applications will be accepted starting Oct. 23 and go until the money runs out. Funding can be used for outdoor recreation equipment, transportation and related natural resource education expenses. Factors the DNR will consider for the grants include serving children with little or no access to the outdoors and programs that provide students with direct experiences and understanding of nature.

For more information on the grant program and a link to the application, visit the DNR’s recruit, retain and reactivate page.