In 2022, the Winona Outdoor Collaborative received a $5,000 Cycle 2 Community Grant from the Winona Community Foundation. This grant directly supported their environmental education program that seeks to increase inclusion and accessibility to the outdoors for students who typically lack equitable access to nature. The program aims to support students’ overall health and wellness through nature-based programming.

Staff in their organization, as well as a team of volunteers, helped facilitate 10 separate immersions throughout 2023 which served about 405 participants in total. While each immersion looks different, each provides an opportunity for participants to engage in environmental education topics while engaging in outdoor recreation.

During a recent outdoor education program, children between the ages of 6 – 17 explored topics like tree sugaring, geology, orienteering, wildflowers and native grasses, water quality testing, and migratory birds. The Outdoor Collaborative is also in the process of completing three other curriculums, including one on caterpillars and butterflies. The nature-based, environmental education programming provide a unique opportunity for participants to learn about and connect with the outdoors. After their most recent program was over, a majority of participants expressed that they learned something they didn’t know before.

The Winona Outdoor Collaborative continues to adjust their curriculum and looks forward to continuing serving the community through their environmental education series. The Collaborative’s mission seeks to promote inclusion and accessibility through community partnerships, environmental stewardship, and educational programming directed at reducing barriers to outdoor recreation.

An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. Funding for this program comes from generous people, like you, who invest in the community and the Foundation. Whether through direct donations, establishing endowments, or holding charitable funds at the Foundation, these diverse sources of funding are instrumental in supporting the community grant program. As a result, local nonprofits in the Winona area greatly benefit from this program, which has become an essential asset in meeting the needs of the community.

To learn more about the Winona Outdoor Collaborative, please visit