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  • Read the most recent edition of CAM e-News Learn More
  • We did it! Museums have a new grant program Learn More
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The Green Museums Initiative's new IGNITE! Mini-Grant program provides $2,000 in seed money to a progressive museum project. Applicants were encouraged to step back from day-to-day duties and think deeply about local and institutional environmental issues that can be addressed with a little creativity and commitment.
The winner of the 2013 IGNITE! Mini-grant is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Native Habitat Buffers as Models of Agricultural Sustainability project. On four experimental farms in Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will plant buffers and collect data to learn more about which regional native species work best to attract native pollinators. The long-term goal of this project is to promote the economic and environmental advantages of native habitat buffers to both growers and citizens. To learn more about this project and the other finalists, see www.calmuseums.org/IGNITE!vote.
From dirty composting worms to airy hand dryers, several of the ideas submitted tackled waste reduction. Another plan included replacing mounds of paper used in public programs and visitor services with tablets, while another looked at turning industrial by-products and unwanted items into creative fodder for children's art. A healthy environment includes healthy eating and community gardens provide the perfect way to raise awareness about these issues. This idea came from a history museum that is making the connection to its WWII era Victory Garden. Another historical tie to the environment came from a railroad museum that wants to help visitors understand the true costs of transportation and energy production and how to make wise choices.
The Green Museums Initiative would like to dedicate this year's mini-grant program to the memories of Rory Ruppert and Bob Garrison, both of whom were dedicated to issues of sustainability and believed museums could  play a part in solving environmental challenges. 
The four finalists were selected by the IGNITE! Review Committee:
  • Eder Cetina, Executive Creative Director / Museum Consultant, Olson Visual
  • Kate Davies, Curator/Writer
  • Michaeleen Gallagher, Director of Education and Environmental Programs, Sunnylands Center and Gardens
  • Bob Garrison, Director, Roseville Utility Exploration Center
  • Betsy Ringrose, Associate Director of Development at Carondelet High School, MA in Museum Studies Student at John F. Kennedy University


About the IGNITE! Mini-grant Process

The funded project will:
  • embody principles of sustainability and resiliency
  • be environmentally sound and economically beneficial
  • address an environmental challenge and seek to provide a local solution
  • demonstrate systems thinking and approaches to problem solving that result in or proceed towards institutional change
  • be related to the greening of museum operations or programming, engaging the community, or adopting new approaches to institutional thinking and planning
  • challenge assumptions about what it means to be “green”
  • take no longer than 12 months to accomplish
This mini-grant is an extension of GMI’s belief that museums are catalysts for environmental sustainability. Collaboration among partners is encouraged.
Eligibility:  All types of museums were invited to submit applications, including zoos, aquariums, science centers, children’s museums, art museums, botanical gardens, and historical societies. Each entrant must be located in California and be a legally organized nonprofit organization or a government entity. Participants that attended the GMI IGNITE! roundtables are encouraged to apply and take the results of the 2011 regional meetings to the next level.
Selection Process:  The winning project will be selected by a two-tier judging process. The entries will first be read and scored by a Review Committee. The committee will use a scoring rubric to select three to five finalists. The finalists will work with a Green Museums Initiative Committee member to write a project abstract, which will be used in an online voting process. The project with the most votes will be selected as the IGNITE! Mini-grant recipient. 
Application:  An outline of the application form can be downloaded for your reference. The application requires a two-three page narrative, which should include all of the following:
  • Brief description of your Organization
  • Description of the Need – What is the environmental challenge or issue you are addressing?
  • Description of the Project – How would this seed money jumpstart or expand your project?
  • Advancement/Innovation – Why is this a special project?
  • Predicted Outcomes – What are the short and long term goals and products

Applicants are also encouraged to attach up to four pages of attachments, which may include letters of support from partners, a budget and/or budget narrative, images, photographs, sketches, or other materials that support funding for this project. 

Requirements: The IGNITE! Mini-grant recipient will be awarded $2,000 to be used on their project and will be required to: (1) write two blog posts in the CA Museums Community Online - one on the project's progress and the second at the conclusion of the project - to share the experience and lessons learned; (2) submit a one-page narrative report and a financial report to CAM on the conclusion of the project or 12 months after the grant is awarded, whichever comes first.
Application deadline: June 28, 2013 Extended to July 12, 2013
Finalists announced: July 12, 2013 July 19, 2013
Online voting: August 1-8, 2013
Project start date: September 1, 2013
Project end date: August 31, 2014
Reporting deadline: September 15, 2014
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