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MAGIP K-12 Education Grants

 MAGIP Van Shelhamer Memorial K-12 Education Grant 

2024 Grant Application Now Open!

View the 2024 Grant Application Announcement (pdf)

Applications must be submitted by March 25, 2024

MAGIP is offering up to two (2) $1,500 Grants

Grants are to support the development and use of geographic location-based technologies, such as:

    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS), 
    • Global Positioning Systems (GPS), or 
    • Remote Sensing in K-12 classrooms

Eligible projects include:

    • curriculum development, 
    • training for teachers, and 
    • purchase of equipment or software that will enhance geographic instruction

Email the Scholarship and Grants Committee Chair for more information

Grant Recipients


Elizabeth Burke, Montana Discovery Foundation (MDF)

The Montana Discovery Foundation (MDF) foundation supports the Youth Forest Monitoring Program (YFMP), which is a participatory science program that engages high school youth in monitoring forest health, that includes noxious weed management on forest lands. Noxious weeds management is an important theme in Montana, and this grant follows a similar path that last year’s recipient, Sarah Tabor, has begun at the Belgrade High School. With our support, the Montana Discovery Foundation will be able to obtain matching funding for field equipment, and thereby expand an already successful program by engaging high school students in citizen science that monitors noxious weeds on public lands. Students will record noxious weeds using a web-based mapping system for documenting invasive species and pest distribution. Their observations and recommendations will be included in reports submitted to the Forest Service, and this will help the agency to enhance their ability to manage this serious threat our ecosystem integrity in Montana. For more information about this terrific program, you can contact the program manager, Elizabeth Burke

Last year they made a video celebrating 25 years of YFMP. This includes interviews with past YFMP alumni and footage from the 25th cohort last year. It provides a wonderful look at the roots of the program and how it often leads alumni along of path of Natural Resource employment.


Sarah Tabor and the Belgrade High School in Belgrade

Sarah Tabor and her science students will collaborate with Joseph Yakawich and the students in his Aeronautical Engineering course on a joint vegetation mapping project. Sarah and her team will focus on the ground component of this project by designing a sampling protocol, noxious weed identification and spatial reference data collection with handheld devices. They will also be involved in the classification of imagery to define spatial patterns of weeds in a section of state land next to their school.

Joseph Yakawich and the Sentinel High School in MIssoula 

Joseph and the students in his Aeronautical Engineering course will work with the University of Montana Autonomous Aerial Systems Office to learn about the wide variety of instruments used to collect aerial imagery in support of a mapping project. In their work they will learn about the interaction between the vehicles and sensors used to collect data, and how those collected data are processed to yield products necessary for creating maps for land managers. 

Stacy Bateman at the DeSmet PK-8 School in Missoula

Stacy Bateman is focused on providing her students with real-world, authentic learning experiences. To accomplish this she is using a learning program from Trout Unlimited to bring her classroom outdoors, with spatial data collection devices, to learn about native and non-native trout and their habitats in the Clark Fork River near their school. They intend to map trout habitat and generate a Storymap describing their project.


No grants were awarded in 2022.


One (1) grant totally $1,500 to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants

Riley Devins, Principal Frenchtown Intermediate School Frenchtown, MT ($1,500)  

Providing students with exposure to maps and teaching them how to use maps as navigation tools and as a resource while in the city, in the wild, or traveling is important everywhere, and particularly in rural Montana. Using maps as teaching tools is also helpful because it allows us as teachers to really put distance in perspective, and it furthermore helps develop student geographic awareness and cartography skills.

The Frenchtown Intermediate School would like to work with a MAGIP mentor to develop lesson plans that build on basic map and orienteering skills. They would also like to use contemporary open-source apps to develop lessons based on GeoCaching. With the help of a MAGIP mentor they will be able to identify new and exciting ways of bringing geospatial technology into the classroom and develop skills that will complement STEM learning.  Contact the MAGIP Scholarship and Grants Committee if you are interested in mentoring.

For more information read the Project Abstract


Three (3) grants totally $3,000 to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants

Morgan Anderson, University of Montana ($1,500)

Morgan will be continuing her geography research into the dynamics of land development patterns in the west, she is also going to work with the Education Committee to organize and catalog past K-12 projects and help make them readily accessible to for use by current and future educators.

Holly Nesbitt and Anna Crockett, University of Montana (2 grants, $750 each)

Holly and Anna are both working on highly relevant water quantity and also water distribution models. Each of their projects have unique qualities, but together they represent a body of work that will advance the state of traditional water management but also has the capacity to help people understand and the challenges of moving around and sharing water resources. We have awarded them each Higher Education Scholarships, and have asked them to frame their work in a manner that can be applied in a K-12 setting. After all, water management is as much a social practice as a scientific one. Bringing this kind of thinking to classrooms will help students adapt STEM principles and potentially help future leaders understand the social and environmental implications of sound water management. Their work will take place in the Upper Clark Fork Watershed, and will engage with local schools and perhaps Montana Tech in Butte.


Four (4) grants totally $5,000 (thanks in part to a $2,000 contribution from Red Castle Resources, Inc.) to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants

Susan Flentie and the Lewistown Junior High School Staff

Susan and her colleagues at Lewistown Junior High School have been very busy and very successful in implementing STEM-based curricula. Over the years they have been award grants by technology companies such as Samsung, and have used their awards to empower student learning and involvement in a number of ways that involved technology. This year the students and staff developed an app for smartphones and other mobile devices that the public can use to report and request assistance for emergencies and dangerous environmental hazards like floods, forest and range fires that are common in rural Montana communities

Dalene Normand and Frenchtown School District

Dalene Normand introduced topography and topographic maps to her enrichment students at Frenchtown School Elementary and Middle School by building a Virtual Reality Sandbox.  Using this innovative new tool, students construct a landscape and a resulting topographical map is projected on to the sandbox.  This creates a hands-on learning activity, which together with the Esri GeoInquiries “Where Does the Water Go?” and “Topography and our National Heritage” help connect the sandbox model to GIS.  Students also constructed a model of their watershed in the sandbox and applied various scenarios such as road-cuts, dams, and dam removal, to see how the landscape and watershed are affected

Caroline Patterson of the Missoula Writing Collaborative

Caroline worked with 4th grade students across the entire Missoula Public School System and taught them to write poetry. Simple as that sounds, she asked them to write about their favorite places in and around town. Those placed were then located and mapped, and infused into an interactive Story Map. This was a great way to incorporate liberal arts and geospatial thinking and technology.

Morgan Voss and Flathead Valley High Schools

Morgan is a dedicated geographer. She has been studying the interactions between terrain features, avalanche cutes and their unique ecology in Glacier National Park. Taking her learning from the park, she worked with park staff and developed an applied GIS and Remote Sensing curriculum for Flathead Valley High Schools. Going beyond just creating something, she also provided training to interested area teachers so they can use her lessons, and others, for other natural resources questions as well.


Two (2) $1,000 grants to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants

    • Lauren Stephens, Emily Dickinson Elementary School, Bozeman, MT
    • Laura Zanolli, Lolo Schools, Lolo, MT  

Both Lauren and Laura are taking a hands on approach and intend to get their students out into the field to learn real word skills and using geospatial technologies. Lauren Stephens at Emily Dickinson intends to teach her fourth and fifth grade students the finer points of GPS data collection, topographic mapping, and geocaching. Laura Zanolli is investigating the physical and biological elements that are influencing the dewatering of Lolo Creek in western Montana. While doing so she will be working with seventh graders at the Lolo School, and also with members of the public through the Lolo Watershed Group. When working with Laura, participants will learn about all kinds of sampling, data collection, and ArcGIS Online mapping as way of telling the Lolo Creek Story in a media rich, interactive, geospatial way.


Two (2) $1,000 grants to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants

  • Hans Bodenhammer, Bigfork Schools GIS and Science Program, Bigfork, MT
  • Wayne Stein, White Clay Immersion School, Fort Belknap, MT  

Both Hans Bodenhamer and Wayne Stein intend to use some of the grant funds to invest in tablet devices that their students will use to develop web and storymap applications. Students in Bigfork will initially focus on noxious weedmapping, and eventually branch out to include, projects related to fish, birds, mammals, and fire safety. At Fort Belknap, the White Clay School is a private A’annnih (Gros Ventre) Language School Affiliated with the A’annnih Nakoda College. The school teaches K-12 curriculum and an emphasis on incorporating their native language. The students will use grant funds to purchase tablets and develop a Cultural Story Map Project.


    Two (2) $1,000 grants to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants
    • Bill Jimmerson, Your Education Source, Bozeman, MT
    • Melissa Reynolds-Hogland, Bear Trust International, in Missoula, MT  

    Both of the applicants have outlined clear and impactful ideas that will help teach teachers to bring geospatial awareness and concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to classrooms across Montana. Bill Jimmerson will utilize the Education Grant to provide a multi-day teaching training program in precision agriculture in the Great Falls area. Agriculture is an important component of the Montana culture and economy, and the linkage between this industry and geospatial concepts is a great way to enhance learning opportunities our classrooms.

    Melissa Reynolds-Hogland at Bear Trust International and their partners proposed not only to become volunteer GeoMentors for the Frenchtown Schools, they are also collaborating with three key educators at Frenchtown Elementary and Middle Schools to create GIS-based lesson plans. As a first step in the partnership between Bear Trust and the Frenchtown Schools they will build a GIS curriculum for the Talented and Gifted program at the Elementary and Middle Schools. Results of the pilot project will be freely available to educators, students, and the public by providing them online. A long term goal is to expand the program to include workshops that not only provide GIS skills but also continuing education credits to participants.


    One (1) $1,000 Grant to assist a K-12 educator to support GIS-related curriculum through the MAGIP Van Shelhamer K-12 Education Grants
      • Gail Shatkus, Career and Technology Educator at Chester-Joplin-Inverness Schools 


      Two (2) $1,000 grants to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum
      • Jo Stevens, West Yellowstone K-12 Schools 
      • Scott Edge, C.S. Porter Middle School, Missoula, MT


          One (1) $1,000 grant to assist K-12 educators to support GIS-related curriculum
          • Gail Shatkus, Chester-Joplin-Inverness School District to support the use of centimeter-grade GPS by the high school architecture design class to lay out building and land designs

            Email the Scholarship and Grants Committee Chair for more information

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