The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is preparing to fund a new set of partners and their innovative mine land reclamation and economic development projects. Applications are due May 21.
The Coalition is seeking applications from all interested public and private entities or individuals in Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio with project ideas that will reclaim abandoned coal mine lands while supporting community-based economic development.
Mini-grant recipients will receive between $3,500 and $12,000 in start-up funds as well as technical and planning assistance from Downstream Strategies.
The award will provide resources and support in order to turn viable land reuse concepts into fundable projects, with the objective ultimately helping partners submit proposals to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for the 2021 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program, a federal funding opportunity.
“The projects selected for the mini-grant program are community-driven, place-appropriate forms of economic development that embrace the rapidly evolving economic and social conditions of our region,” said Joey James, Principal at Downstream Strategies, of the 2020 mini-grant recipients.
Kentucky-based Backroads of Appalachia was one of five recipients last year. Using the resources awarded by the mini-grant program, the organization then successfully secured an AML Pilot grant. “Thank you for believing in our work and for providing us with funds to pay a grant writer to help us develop an AML Pilot grant application,” said Erik Hubbard, Director of Backroads of Appalachia. “Because of your support, we were able to hire an excellent grant writer, Ruthie Caldwell of Vision Granted. She helped us transform our concept into an effective proposal that won us a $400,000 AML Pilot grant to renovate a former satellite bank building into a flagship Welcome Center for motorsports tourists in Lynch, Kentucky. Without this mini-grant, we would never have received the $400,000 AML Pilot grant. So, thank you for believing and investing in us. We will not disappoint.”
The coalition and its mini-grant program are supported by the Just Transition Fund, New York Community Trust, and several other foundations.
The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is a collaboration of organizations focused on sustainable development in Central Appalachia: Appalachian Voices in Virginia, Appalachian Coalfield Development Corporation in West Virginia, and Rural Action in Ohio—and regional technical expert, Downstream Strategies.
The coalition works with community partnerships, organizations, and local governments to help identify, develop, fund, and implement innovative, community-focused reclamation projects that create jobs.
For more information on the Coalition and its work to reclaim and reuse Appalachia’s mine lands, visit the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition website.
NATURE NUGGET: A good part of NEPA had anthracite aka “hard coal” mining. There are mine land scars in a number of counties. Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic luster. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest energy density of all types of coal and is the highest ranking of coals.
NATURE QUOTE: This is National Drinking Water Week. Clean water is integral to our health and livelihoods!
“Porcupine Pat” McKinney is environmental education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District and provides programming for people of all ages with an emphasis on schools, public programming and nature center development. “Porcupine Pat” hails from Marion, Ohio and has a BS with Distinction in Natural Resources – Environmental Interpretation from Ohio State. He is a recipient of the prestigious Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education from the PA Forestry Association, the Schuylkill Pride Award, and the PAEE “Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.”