Sister Phyllis Plantenberg Endowed Fund for Student and Faculty Research

In 2020, an anonymous donor established this endowment in honor of Sr. Phyllis (Dunstan) Plantenberg of Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Sr. Phyllis taught biology at CSB+SJU for 34 years, founded Common Ground Garden as a CSA (community supported agriculture) enterprise, and is a cofounder of the St. Joseph Farmer’s Market. Her passion for the natural world has made her an inspiring and cherished teacher, colleague, and friend to many in the CSB, SJU, OSB community and beyond.

Funding from the endowment is used to provide competitive grants in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) professional and academic development for Outdoor U students, as well as to provide resources in support of student and faculty research in the Abbey Arboretum.

2022-23 Funding

Minnesota Association for Environmental Education Conference – $1500
A group of CSB and SJU students and staff attended this annual conference hosted at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn.

Wilderness First Aid & CPR Certification – $2500
Scholarships to supplement the professional development of 20 CSB and SJU students to receive certification from Longleaf Wilderness Medicine.

United Nations Climate Change Conference – $1500
Travel funding to assist three students attending the annual conference, hosted in Egypt in 2022.

Minnesota Naturalist Association Conference – $250
Staff professional development and networking opportunity.

Leave No Trace Virtual Training – $190
Staff professional development opportunity.

EMT Course – $500
Partial funding for staff professional development opportunity.

2021-22 Funding

Wilderness First Aid & CPR – $3000
Training for 13 students and staff provided by Longleaf Wilderness Medicine to support current and future outdoor education and adventure trips.

2020-21 Funding

Trail Cameras (4) – $1000
Available to support faculty and student research in the Abbey Arboretum, such as monitoring cavity nesting, population studies, and other wildlife research projects.

Minnesota’s Natural Heritage, 2nd Edition (20) – $1000
“The definitive work on Minnesota’s natural history and ecology.” These books will be available as a resource for training and professional development of Outdoor U student employees and volunteers.

Competitive Grant Awards
Conal Brady Conal Brady ’22
Environmental Studies major, Biology minor
PRP Facilitator, Summer Land Manager

Funding: Wilderness First Aid Training

“I want to work toward a more challenging level of certification so I will have more knowledge and practice to help others if the situation ever arises.”


Sara Holmes '22Sara Holmes ’22
Math major
Naturalist, PRP Facilitator

Funding: North American Association of Environmental Education Inspire Change! Conference; plus recommended books How to Be an Antiracist and Decolonizing Place in Early Childhood Education

“Issues of social justice and climate justice, and the intersectionality of them, are at the forefront of action in every field.”

Carolyn Rowley '23Carolyn Rowley ’23
Biology major, Art and Environmental Studies minors
Naturalist, PRP Facilitator

Funding: The Wolf: Ecology, Behavior and Conservation at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center

“I am hoping to someday work in the environmental education field so I am interested to see how Osprey Wilds works and hopefully get to talk to a naturalist or observe how they teach a course like this.”

Jenna Stanze '21Jenna Stanze ’21
Environmental Studies major
Naturalist, PRP Facilitator

Funding: The American Camp Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seven-course package

” I plan to work in the outdoor education industry, facilitating intensive wilderness expeditions. I will encounter many different backgrounds and life experiences, and I want to make sure that everyone feels welcome in my outdoor classroom.”