By CAROLYN WHETZEL
The Society of Environmental Journalists is launching the Fund for Environmental Journalism, a new program offering grants of up to $2,500 to help underwrite environmental reporting projects and entrepreneurial ventures.
In an era of diminishing newsroom resources, the Fund for Environmental Journalism provides incentives and support to qualified journalists and news organizations to enhance the quantity and quality of reporting on environmental issues.
"We wanted to help somehow, without competing with our own members," SEJ President Christy George said. "The idea that emerged from months of discussion was the Fund for Environmental Journalism.
"These grants will help environmental journalists struggling in the current media environment to redefine themselves, or their platform," George added.
In January, the SEJ Board of Directors set aside $10,000 to fund two rounds of grants in 2010.
Any United States, Canada or Mexico-based journalist working independently or on the staff of either a for-profit or non-profit news organization may apply for an FEJ grant. Applications for the first round of grants are due July 15, 2010. The deadline for the second round of applications is Nov. 15, 2010.
Grant money from the FEJ may be used for project-relevant travel, training, research materials, database analysis, consultants, and other direct expenses related to the applicant's reporting project or entrepreneurial venture.
"The Fund is meant to be an incubator for new ideas, projects and training," George said. "While the grants may not add up to a lot of dollars, each one is meant to provide that critical bit of capital needed to launch something new, or reinvent something old."
Applicants need not be SEJ members but must meet criteria for SEJ membership. Disqualifiers include paid employment in public relations, media relations or lobbying on environmentrelated issues.
For more information on the Fund for Environmental Journalism and application instructions visit the Fund Overview page. 
SEJ is a non-partisan, educational membership association of more than 1,500 professional journalists, students and educators serving communities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 27 other countries. It is dedicated to credible and robust journalism that informs and engages society on environmental issues.
Funding for the FEJ comes from SEJ's earned income and individual donations. SEJ is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax deductible. More information on donating to SEJ is at http:// www.sej.org .
*From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Summer 2010 issue
Important Upcoming Dates
July 31 — SEJ board meeting in Louisville, KY. Contact the SEJ office if you plan to attend.
August 16 — Last day to register for the SEJ conference and get the low rate of $190.
September 1 — Deadline for membership applications to be considered in time for conference registration as a member
September 6 — Deadline to book Hilton Garden Inn for SEJ conference.
September 11 — Deadline to book Holiday Inn for SEJ conference.
September 13 — Deadline to cancel in writing for conference registration refund less $50 processing fee.
September 17 — Deadline to book Doubletree Hotel Missoula Edgewater
October 13-17 — SEJ's 20th annual conference opening day at the University of Montana - Missoula. Walk-in registrations welcome.