Stark Community Foundation Awards Grant to The Wilderness Center to Expand Virtual STEM-Based Environmental Education

(Wilmot, Ohio) – The Wilderness Center announced that it has been awarded a $13,125 grant by the Stark Community Foundation.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges being faced by schools, this grant has funded the purchase of needed equipment and materials to enable The Wilderness Center’s STEM-based environmental education program to move to an online forum.

“We knew we needed to update and adapt our educational programming to meet the changing demands of this pandemic.” Said TWC Executive Director Jeanne Gural. “We are so pleased to be able to immediately put these funds to use in serving the students, teachers, parents, and adults in our surrounding community.”

The impact of this investment can be seen in TWC’s new program, Your Wild Classroom. This series of virtual courses, launched with the support of this grant, takes on a single topic of study each month and engages homeschooling and classroom students through live virtual presentations, video lessons, activities, and worksheets. Parents and classroom teachers can choose to subscribe for the entire semester, or one specific lesson aligning with the current topic of study. The topics, ranging from soils and entomology, to geology and ornithology, are all designed to meet Ohio standards.

“I’m so grateful for the (Your Wild Classroom) program.” Said Brenda Murphy, a homeschooling parent from Wooster. “It’s fun, they are learning, and we can do it as a family.”

This upgrade of capabilities has also allowed The Wilderness Center to reach new audiences.

“In addition to offering online programs for homeschooling families and classroom teachers, we have also been able to partner with other organizations to offer some innovative programming,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Carrie Elvey. “Our recent Dark Sky Conservation Conference was presented in partnership with the International Dark Sky Association, and our TWC Woodcarvers Club offered a full day of free virtual carving classes. Both programs attracted people from outside the state!”

The grant was made possible by combined contributions from The William J. Lemmon Charitable Fund, The Immediate Impact Alert Fund, The Gessner Family Foundation (Immediate Impact Alert Fund), The John B. Nolan Fund, The Wright Family Charitable Fund, and The Fenway Fund at Stark Community Foundation.

PHOTO CAPTION: Wilderness Center Outreach Coordinator Carrie Elvey uses equipment purchased with a grant from the Stark Community Foundation to conduct a virtual conference, drawing attendees from around the state of Ohio and across the country.

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