Title I public school teachers can apply until September 8 for the latest round of Aquarium Scholars mini-grants.
These mini-grants through the North Carolina Aquarium Society help fund field trips to North Carolina aquarium facilities or allow educators to visit the teacher’s location.
Aquariums are at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier is at Nags Head.
Applications for the 2021-2022 Aquarium Fellows can be submitted until September 8. For more information or to contribute, visitwww.ncaquariums.com/aquarium-scholars.
This is the fifth round of funding available from the North Carolina Aquarium Society for Title 1 schools. Most students at Title 1 schools are from low-income households and a federal program funds schools where the poverty line is at least 75%.
Nearly 50,000 students from 77 counties have benefited from nearly $320,000 in grants since the program began in 2018. The grants have funded nearly 300 field trips to the state’s three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.
“For nearly five years, the Aquarium Scholars program has provided one of our state’s most innovative educational experiences for students from underprivileged communities,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in a statement.
“It’s wonderful to see children’s faces light up with wonder as they discover and learn things they’ve never seen before,” he said, “and it gets them excited for science and nature.”
North Carolina Aquarium Society Director of Development Jim Mulvey said that for him the most important aspect of the program was “to reach underserved students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the pier or one of our aquariums or even see the ocean”. he said. “We hear from teachers all the time about their students’ experiences seeing the ocean for the first time.”
Pine Knoll Shores social media specialist Shannon Kemp said an educator will be visiting the school for a live animal display as part of their Aquarium Scholars program.
“One such program is called Journey through North Carolina, which includes encounters with live animals that can be found throughout the state,” she said. “We also offer in-house educator-led programs, behind-the-scenes tours, live animal interactions like our Sea Turtle Ambassadors, and special activity programs like squid dissection, aquatic labs, animal biology, and more. the beach and more.”
Gatesville elementary students visited Jennette’s Pier on a field trip last month. Many students have never even seen the sea before, and Aquarium Scholars was designed to help achieve goals like this for those Title I kids who attend schools like Gatesville Elementary, Mulvey said.
“For some of our funders, it broadens students’ perception and exposure to careers in science and conservation,” he said. “Others may see this as a matter of social justice, providing equal educational opportunities for students regardless of their financial status.”
Jennette’s Pier Education curator Christin Brown said she often gets to see first-hand the impact the program has had on these students.
“I appreciate how excited the students are to be on the dock catching fish for the first time or walking along the beach collecting seashells,” she said. “Students also really enjoy learning about renewable energy and building their own devices such as solar cars or boats and mini wind turbines.”