Boxerwood recently won a national grant from a new collaboration whose mission is to enhance STEM learning in after school settings. The grant comes from The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), in partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as supported by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this new collaboration is to promote opportunities for high-quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in schools that serve low-income communities.
The 29 environmental education organizations awarded grants serve afterschool programs in 17 states, from Alaska to Florida. All projects focus on promoting STEM through watershed education and action. Boxerwood’s project was one of two in Virginia selected for funding. The two-year, $80,000 award will underwrite new projects within afterschool programs at Maury River Middle School, Natural Bridge Elementary School, and Enderly Heights Elementary School.
Boxerwood’s proposed project, “Trail Blazers,” introduces youth to science-informed conservation through outdoor recreation activities. Students will explore hands-on science and stewardship through projects that also include local fishing, paddling, and hiking. The program features both afterschool and summer camp opportunities for the participating schools. Funds support program development, instruction, transportation, supplies, admission to local parks, and even contracts with licensed kayak providers. The pandemic has upended some of the project’s immediate plans and but its 2-year scope affords some flexibility in program roll-out. Basically, this dedicated funding means Boxerwood can help meet the schools in their need on the other side of this most uncertain time. Next summer and next year, kids will need to be outdoors, moving, playing, learning: and Boxerwood will be there, ready to blaze those trails.