This new grant follows an initial three-year, $165,100 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in late 2002. Both grants were secured by Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The three-year extension of the grant will include half-day educational programs for more than 1,800 middle and high school students each year, as well as paid internships for eight high school students each summer.
“The day programs address key points in the North Carolina science curriculum, and they are designed to encourage greater interest in inquiry-based learning,” said Paul Super, science coordinator at the park’s Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center. “The summer internships allow high school students to explore science in greater depth by contributing to real research projects in the Smokies.”
Based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent, non-profit foundation that supports research and other scientific and educational activities, making approximately $25 million in grants annually. The grants to Friends of the Smokies are part of the fund’s Student Science Enrichment Program, which supports creative science enrichment activities for North Carolina students in the sixth through twelfth grades.
“By committing more than $300,000 over six years, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund has been a true leader in science education in Western North Carolina,” said Stephen W. Woody, vice chairman of the Friends’ Board of Directors. “We are very grateful for all their support.”