Partnership is bearing fruitPublished 8:39pm Monday, February 4, 2013
At its meeting in Washington late last year, NC Beautiful announced its partnership with PotashCorp-Aurora to provide grants to schools in Beaufort County and several neighboring counties. That’s good news for those school systems and their students.
Beaufort County Early College High School is a recent recipient of one of those Windows of Opportunity grants. It received $1,000. The grant will be used to begin the first phase of a project that, when completed, will include a trail to help teach science.
“We are going to use the funds to build an outdoor classroom on the BCCC campus,” said principal Emily Pake. “It will be utilized to support the teaching of science. Right now, the grant is going to be used for the preliminary stages, like the creation of a trail to facilitate access to the outdoor classroom. This is not going to fund the entire project but it will get us started.”
The outdoor classroom will be available for other curriculum uses, Pake noted.
The partnership between NC Beautiful and PotashCorp-Aurora provides $5,000 each year for a three-year period to NC Beautiful for its Windows of Opportunity grant program.
The money from PotashCorp-Aurora will go to students and teachers in five counties — Beaufort, Pamlico, Craven, Hyde and Carteret.
The $1,000 grants are designed to help educators develop projects to teach students about the environment and the importance of protecting it.
Many folks don’t know much about NC Beautiful. It has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for 40 years, supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts that affect North Carolina residents’ quality of life, according to its website. Today, it concentrates on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower state residents to preserve the natural beauty of North Carolina.
NC Beautiful and PotashCorp-Aurora saw a need and decided to do something about it.
“Obviously, the teachers need help, as much help as they can get. These grants are going to enable teachers throughout the region to better educate, not only on the environment but on issues that are important to students right now,” said Ray McKeithan, public-affairs and governmental-affairs manager at PotashCorp-Aurora, at the meeting where the partnership was announced. “We see this as an investment that’s going to pay dividends over decades.”
We concur. The Windows of Opportunity grant program should accomplish at least two things: teaching students why protecting the environment is important and resulting in project that protect the environment.
At its meeting in Washington, NC Beautiful said it had plenty of Windows of Opportunity funds to distribute, but few takers. It’s fortunate that Beaufort County Early College is among those takers, but we would like to see other schools in Beaufort, Hyde, Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties avail themselves of the funding available during the three-year period.
Steve Vacendak, executive director of NC Beautiful, acknowledges his group also benefits from the program.
“It’s going to help in very many ways. First of all, it’s going to help teachers and students from the resource standpoint. It’s also going to raise our profile in this part of the area of the state. We need that,” Vacendak said.
Not only that, it’s a partnership that benefits the environment and students. That’s a great thing,