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Photo 3The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has received a $60,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support its STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Learning Adventures outreach and field trip programs and the STEM Institute at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

STEM-based Learning Adventures are a series of dynamic, environmental education programs. Naturalists deliver interactive outreach programs in classrooms using ambassador animals, and children visit the Conservancy Nature Center and the STEM Institute to learn about the environment on field trip programs. The STEM Institute offers programs targeting K-12 students and teachers, including field trips, high school research-focused programs and STEM teacher workshops.

A check on behalf of the Walmart Foundation was presented by Larry Graham, Wal-Mart store manager, to Conservancy President and CEO Rob Moher on Monday, Feb. 24 at the Conservancy Nature Center.

During the grant presentation, students from East Naples Middle School were knee-deep in the Shotwell Wavering Filter Marsh at the Conservancy Nature Center participating in hands-on STEM activities including water sampling and data collection to help students understand and measure how the reduces pollution, enhancing their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math.

This grant is the third year that Walmart Foundation has supported education initiatives at the Conservancy, with support totaling more than $140,000. Through the “Learning Adventures” program, Conservancy of Southwest Florida environmental education naturalists visit Lee and Collier county schools to teach the next generation of environmental leaders about southwest Florida’s unique natural treasures. All programs are geared to appropriate-age groups and off-site programs are available.

Graham stressed Walmart’s commitment to giving back to the community. “Walmart gives back to the communities we serve, and after listening to the educators and seeing the kids participate in hands-on learning here today, we now have a greater understanding and appreciation of the real-life impact of the gift.”

Conservancy president and CEO Rob Moher said, “The grant enables the Conservancy to expand our current programming to reach thousands of students, exposing them to our mission and igniting their interest in environmental education. We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their generous donation.”