NC Beautiful, a provider of environmental education and beautification opportunities that elevate the quality of life of North Carolinians, has announced this year’s recipients of the organization’s environmental education grants. Ten schools were awarded Windows of Opportunity Grants that are available to certified, full-time K-12 teachers in the state of North Carolina.
Windows of Opportunity provides up to $1,000 grants to NC teachers to reward their creativity fostering environmental stewardship, leadership, and awareness and initiating a sense of community service. Since 1999, NC Beautiful has awarded tens of thousands of grant dollars to schools all across North Carolina—from the mountains to the coast. NC Beautiful Executive Director, Steve Vacendak, says that the goal of NC Beautiful is to annually offer a Windows of Opportunity grant in all 100 counties in North Carolina.
“Promoting and fostering environmental stewardship is a state-wide commitment,” says Vacendak. “By rewarding our teachers throughout our state for their innovation and hard work, we can ensure that our children and grandchildren are participating in a project that sparks a lifelong interest in nature. They will appreciate this beautiful state even more for having had a teacher who went above and beyond to give them a hands-on, real world experience. We are proud to be a small part of that discovery.”
Scott Perry, a teacher at Penny Road Elementary School in Cary, was one of this year’s grant recipients. Perry will use the award to create a weather program for his school’s second, fourth, and fifth graders that includes utilizing a wireless weather station to obtain real-time weather data and establishing a hands-on weather station with weather instruments.
"We are honored and excited to receive this generous grant from NC Beautiful,” says Perry. “We are so thankful for the opportunity to have so many hands-on activities to add to our Science curriculum here at Penny Road Elementary! Thank you to NC Beautiful for helping to spark an interest and motivate our students to be good stewards of what we have been given."
The Windows of Opportunity Grants were created to cultivate an appreciation of natural environments by helping children get out of school and into natural settings. The grants also build leadership awareness, develop environmental educational mentors and ambassadors, create materials and resources that can be used by other K-12 students, and develop a sustainable, outdoor program, which will continue well after the grant period ends.
The following is a list of the 2012 Windows of Opportunity Grant recipients, including the name of the teacher submitting the winning entry:
• Jenny Johnson, Parkwood Elementary School, Jacksonville (Onslow County)
• Scott Perry, Penny Road Elementary School, Cary (Wake County)
• Bronwen Guthrie, Wrightsboro Elementary, Wilmington (New Hanover County)
• Lisa Vail, Castle Hayne Elementary School, Castle Hayne (New Hanover County)
• Debra Jones, Contentnea-Savannah School, Kinston (Lenoir County)
• Lynette Damon, EK Powe Elementary, Durham (Durham County)
• Crystal Williford, Elm City Elementary, Wilson (Wilson County)
• Porsha Bell, Rochelle Middle School, Kinston (Lenoir County)
• Kristin Beaman, Snow Hill Elementary, Snow Hill (Greene County)
• Jan Leiner, Butner Stem Middle School, Butner (Granville)
Entries for next year’s Windows of Opportunity Grants will be accepted online starting September, 2012. For more information, call (919) 828-3190.
About NC Beautiful
NC Beautiful (ncbeautiful.org) has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for over 40 years—supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts that affect our quality of life. Today, we concentrate on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower our citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state of North Carolina. Whether it’s school children building outdoor classrooms, graduate students developing cutting edge research, or a Boy Scout troop planting azaleas at an elder care facility, we make it possible for North Carolinians to keep NC Beautiful.