Grandfather Mountain receives grant award from N.C. Science Museums Grant Program

In January, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation was one of 41 science centers across the state to receive a grant award as part of the $2.44 million North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program (NCSMG).

According to a NCSMG spokesperson, “The new program is one of the many ways that the State of North Carolina invests in sustaining and advancing one of the most diverse and widespread networks of science museums in the country.”

“We are very pleased to be awarded the N.C. Science Grant this year,” said Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville, N.C., nature preserve and attraction. “This funding will be vital in helping us complete the cougar habitat renovations and enhance the educational opportunities for our visitors and school groups in the future. The cougars will certainly be very pleased with their new home — a much needed upgrade from their previous accommodations.”

Funding from the N.C. Science Museums grant will help with renovations to Grandfather Mountain’s cougar habitat. Photo by Monty Combs

Grants were awarded based on criteria that promote the priorities of state government, with a primary goal of enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education opportunities for the public, particularly in low-resource communities. The awards, which ranged from $51,912.92 to $76,912.92, will be applied to the 2016-2017 fiscal year budgets of these science centers.

“These museums are critical resources for schools and communities in providing learning experiences in and out of the classroom that enhance science literacy,” said Charles Yelton, chief of regional networks for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and lead administrator of NCSMG.

A full list of centers receiving grant awards follows. The 40 most economically distressed counties are designated as Tier 1 (which received the largest awards), the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3.

Tier 1: Port Discover, Discovery Place Kids (Rockingham), Aurora Fossil Museum, Exploration Station, KidSenses Children’s Museum, Sylvian Heights Bird Park, Roanoke/Cashie River Center, Highlands Nature Center, NC Estuarium, Rocky Mount Children’s Museum and Science Center.

Tier 2: Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, Go-Science, Mt. Airy Museum of Regional History, FascinateU, Cowan Museum of History and Science, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, Dan Nichols Wildlife and Nature Center, Imagination Station, Catawba Science Center, A Time for Science, Schiele Museum of Natural History, Walter Stasavich Science and Nature Center/Love a Sea Turtle.

Tier 3: Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, Greensboro Science Center, Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium, Marbles Kids Museum, ScienceWorks/Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, Iredell Museums, Hands On! Children’s Gallery, Carolina Raptor Center, Children’s Museum of Wilmington, Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, Asheville Museum of Science, Discovery Place, Western North Carolina Nature Center, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, Discovery Place Kids (Huntersville), Charlotte Nature Museum, KidZu Children’s Museum, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, North Carolina Botanical Gardens.

For more information about the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program or to apply for consideration in next year’s program, visit ncmuseumgrant.naturalsciences.org.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325.