From right, HCCF board member Jim Ferguson presents GMSF executive director Jesse Pope with a donation to benefit Grandfather Mountain’s Field Trip Scholarship Fund. Photo by Matt Debnam, courtesy of Mountain Times Publications

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is committed to inspiring conservation of the natural world.

In presenting a generous donation on Tuesday, Oct. 10, the High Country Charitable Foundation has proven it’s also up to the task.

The Banner Elk-based High Country Charitable Foundation contributed $5,000 toward Grandfather’s Field Trip Scholarship Fund.

Established in 2015, the fund benefits school groups in need of financial assistance, helping defray the cost of an educational field trip to the Linville, N.C., park.

The scholarship honors the memory of Nathan Pribble, of Apex, N.C., who died unexpectedly in 2014 at age 18. He and his family were frequent visitors to Grandfather Mountain. After his passing, Pribble’s family requested that memorials be made to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

“The Field Trip Scholarship Fund is an incredible and important program at Grandfather Mountain,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

“We know that outdoor experiences enhance children’s understanding of the natural world, but many schools have been shouldering significant budget cuts as of late. As a result, teachers often have a difficult time justifying field trips. Our scholarship fund offsets those costs, offering students the chance to experience this very special place.”

The High Country Charitable Foundation’s donation will help ensure that the scholarship fund endures. In its annual giving, the foundation contributed $272,000 across 24 area nonprofits in Avery and Watauga counties.

“Thanks to the HCCF’s continued support, a mile-high number of schoolchildren will be able to experience firsthand the wonders of Grandfather Mountain,” Ruggiero said.

To learn more about the High Country Charitable Foundation, visit

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.