The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is excited to announce philanthropic support for the continued advancement of its educational programs after being awarded three grants for 2018. The Zoo applied for and was awarded over $75,000 in grants from Walmart Foundation, Wayne M. Densch Charities, Inc., and Spectrum News to continue to spread the Zoo’s message of conservation and animal wellbeing to the community’s youth. Most notably, the grants will assist the Zoo in reaching economically disadvantaged and underserved schools.
Wayne M. Densch Charities, Inc. awarded the Zoo over $33,000 to supplement programs that reach Title 1 elementary schools and facilities that support mentally and physically impaired students. The amount awarded from this grant will allow 2,000 students from qualifying schools free admission and participation in an animal encounter. Grant money from Wayne M. Densch also gives the Zoo the opportunity to bring in over 400 middle school students for the Zoo’s new Environmental Science program that began in 2017.
The Zoo also received a grant of $41,250 from the Walmart Foundation to support K-12 curriculum programs at the Zoo. This program will bring in 3,750 disadvantaged students to participate in the Zoo’s education programs that are designed to supplement educational services provided by the public school in accordance with state achievement standards.
“The Zoo’s education programs provide local community students with hands-on learning that takes place outside of the classroom,” says Stephanie Williams, Director of Education. “We provide informal science education that supplements grade-specific science, math, writing, and reading topics. Additionally, an enriching visit to the Zoo provides students with opportunities for engagement and an increase in empathy towards animals. Funding from these grants will allow the Zoo to offer these informal science education opportunities at no cost to even larger number of Title 1 schools.
The Central Florida Zoo also received $5,000 from Spectrum to continue to support nature play programs for preschoolers in the Spectrum News 13 Children’s Garden. This area within the Zoo provides young Zoo guests with hands-on enrichment in nature, and this grant will also help fund the Zoo’s summertime Cub Club, a preschool program that introduces two to five year olds and their parents to animal care and conservation.
“The Zoo’s mission is to provide experiences that excite and inspire children to learn and act on behalf of wildlife,” states Dino Ferri, the Zoo’s CEO. “Philanthropic partnerships are vital to expanding our Zoo’s reach throughout the Central Florida community. This funding will ensure that even more children, regardless of background, are learning to care about their environment, as well as developing skills in science, critical thinking, communication, and problem solving.”
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