Maria Mitchell Association - Discovery Camp Scholarship Program
July 16, 2012 - Education and Literacy

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Through a scholarship fund established in 2011, EGCF continues to collaborate with the Maria Mitchell Association to offer Nantucket residents an opportunity to assist low income families with the cost of attending the summer Discovery program. The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), promotes the exploration, education, and enjoyment of Nantucket's land, waters and skies. It was founded to preserve the legacy of the Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator. "Learning by doing" is the philosophy as well as the mission of the children's Discovery Program. The Discovery program's goal is to provide children with access to their natural world and to give them opportunities to investigate, explore and experience the wonders of Nantucket's diverse ecosystems. It offers occasions for students to visit local environments including wetlands, marine habitats, grasslands and forest ecosystems.

MMA utilized the grant from the EGCF Scholarship Program to provide resident children the opportunity to engage in an experiential science program. This scholarship supplied eligible recipients with a discounted Discovery program fee with 80% of it being covered by the EGCF grant. In addition, EGCF grant recipients received a discounted yearly membership to MMA facilities, including the aquarium, natural history museum, observatory, and historical properties, which granted them free and/or discounted admission to many programs.

The 2012 Discovery Program had 23 students participate in the Scholarship Program compared with 11 participants in 2011. These students ranged in ages from 4-15 years old. 4 children, ages 4-6 years old, attended the Wee Explorers program; 8 children, ages 7-9 years old, attended the Habitat Hoppers program; 5 children, ages 10-12 years old, attended the Eco-Investigators; and 6 children, ages 13-15 years old, attended the new Naturalist Leadership Program. Participant enrollment consisted of 11 boys and 12 girls. They participated in programs that studied marine biodiversity, grassland ecosystems, wilderness survival skills, environmental stewardship, physical oceanography, wetland habitats, forest ecology, etc. Students learned how to kayak, snorkel, build shelters, collect insects, handle snakes, fish, amphibians and a variety of other local animals, use a seine net, collect fresh water, and numerous other activities.

EGCF is pleased to partner with MMA. EGCF and MMA share a mission and vision to advance the well-being of underserved children and to strengthen both educational access and the quality of resources at various ages of development. For more on MMA, please visit their website at www.mariamitchell.org.