State science grants awarded in WNC
Six science centers in the western region received grant money as part of the $6.3 million recently awarded through the N.C. Science Museums Grant Program.
“The North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program helps fund crucial science education across our state,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “This investment of federal funds by the legislature and the governor will increase access to STEM experiences no matter where you live in North Carolina.”
The Highlands Nature Center and Botanical Garden in Macon County received the largest award of the six, at $148,000. The N.C. Arboretum Society and the Asheville Museum of Science, both in Asheville, received $127,000 and $123,000, respectively. Next were two sites in Transylvania County, the Cradle of Forestry Heritage Site with $118,000 and the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute with $107,000. Friends of the WNC Nature Center in Asheville received $97,000.
The 55 grants awarded statewide ranged in size from $70,000 to $185,000, with funding through the American Rescue Plan Act as directed by the 2021 state budget. Recipients were chosen based on state-legislated criteria surrounding enhancing science, technology, engineering and math education opportunities for the public, particularly in low-resource communities. Awards will cover expenditures at the science centers from 2022 through 2025 according to the federal timeline for ARPA funding.