Bend, Ore. – Think Wild, Bend Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center, announced today that it has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) K-12 Summer Learning Fund. This funding supports the work Think Wild has under way to empower students to become environmental stewards in Central Oregon through accessible wildlife education and volunteer programs.
“Educating future generations on wildlife habitat conservation, coexistence, and conflict prevention is more important than ever,” said Sally Compton, Think Wild Executive Director. “Rapid urban growth in Central Oregon is displacing the communities - both human and wildlife - that have long called this region home. By providing accessible, equitable opportunities for hands-on local environmental education, Think Wild hopes to inspire future stewards of this beautiful, biodiverse place we call home and all beings who live here.”
Think Wild’s 2021 summer youth education program includes in-person learning and volunteering onsite at the Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center in Bend and offsite at school campuses, parks and public lands. Curriculum offerings meet Next Generation Science Standards and include pollinator gardening, nest box workshops, river ecology labs, animal studies, and habitat restoration.
An important component of this grant funding is increased accessibility and inclusivity of Think Wild’s existing education programs. This includes program fee waivers, expanded offsite offerings, free transportation, and content translation and interpretation. Think Wild encourages teachers, schools, youth organizations and families in Deschutes, Crooks, Jefferson and Lake Counties, especially those with limited resources, to reach out to Think Wild’s education program coordinator, Ginger Berryman, at email@example.com or (541) 316-8294.
OCF is focused on addressing the opportunity gap in K-12 education by reducing socioeconomic, geographic and racial inequities in student success. Through this one-time grant program, funded by the State of Oregon, OCF plans to award $40 million for school-aged children to participate in community-based learning, enrichment, and recreation programs offered through non-profits and public agencies across the state during summer 2021. Priority will be placed on programs that specifically support students experiencing the opportunity gap and from communities disproportionately impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and related crises.
Think Wild is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and tax-deductible donations can be made at www.thinkwildco.org/donate. Think Wild’s mission is to inspire the High Desert community to care for and protect native wildlife through education, conservation, and rehabilitation. If you ever have any questions, Think Wild’s wildlife hotline, (541) 241-8680, is available seven days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.