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2,021 Children to Visit Millbrook Marsh Nature Center through Spring 2016 'Connections' Prog

(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) ClearWater Conservancy awarded $14,743 in funding through its “Connections” program for 2,021 students attending public and private schools in central Pennsylvania

to take part in field trips this spring to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in State College.

ClearWater’s long-standing “Students-Communities-Streams-Connections” program pays for transportation and admission to the nature center. At Millbrook Marsh, the children will learn about their local natural environment through interactive and hands-on outdoor activities and experiments. In all, the program has sponsored 22,479 student visits since 2000.

“Through experiential learning students are able to apply what they learn in the classroom to what they discover at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Our programs are designed with hands-on opportunities for children to use their senses to explore the marsh; to feel the mud squish between their fingers, catch macroinvertebrates out of the stream, learn about stream quality, and discover the wonderful variety of plants and animals that inhabit wetland ecosystems,” said Melissa Freed, Nature Center Supervisor at Millbrook Marsh. “Explorations are led by trained naturalists who provide interpretation for programs that meet the Pennsylvania State Standards for Environment and Ecology.”

Elementary and middle school students and their teachers received word about their grant awards in March.

“The Connections field trips are an important part of ClearWater’s education mission. By getting youngsters out in a natural area with trained naturalists, we hope to foster a love of nature and the outdoors they can benefit from throughout their lives,” said ClearWater Executive Director Deb Nardone.

The 2016 Connections program is made possible with donations from Wal-Mart Foundation, State of the Art, Inc., Harris Township Lions Club and the many donors who attended ClearWater’s For the Love of Art & Chocolate fundraising event this year.

Spring 2016 funding recipients include:

Bellefonte Area School District

  • Bellefonte Elementary; teacher Staci Chapman; 65 kindergarten students at a cost of $855.00

  • Bellefonte Elementaries (Marion-Walker, Bellefonte, Benner, Pleasant Gap) teacher Pam Vaiana; 191 fourth-grade students at a cost of $2,537.00

Bald Eagle Area School District

  • -Port Matilda Elementary; teacher Shawnee Morgan; 20 first-grade students at a cost of $310.00

Penns Valley Area School District

  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Ang Homan; 119 fourth-grade students at a cost of $1,100.00

  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg Elementaries; teacher Vickie Fultz; 94 first-grade students at a cost of $1,000.00

  • Penn’s Valley High School; teacher Jessica Martin; 101 seventh-grade students at a cost of $1,319.00

Philipsburg Osceola Area School District

  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Denise Putt, 45 second-grade students at a cost of $495.00

  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Kerry Whitman, 45 second-grade students at a cost of $495.00

State College Area School District

  • State College Area Elementaries; teacher Deirdre Bauer; 1,050 kindergarten, first and second-grade students at a cost of $3,675.00

Private Schools

  • Cen-Clear Child Services, Inc.; teacher Christal Hayward; 251 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $2,407.00.

  • KinderCare Learning Center; teacher Angela Hardin; 24 K through 1stgrade students at a cost of $338.00.

  • State College Friends School; teacher Ellen Grunenwald; 16 kindergarten and first-grade students at a cost of $212.00.

Millbrook Marsh Nature Center offers a variety of programs, events, and activities to the community, in addition to leading school groups through educational field trips. Learn more at

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