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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2018 2 years ago

Oakland Nature Preserve in need of donations

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The Oakland Nature Preserve needs help matching a $15,000 grant for its environmental education programs.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

The Oakland Nature Preserve has been awarded a Challenge Match Grant for its educational programs and needs help raising funds to match it.

“We are very pleased that we have the opportunity by an anonymous foundation to have a $15,000 matching grant,” Oakland Nature Preserve Managing Director Jennifer Hunt said. “We have approximately two more months to finish gaining that $15,000 that all goes toward education programs.”

The money would help cover costs associated with the preserve’s many environmental education programs throughout the 2018 to 2019 school year and pay for items such as supplies and instructors’ salaries. The funding also allows the preserve to offer many of its educational programs for free.

“Those grants are extremely important, because not many grants will cover things like salaries, and this one will cover our instructors for us,” Hunt said. “If we can offer a program for free, I am happy to do so.”

Hunt said the Oakland Nature Preserve offers a wide variety of educational programs throughout the year — all of which would benefit from the grant.

“These funds allow us to expand our programs like our science Saturdays,” Hunt said. “During the school year, we have school groups that come out on a regular basis. … We have our after-school science club that kicks off in the fall — there’s a fall and a spring season. We’re hoping to have our junior naturalist program again as well.”

Grant funding also helps pay for new programs at the preserve. This summer is the first time the preserve is offering a Summertime Story Time program for preschool children for free. 

“We are hoping — this year — to add homeschool family workshops, so that our local homeschool families and groups can have some real hands-on science that they can do as well that they may not be able to do at home without the equipment,” Hunt said.

Hunt added the preserve already has raised about one-third of the funds it needs and has until Aug. 31 to raise the rest. Donations made to the Oakland Nature Preserve are matched dollar for dollar. 

“We have been sending out mailings, emails to all of our former supporters, we have received volunteer grant money from Disney come in, some other companies … have sent funds as well,” she said.

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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