Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC, is one of the 30 institutions in the country to be awarded the “Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium” grants by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The $5,000 grant will fund the expansion of the new “Children’s Nature & Sensory Trail” that opened earlier this year. Supported through a special gift from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, these competitive grants, selected through a rigorous review by a panel of industry experts, are presented to accredited zoos and aquariums to encourage family nature play and conservation education.
“We were extremely pleased to receive the grant which will enable us to expand the Children’s Sensory and Nature Trail,” said Bob Jewell, President and CEO at Brookgreen Gardens. “The new Trail supports our mission to build a connection and a deep appreciation of the natural world.
“Accredited zoos and aquariums are one of the first places families experience nature together,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
Research has shown that free play immersed in an outdoor setting is fundamental to connecting children with the natural world around them. The value of these experiences is further reinforced when shared as a family unit. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund awards of $5,000 or $10,000 were made available to extend existing family-based nature play programming or to create new, innovative, and engaging programs.
A total of 30 grant recipients were selected to receive more than $200,000 in awards. They include (institution, project/program):
Adventure Aquarium, “Family Fun at the River”
Audubon Nature Institute (Audubon Zoo), “Audubon Celebrates the Wonder of Nature Play”
Brevard Zoo, “Family Nature Stations”
Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society, “Bronx Zoo Nature Club”
Buffalo Zoo, “Nature Play Begins in the Niagara Frontier”
The Butterfly House, “Nature T.R.E.K.”
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, “Sprouts and Seedlings Children’s Garden”
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, “Zoo Nature Club”
CuriOdyssey, “Stewards from All Settings”
Dallas Zoo, “Wild FUN (Families United in Nature)”
Detroit Zoological Society, “Zoo Tots Outside”
Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History, “Great Plains Zoo Nature Club for Families”
Greenville Zoo, “Get Outdoors Greenville”
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, “Kids’N’Snow”
Lee Richardson Zoo, “Developing Children ‘Naturally’”
The Living Desert, “Me and You at the Gardens”
Minnesota Zoo, “Hanifl Family Wild Woods Nature Play Program Pilot”
Mystic Aquarium, “Family Nature Club in Connecticut”
Peoria Zoo, “Peoria Zoo Natural Play Area”
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, “Families Untamed: Zoo Nature Club”
Prospect Park Zoo, “Nature Play Time!”
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, “Backpack to Nature”
Roger Williams Park Zoo, “Nature Play in “Our Big Backyard” and Beyond”
San Antonio Zoo, “San Antonio Family Nature Club”
Sedgwick County Zoo, “Sedgwick County Zoo’s Get into Nature Program”
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, “Home Learner Partnership Program”
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, “Nurturing Naturalists: Helping Families Take a Walk on the “Wild Side””
Western North Carolina Nature Center, “Nature Play at the WNC Nature Center”
Zoo Miami / Zoological Society of Florida, “ZooNature Family Adventures”
Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on US 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily.
For more information, visit our web site at (www.brookgreen.org) or call 843/235-6000.