[image-4]Yesterday the Avian Conservation Center, an educational, conservation, and scientific organization in Charleston, received a $10,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation — the nonprofit arm of company pushing to purchase SCANA. The money will fund the Lowcountry Environmental Access Program, which combines Avian Conservation Center’s objectives to foster awareness, concern, and protection for South Carolina’s natural resources.

The Lowcountry Environmental Access Program will use the critical insight gained from the professional medical treatment of injured birds in crafting a multi-disciplinary, STEAM-based education curriculum.

[image-1] In 2016 I wrote about The Avian Conservation Center, home of the Center for Birds of Prey. The staff at the Center were quick to point out that birds of prey — including bald eagles — are hurt, most often, by the impact humans have on the birds’ habitats. The center’s director of education, Stephen Schabel, told me that people need to know how to protect birds of prey. “We have to make them aware. We have to give them the info. It’s human nature to not do anything until you have to.”

In addition to the Lowcountry Environmental Access Program’s STEAM-based education, the program will also support a midwinter Bald Eagle survey to be conducted in 2019; the annual count is coordinated nationally by the US Army Corps of Engineers as a tool in monitoring the recovery of bald eagle populations.

The program will impact the lives of an estimated 40,000 students across the state, give more than 800 injured birds a chance at freedom, and contribute vital data on the health of bald eagle populations. 

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