May 11, 2012 — The Buhl Foundation has awarded a grant of $30,000 to Allegheny College in support of the Pittsburgh operations of Creek Connections, a partnership between Allegheny College’s natural science division and elementary, middle and high schools.
Founded in 1995, the project has grown from five to more than 50 participating teachers at more than 40 schools, most of which are located in western Pennsylvania. In Creek Connections, K-12 students use neighborhood streams as outdoor laboratories for ongoing water quality investigations. The program extends the reach of the schools’ science curricula and provides authentic research experiences for students as well as assistance and materials that otherwise would not be available to teachers.
“We are pleased to support Allegheny College’s excellent outreach efforts in the Pittsburgh area,” said Frederick Thieman, president of the Buhl Foundation. “Providing a strong foundation in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—is increasingly important, and Creek Connections does just that for K-12 students in our region.”
Creek Connections has partnered with Pittsburgh-area schools since 1998. A full-time field educator, Laura Branby, provides the majority of on-site and on-line support for school participants, organizes the annual student research symposium, represents Creek Connections in environmental outreach events and serves as liaison to collaborators such as Fern Hollow Nature Center, RiverQuest and the numerous environmental professionals who assist with symposia and Creek Camps.
Creek Connections has been recognized for its contribution to environmental education and environmental stewardship through numerous regional, state and national awards. The program is directed by Jim Palmer, associate professor of environmental science and biology at Allegheny College, and managed by Wendy Kedzierski.
The Buhl Foundation, the first multi-purpose foundation in Pittsburgh, was founded by Henry Buhl, Jr. who built his fortune in the retail industry and created the foundation as a memorial to his wife, Louise C. Buhl. The mission of the Buhl Foundation is to create community legacies by leveraging its resources to encourage people and organizations to dream, to innovate and to take action.