Allegheny College Receives Grant to Help Promote Creek Connections Program

Allegheny College has received a $1,500 grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Watershed Mini Grant Program in support of the college’s Creek Connections program, an environmental education outreach program that brings hands-on environmental education to K-12 schools throughout western Pennsylvania. The grant will be used to purchase promotional materials for environmental and educational events that Creek Connections representatives attend each year.

“Having updated display materials will help us to catch people’s attention and stay relevant in a changing world,” said Wendy Kedzierski, Creek Connections program director. “We have a new name for our summer camp, Freshwater Academy, and we want to show that off as well as the wonderful work we continue to do getting students out to their local creeks. We’ve been doing this work for 25 years and counting.”

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation this year awarded $30,000 to 23 environmental organizations in the Commonwealth as part of their Watershed Mini Grant Program.

“It’s an absolute privilege to support these volunteer-based organizations as they complete meaningful conservation work in our communities,” said Don Houser, Dominion Energy’s state policy advisor. “Over the past 15 years, Dominion Energy has been inspired by the commitment showcased by the mini-grant recipients and congratulates this year’s organizations.”

Through the award-winning Creek Connections program, Allegheny College forges partnerships with regional K–12 schools to turn waterways in northwest Pennsylvania, western Ohio, western Michigan and the Pittsburgh area into outdoor environmental laboratories. Emphasizing a hands-on, inquiry-based investigation of local waterways, this project annually involves more than 40 secondary schools and the classes of 50 teachers.

Creek Connections in 2020 is celebrating its silver anniversary, having been founded in 1995 as the French Creek Environmental Education Project. It has educated well over 100,000 junior-high and senior-high students since its inception and remains true to its original goal — to facilitate authentic environmental research experiences while cultivating curiosity, appreciation and stewardship for the area’s rivers and streams.

Earlier this year, Laura Branby, the Pittsburgh-area educator for Creek Connections, received the 2020 Outstanding Environmental Educator Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators.