U.Va. gets grant for Eastern Shore
By Fariss Samarrai
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation has made a four-year,
$400,000 challenge grant to U.Va.s Environmental
Sciences department to establish an endowment for an educational
outreach program on Virginias Eastern Shore.
income from this endowment eventually will be used to hire an
educational specialist to work as liaison between Northampton
County schools and the U.Va. scientists who conduct coastal research
at the departments Long Term Ecological Research project.
Matching endowment funds, which must total an additional $400,000
over four years, also will be used to support the educator and
for support of the educational program.
are providing the grant because of a combination of the enthusiasm
of the project leaders and the innovative ways they merge education
and environmental research, said Walter R. Brown, president
of the New York-based Doherty Charitable Foundation. This
work closely matches the charitable interests of the foundation.
program, which will expand an existing U.Va. education initiative
on the Eastern Shore, is designed to help county students build
knowledge of their local environment through classroom studies
and field experience. The program brings students directly into
the research process.
are already providing instructional support and equipment to the
county schools, and with this generous grant we can expand and
improve the program, said Dave Smith, associate chair of
U.Va.s department of environmental sciences.
are working with the science teachers to develop educational activities
that fit into the school curriculum. This program is helping the
local students understand the natural environment in which they
live and helping to increase their environmental literacy.
department of environmental sciences studies barrier island geology
and coastal ecology on the Eastern Shore through the National
Science Foundation-funded long-term research project. It is one
of 24 such projects around the nation conducting long-term environmental
studies. U.Va. scientists are monitoring sea level rise, groundwater
flow rates, marsh growth and erosion, bay water chemistry, fish
and shellfish populations, vegetation and mammal and bird populations.
faculty members also teach a graduate course in environmental
sciences field methods for science teachers at Northampton High
School. The teachers are able to apply those credits toward a
graduate degree and are better prepared to instruct their students
in practical field science methods.
Doherty Charitable Foundation is a historical giver to the University,
particularly the Law
School, Smith said. They share a real interest
in the coastal environment and education. We give our thanks to
the Foundation for all they have done and continue to do for the
University, and we are aggressively pursuing matching funds.