A $15,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will help bring environmental education and outdoor experiences to more than 2,500 youth and adults in the next year. The grant was awarded to the Eno River Association, which will use the funds to connect people with the Eno through its education and outreach programs.

Seeking to excite participants in protecting the Eno River, the Association provides hundreds of conservation, science, and history programs through field trips, outreach to schools & community groups, education at community events, program support to Parks within the watershed, Sunday afternoon guided hikes, and other programs open to the public at little or no charge.

A key focus of the award is supporting the Association’s youth education programs which support 1,100 youth annually. iWalk the Eno Science & Nature Day Camp and Eno River Field Station, the Association’s unique summer STEM programs serve youth age 8-15 with in-depth science and nature experiences. These programs focus on hands-on, feet-wet, experiential learning with the Eno River serving as the classroom, laboratory, and research station.

Funding from Duke Energy will provide scholarships for students to attend the camps at low or no cost. Durham and Orange counties have higher-than-average rates of low income and minority populations, and the Association has responded by removing barriers to participation for these populations.

“We have a lot of smart, enthusiastic kids who want to attend summer camp or explore careers in STEM, but not all families can afford that experience. Thanks to funders who care like Duke Energy, we can bring these kids to the River, and excite them about our wild places. We are building future conservationists.”

Dave Cook, education & outreach coordinator

With the help of its partners, the Association provides scholarships for all students, additional funding for free- and reduced-lunch participants, and resources in Spanish and English. All other youth education programs and field trips are provided to schools and community groups at no charge, and the Association prioritizes the 18 Title One public schools in its service area. Additional funding is provided by the Burroughs Wellcome Student Science Enrichment Program and donations from Association members.

“Science education and environmental stewardship are two critical focus areas for Duke Energy. The Eno River Association’s programs are proven to support achievement and enthusiasm for science, and we’re happy to make this opportunity available to kids from diverse backgrounds across the Eno watershed.”

Duke Energy’s Indira Everett, district manager for government & community relations in Durham and Orange counties

iWalk the Eno runs June 16-19 and 22-26 for youth 8-12 and Eno River Field Station runs July 27-31 for teens 12-15 with a strong interest in science or natural resource conservation. The Eno River Association continues to monitor health guidelines and school schedules, and refunds will be available should the camps be cancelled. More information and updates will be shared via the Association website.

Duke Energy has reaffirmed their commitment to their nonprofit partners and has promised flexibility in response to COVID-19 impacts.

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