THE GOSHEN NEWS
Elkhart County Museum Association has been awarded a $75,000 challenge grant from the Elkhart County Community Foundation to fund a new countywide field trip initiative.
Due to the reduction in school funding for student field trips, the timing of this grant award fills an immediate need, museum officials said.
Bill Firstenberger, president of the Elkhart County Museum Association, said, “Students are missing out on what it means to be from Elkhart County, and the museums are losing what was once a vital source of revenue from annual school field trips. This program kills two birds with one stone. ”
The ECMA Field Trip Initiative closely aligns with the association’s goal of providing experiences that help to give lessons in the classroom a real life application through a sense of aesthetic beauty, historic meaning and scientific purpose.
The grant will provide two free field trips to 9,000 students in third through fifth grades in all Elkhart County public, private and home schools.
The program will cover the cost of admission to the eligible museums and interpretive sites as well as transportation stipends to the schools.
If the challenge grant is fully matched, 18,000 student field trip experiences will be available in the 2013-2014 school year.
School administrators and teachers will soon be able to book field trips via an automated web site.
This grant will provide both revenue for local attractions and the opportunity for students to learn about their home community and what makes Elkhart County unique, museum officials said.