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Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 803-647-3969
Congaree National Park is one of 39 national parks selected to receive a 2014 America's Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Inspired by Ken Burns' critically acclaimed documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," this program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks.
The America's Best Idea grant awarded to Congaree National Park is supporting the park's Linking Ecology and Art of Floodplains (LEAF) program.A multi-part, outdoor, standards-based field trip for local third graders studying soils and habitats, LEAF turns STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into STEAM (with an added "A" for "Arts"). The program holistically engages students in the science, art, and stewardship of the floodplain landscape at Congaree.Over 1,300 students are scheduled to attend the program over several weeks this fall. LEAF is coordinated through a continuing partnership between the Columbia Museum of Art, the Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center at Congaree National Park and Richland School District One. Additional support is provided by the Geological Society of America and the National Park Service Geologic Resource Division.
"This funding will allow Congaree to continue our ongoing partnerships with the Columbia Museum of Art and Richland School District One to offer high-quality, standards based programs to local students. We are grateful for the support of the National Park Foundation and their corporate partners," said Superintendent Tracy Stakely.
Congaree National Park protects the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States, with approximately 21,710 acres (82 percent of the park's total acreage) as designated wilderness. The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, established the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. For more information about Congaree visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.