WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski along with Congressman John Delaney (all D-Md.) today announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a $25,000 federal grant to the Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation (EHC) to develop, design and build a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Outdoor Learning Pavilion which will be used as an educational resource for students in Allegany County Public Schools and other visitors.
“This federal investment in our students’ future is good news for Western Maryland and an example what we should be doing across the country. For America to remain a world leader, we need to encourage the future innovators and problem solvers,” said Senator Cardin. “A strong STEM education opens doors to good quality jobs and the know how to move our economy forward. Evergreen Heritage Center is just one of many groups making Western Maryland a hub for STEM education and the high-tech jobs of tomorrow.”
“Education is the opportunity ladder of this nation,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Students with STEM backgrounds are in demand today, so they can fill the jobs of tomorrow. Every student deserves a chance to excel in those fields. This federal funding will help show students in Allegany County that STEM isn’t just fun – it’s the key to a good job and a promising future.”
“This Appalachian Regional Commission grant supporting STEM education in Allegany County is good news for our students and future leaders and good news for Western Maryland,” Congressman Delaney said. “There’s never been a higher correlation between the quality of your education and the quality of your job, which is why federal support for local programs for local students is so essential.”
The Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation and its partners will use these federal funds to create a STEM Outdoor Learning Pavilion at EHC to provide an outdoor classroom for STEM education and training for children and adults. Frostburg State University Recreation and Parks students will design the Pavilion, and Allegany College of Maryland forest technology students will mill the lumber and assemble it. Frostburg State University Ethnobotany students will create educational materials on sustainability and environmental best practices which will be used during Allegany County Public School student field trips. Students will receive hands-on learning about the Pavilion’s use of composting, water conservation, alternative energy solutions and the benefits of using locally harvested and milled lumber.
The Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation was formed in 2008 to utilize the 130-acre historical Evergreen estate in Allegany County to provide experiential and environmental learning opportunities. The Foundation and its partners are dedicated to education, conservation and preservation. For more information, visit www.evergreenheritagecenter.org.
The ARC is a key partner in maximizing federal, state and local resources to promote economic development in Western Maryland and throughout the region. In addition to ARC funds, local sources provided $52,378 towards the total funding of the project. Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation will add six jobs as a result of this project.
Senators Mikulski and Cardin have been leading supporters of the ARC Commission in the U.S. Senate. In recognition of his support of regional economic development and the ARC, Senator Cardin received the 2012 Congressional Award from the Development District Association of Appalachia.