Kids in the Garden Program Wins Burroughs Wellcome Grant

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Kids in the Garden visit natural, protected area in Pembroke, NC
Kids in the Garden visit natural, protected area in Pembroke, NC

The Burroughs Wellcome Foundation just announced that The Kids in the Garden (KIG) program will be awarded one of its STEM Enrichment grants to support educational opportunities, outside the classroom, for the coming three years.  This is a remarkable feat for the KIG program, particularly as only 13 programs from an applicant pool of 89 STEM education programs received Burroughs Wellcome funding.  Moreover, this is the second Burroughs Wellcome grant for the KIG program.  For the past three years, the KIG program has mentored over 75 middle and high school students from Bladen, Scotland, Cumberland, Richmond, and Robeson Counties in environmental-based education, on both the UNC Pembroke campus and beyond.  Funding for the next three years totals just over $178,000. 

The 2018 KIG grant proposal (formally entitled, "The Kids in the Garden: Bees and Pollen Studies")  was spearheaded by UNCP PIs Drs. Rita Hagevik (Biology), Martin Farley (Geology and Geography), Kaitlin Campbell (Biology), and Jeffrey Warren (College of Health Sciences, School Counseling). Others involved in the program are Anastasia Oxendine (project manager, UNCP), Dr. Grant Pilkay (Fayetteville Technical Community College), and Krissy Smith (Robeson Community College).

The main educational goals of the Kids in the Garden program are to nurture middle and high school students’ interest, enthusiasm and identity in the sciences, and to increase their knowledge and career interest in the fields of biology, agriculture, biotechnology, and engineering. The main scientific goal is to study native bees, honeybees, honey and pollen, bee health, beekeeping, and to use biosensors and tracking at the UNCP Campus Garden & Apiary and in the surrounding region. Twenty-five middle and high school students each year will attend the summer bee camp at UNCP during the last two weeks in June, and 28 students will participate during the academic year program on Saturday mornings at UNCP, along with four faculty, one master teacher, and undergraduate college students engaging in eight science research projects.

The KIG Spring (2019) Academic Program begins on January 19th and runs through March 30th on Saturday mornings, from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM at UNCP in the Oxendine Science Building. The program is for 6-12th grade students.  For additional information or an application, contact Anastasia Oxendine at  anastasia.oxendine@robeson.k12.nc.us or Dr. Rita Hagevik at rita.hagevik@uncp.edu (include "KIG" in the subject line).

The Bee Camp for summer 2019 will be the last two weeks in June, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM at UNCP, and there is no cost to students.