Conservancy of Southwest Florida receives contribution from AT&T to fund new STEM Institute

Conservancy of Southwest Florida receives contribution from AT&T to fund new STEM Institute
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Jan. 19, 2013 - PRLog -- The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has received a contribution from AT&T in the amount of $107,500 to launch the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Institute at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The check was presented by AT&T Regional Director Matt Mucci to Conservancy President and CEO Andrew McElwaine during the Conservancy Annual Meeting on January 16 at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts.  

The contribution will provide funding for curriculum development, educational field trips and computer technology at the STEM Institute at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. In partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University’s Whitaker Center for STEM Education and the Collier County School District, the STEM Institute will host specialized field trips for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, adding to their existing school program options. Students will visit the Ferguson Learning Laboratory at the Conservancy where they will conduct real-world research and make predictions based on research, collect their own data, conduct experiments and create presentations on their conclusions.

“The Conservancy provides a real-world opportunity for students to better understand the scientific method and participate in STEM activities,” said Conservancy Education Manager, David Webb. “Not only does the Ferguson Learning Lab provide the latest scientific technology, but our Nature Center serves as an outdoor lab as well. For example, students can set up monitoring stations in the Shotwell-Wavering Filter Marsh, collect water samples and measure how effectively the marsh reduces pollution. With the data they collect, they can construct graphs and create presentations that demonstrate independent study and enhance their understanding of science, technology, engineering and math.  After all, the Filter Marsh is a success story in applying these areas to engineer a habitat that functions as a living machine.”

The STEM Institute at the Conservancy is scheduled to launch in Fall 2013. In addition to AT&T’s support, the Conservancy seeks additional community partners to help sustain the program.

“We are grateful to AT&T for their donation which will help us to develop much-needed science and technology programs that will greatly enhance STEM education for students in Southwest Florida,” said Rob Moher, vice president of development and marketing at the Conservancy. “In addition, the STEM Institute offers a unique way for companies with an interest in the environment and STEM to become involved by pairing them with local middle and high schools where they will have the greatest impact. The STEM Institute is a great opportunity to enhance the mission of the Conservancy by educating and inspiring young people to better understand and protect the natural wonders of our region.”

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida began in 1964 when community leaders came together to defeat a proposed “Road to Nowhere” and spearheaded the acquisition and protection of Rookery Bay. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region with a mission to protect the region’s water, land and wildlife.  This is accomplished through the combined efforts of environmental education, science and research, policy and advocacy and wildlife rehabilitation. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic treats more than 2,400 injured, sick and orphaned animals each year and releases about half of them back into their native habitats. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Nature Center is located in Naples, FLat 1450 Merrihue Dr., off Goodlette-Frank Road at 14th Avenue North. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, call 239-262-0304 or visit

About Philanthropy at AT&T:

AT&T Inc.  is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2011, more than $115 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
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