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PINE KNOLL SHORES —  Applications are now available to teachers for the 2021-22 Aquarium Scholars grant program. Aquarium Scholars offers funding to Title 1 schools to help remove barriers that may hinder educational opportunities for students with the aquariums.

Nearly 50,000 students from 77 North Carolina counties have benefited from nearly $320,000 in grants since the inception of Aquarium Scholars in 2018. Grants have funded nearly 300 field trips to the state’s aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher, Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. In addition, aquarium educators have presented more than 120 live animal programs in classrooms across the state.

More than $120,000 in mini grants will be awarded this year to help with trip costs, transportation fees and other needs.

“We realize that teachers may not yet know what this next year will bring, but we are hoping that they will still take a few minutes to apply for the grant,” Jay Barnes, executive director for the North Carolina Aquarium Society, stated in a press release. “The North Carolina Aquariums team wants to help by making it easier to access marine education and connect young people to nature and the ocean.”

Teachers receiving the grants may choose from a robust array of programs, uniquely designed for grade level and topic. Each includes a mix of science, technology, engineering and math activities, hands-on programs and field experiences at the aquariums and Jennette’s Pier. Students can dissect cephalopods, explore remote-operated vehicles and more.

Aquarium Scholars is a partnership between the aquariums, North Carolina public schools and the nonprofit North Carolina Aquarium Society. Through this partnership, private donors help fund access to STEM-based aquarium education programs for low-income students, with little or no cost to the schools or students.

Applications for the 2021-22 Aquarium Scholars may be submitted through Wednesday, Sept. 8. For more information or to contribute, visit ncaquariums.com/aquarium-scholars.

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