Dime Bank Foundation grant will allow Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center to expand its hybrid and remote environmental education programs

Mystic, CT (September 8, 2020) — The Dime Bank Foundation recently awarded the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center a grant for data and communications equipment for in-person, online, and outside environmental education programs.

The $2,910 grant will help the Nature Center ensure seamless programming in classroom, hybrid, and remote applications.

Since last March, the coronavirus pandemic in Connecticut has severely restricted in-person gatherings. The Nature Center, which provides educational programming year-round to ages birth to adult, at first pivoted to fully online programming through Facebook Live, Zoom and YouTube. Since some restrictions were loosened in the summer, the Center successfully reintroduced in-person education, including nine weeks of Nature Camp for children.

For the fall and moving forward, the Center expects to run a hybrid of programming, combining online with in-person when possible. The Center works closely with many school districts in southeastern Connecticut to provide environmental education.

The Dime grant provides the Center with equipment, including a tablet, laptop, mobile stabilizer, microphone package, and routers to improve indoors Internet connectivity.

“Our primary goal is to utilize better quality equipment to help us meet the expanding needs of distance learning and provide excellent content for the schools with which we work,” said Kim Hargrave, Director of Education. “Having adapted quickly to changing circumstances, we strive to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating the needs and requirements of the coming school year.”

One plus that arose from all the online programming the Nature Center created since March is that it enormously expanded its audience. Thousands of viewers from across the country and around the world clicked on Facebook Live and YouTube programs on topics ranging from owls to newts to beavers.

“Our secondary goal is expanding a new revenue stream for DPNC through distance learning opportunities with organizations within and outside of our immediate community,” noted Executive Director Davnet Conway. “The new technology will combine nicely with a new Smartboard and flip chart acquired as a part of the grant from the Lord Foundation for the newly renovated educational gathering space in the Avery Farmhouse at Coogan Farm.”

About the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Since 1946, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic has provided visitors and community the opportunity to experience nature first hand in year-round programs for all ages and interests. Visitors can explore more than 10 miles of diverse trails and walk among 17th century stonewalls, woodlands, wetlands and meadows to enjoy views across the Mystic River and beyond connecting the main facility and Coogan Farm. At the DPNC’s main facility, guests can discover nature through meeting rehabilitated wildlife and natural history exhibits. The creation of the Coogan Farm in 2013 has added additional layers of education, history, and a Giving Garden that donates thousands of pounds of bio-nutrient rich produce to the food insecure of New London County each year. DPNC’s mission is to inspire an understanding of the natural world and ourselves as part of it – past, present and future.

About The Dime Bank Foundation

In 1998, Dime Bank established The Dime Bank Foundation, enabling the bank to support and give back to the communities it serves, providing funding for charitable, cultural, literary, scientific and educational non-profit organizations.