We are applying for this Awesome Gloucester grant to keep Kestrel running in the coming year. We have had an excellent year for programming; our highest number of students ever, with the most in depth contacts with them, and most diverse ages and programs in our history. However, it has been a very rough year for us fiscally. Due to a shortage in grants, business donations we had expected, and income from camp, we had to shut down our free nature center, and are struggling to make sure we can keep jobs for our naturalists and Program Director.
Our school program model is to take the kids through a science adventure that frames them as the scientists; exploring a place to collect unique information using a storytelling lens. For example, third graders this year all were matched with an animal, and then they assessed their local woodlands for capacity to support that animal. The students had to find "tree cavities" for chickadees, berries and mouse holes for foxes, and more. Gloucester High School assessed their campus for coyote presence, as they learned how a trophic pyramid works and why top predators are so much less numerous than prey animals. 7th graders worked with rare turtles all year, monitoring their growth so they could be re released into the wild when they were ready. Third graders, 7th graders, and high schoolers alike created presentations to share back that framed the information they collected as engaging stories.
Our camp programs draw campers into a story; they are explorers shipwrecked on an island and must establish survival villages, or they are beavers who must find food and build dams to thrive in their place.
These programs are all only possible if we can provide sustainable work to our staff. Your microgrant will go towards our end of summer fundraiser to keep Kestrel thriving.
Funded by Gloucester, MA (October 2018)