Center for Urban Ecology Receives $100,000 Grant
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology received a $100,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust on March 26 to expand its environmental outreach programs.
"We're excited to have this opportunity to jump-start our Center for Urban Ecology," said Rebecca Dolan, director of Butler's Friesner Herbarium. "This money is going to allow us to start some of the important aspects of what we hope to do. One of the focuses of the Pulliam Trust is protecting animals and nature. Our goal is to learn more about plants and animals in an urban setting and preserving them."
“Throughout her life, Nina was particularly interested in wildlife, their habitats and educational programs that helped to assure the preservation of both,” said Carol Peden Schilling, a trustee for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and niece of the late Nina Pulliam.“She would have been thrilled to support Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology and their programs that are creating environmental stewards for generations to come.”
The center opened Sept. 24, 2007, with the goal of becoming a centralized location for research that explores Indianapolis' plants, waterways and wildlife. The Pulliam Trust grant will be used to:
--Place and pay Butler student interns with local not-for-profit groups involved in conservation efforts. Those organizations include Indy Parks, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Indianapolis Museum of Art's new art and nature park, Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Central Indiana Land Trust and the Mud Creek Conservancy. This will give local groups an extra worker they otherwise might not be able to afford and enable Butler students to gain hands-on field experience.
--Hire a project manager to establish the internships and monitor the interns.
--Offer a new course in Butler's Biology Department, Research and Analysis in Biological Sciences. The class, to begin in the fall, will help prepare students for different kinds of internship and research experiences and make sure they have the right preparation to step from the academic to real-world applications.
--Expand environmental education at the new Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy. The Center for Urban Ecology will be offering hands-on field experience for students and teachers, such as gathering information on flora and fauna for national databases. "We monitor the White River for River Watch, a statewide program, and we'd like to train Shortridge faculty and students to do water-quality sampling in Fall Creek to add more data to the state database," Dolan said.
"This grant is going to help a lot," Dolan added. "What my colleagues and I have been doing so far in the Center for Urban Ecology has been done in addition to our regular jobs. To really get our program off the ground, having a dedicated staff person involved full-time working with the center is going to help us a lot. We feel this is an exciting concept and we're glad the Pulliam Trust is interested in backing us."
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