The Nature Reach program was awarded a 10,ooo dollar grant from Evergy in order to start a new kindergarten program. Nature Reach operates through Pitt State’s Biology department in order to provide environmental education, and studies wildlife in the area using Pitt State’s nature reserve.
“We’re an educational outreach program in the biology department. My job is to basically go to schools and bring live animals to talk about them, whether it be reptiles, or raptors or environmental issues, and that kind of thing,” Deila Lister said, who is the director of Nature Reach.
Evergy, which was formerly known as Kansas City Power and Light and Westar, gave the 10,000 dollar grant to Nature Reach in December. Evergy provides electrical utilities to the Pittsburg area.
“At Evergy, we look for different opportunities to support nonprofits and our community,” Gina Penzig, the Manager of External Communications at Evergy said. “When we learned about Nature Reach and they requested a grant from us, we were really pleased with the program and we were happy to be able to provide support.”
Nature Reach applied for the grant and Evergy chose Nature Reach to receive the grant to start up the new program.
“We were glad to support a program that gives kids a chance to have good hands on activities and educational experiences,” Penzig said. “We saw it as a really successful program that would benefit from the financial reward.”
Nature Reach’s new program will be a day camp for kindergarten students, where they can go to the Pitt State Nature Reserve.
“We’re just really glad that Evergy is willing to help us out and have an interest in our programs, and within the university as well,” Lister said.
Nature Reach is mostly funded through grants and donations. “It’s great, because we are not fully financially supported by the university so any money that we get to help cover the cost of taking care of our animals is great,” Lister said.
Nature Reach currently has programs in place for pre-k and first through third graders, but no program for kindergartners.
“We’re going to see if we can try to get some kids to come to a day camp for kindergarteners,” Delia Lister, said. “We’re going to give them something to do in the summertime so they can keep that connection to nature reach for several years.”
Nature Reach sent out a survey to parents to discover they wanted a kindergarten program.
“We have a pre-k reading program, we have a day camp that’s 1st-3rd grade, that left out the kindergarten,” Lister said.
The program will begin in the summer.
“We hope we can continue to instill a love of nature and animals, we want kids to have that appreciation for the environment and the longer they can stay with us, and be excited about all of that, and everything related to nature, I think that will ultimately help them become better, more environmentally friendly citizens,” Lister said.