Patcong Creek Foundation’s “Giving Tuesday” Campaign Kicks Off

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The Patcong Creek Foundation is urging the public to help support its environmental and educational initiatives. (Courtesy Patcong Creek Foundation)

Patcong Creek Foundation in Somers Point is participating in the global day of giving, #GIINGTUESDAY this year.

The environmental group is using the day as a jumping off point for the foundation’s Capital Campaign for Education. The campaign will run until the winter luncheon on Jan. 19.

Turn a small fraction of your savings into big opportunities for local students by contributing to the foundation’s #GIINGTUESDAY campaign when you #choosetogive.

Patcong Creek Foundation’s education initiative is growing. With the creation of Seashore Science Center and focus on STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and math) more regional schools have partnered with the foundation for science fairs, mentoring and field trips on the bay.

Just a share of your savings from Black Friday or Cyber Monday will help to fund programs, according to the foundation’s Executive Director Lisa Bender.

Patcong Creek Foundation plays an important role in environmental education, Bender said.

“We know the children in our area see the water that surrounds them, and hopefully they take the time to observe wildlife as well,” Bender said. “Our goal is to introduce them more fully to our natural resources, provide new opportunities, spark interest in learning, and perhaps set students on a career path.”

Patcong Creek Foundation has funded field trips on the bay for Somers Point students for the past few years.

“The kids love it. It’s such a great experience, made even better by lesson plans we’ve created, that we have more schools that want to participate,” Bender said.

Each trip costs approximately $700.

“We need your help. We’d hate to have to turn schools away due to lack of funding, so your financial support really matters,” Bender emphasized.

In addition to special trips, the foundation has provided scholarships to students to attend the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Sedge Island Field Experience.

“It is a truly unique opportunity to learn about New Jersey’s marine life and conservation programs,” Bender said. “The two boys who went this year said it was the best camp they’ve ever attended, and as Boy Scouts, they are seasoned campers. We can continue creating this opportunity for South Jersey students with your support.”

With the establishment of Seashore Science Center in Somers Point, the foundation is positioned to reach thousands of students in Atlantic and Cape May counties, and beyond. Seashore Science Center will be a hands-on experience for children of all ages, Bender said.

The exhibits are being created with STEAM education as the focus.

“Bringing art and culture into the Seashore Science Center has been planned from the beginning as part of encouraging students to envision a future career, since not everyone is interested in hard science,” Bender said.

The foundation’s Education Committee is working on lesson plans to go with each of the exhibits for enrichment before, after or during visits to the center. They also want to do more than just have the lesson plans available. They want to provide resources, classroom demonstrations and school assemblies to make an even greater impact on the students, Bender said.

“The resources have price tags, so we need donations from caring individuals to purchase supplies that will enrich our student’s lives,” she noted.

The foundation’s goal is to raise $5,000.

Patcong Creek Foundation’s mission is to protect Patcong Creek and its watershed.

The creek is a natural resource in southern New Jersey important for recreation and wildlife, some threatened and endangered.

The foundation typically approaches protection of the creek through community outreach, cleanup events and education.

But another aspect of protecting Patcong Creek is through preserving the land around it to prevent future development.

To give now, visit www.PatcongCreekFoundation.org/givingtuesday.html