The Society for Science has announced awarding a $5,000 STEM Action Grant to Scottsdale-based community organization, National Forest Foundation for the Project Green Drone AZ project.
National Forest Foundation will receive $5,000 for Project Green Drone AZ, according to a press release, to provide access to STEM opportunities for underserved middle and high school students in metro Phoenix, offering cutting-edge technologies — such as Geographic Information Systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones — used in forest conservation.
The organization’s educational efforts will also help protect and collect data related to a vital local source of fresh water through the Lower Salt River Restoration Project on the Mesa district of the Tonto National Forest, with results and techniques from the project to inform further conservation initiatives, the release said.
The society granted a total $165,000 in microgrants this year to 38 organizations through its STEM Action Grant program, working to improve outcomes for groups historically left behind in STEM education and careers, including Black and Latinx people, “women and gender-expansive persons, the hearing and visually impaired as well as low-income students,” noted the release.
The Society for Science STEM Action Grant will support the Green Drone AZ project’s efforts to equip students with the skills and experience necessary to use technology to solve real-world environmental issues, according to the release.
From middle to high school and graduate levels of education, the project will bridge the gap between secondary schooling, university-level education and the professional world, the release said, adding students interact with various STEM and conservation professionals in the program.
The Society for Science --- national nonprofit organization for expanding scientific literacy, effective STEM education and scientific research --- recognizes community organizations across the U.S. through its STEM Action Grant program. Recipients are from 21 different states, with each group serving multiple states outside of its base; collectively, the class of grantees serves the entire nation.
An array of organizations supported this year include music, sports and nature to attract students to science and engineering fields via hands-on activities, noted the release.
“If the United States is going to stand as a world leader in science and technology and keep pace in innovation with the rest of the world, we must prioritize investing in grassroots organizations that are doing the hard work on the ground, to engage and educate science learners of all backgrounds. What’s most inspiring to me about these organizations is that they are identifying growth areas in their local communities and enacting real change,” said Maya Ajmera, President/CEO of the Society for Science and Publisher of Science News, in a prepared statement.
“At a time when budgets are tight, these community-driven organizations need our support now. We are thrilled to invest in these 38 organizations, all with a strong record and commitment to inclusive STEM education. At the Society for Science, we live by the principle that talent is everywhere. This is why we are unremittingly steadfast – through all of our outreach and equity programs – in nurturing, attracting and promoting talent across diverse populations in our country and beyond.”
This year’s class of 38 organizations is the largest in the history of the STEM Action Grant program, with the largest applicant pool of the program to date. Eleven of the organizations on this year’s list received support through the program previously. Since 2016, the program has given $410,000 total to 64 organizations, the release noted.
Society for Science recognizes the achievement of young scientists in independent research and public engagement in science. Established in 1921, the society is a nonprofit with a vision to promote understanding and appreciation of science and its vital role in human advancement, according to the release.
Learn more: societyforscience.org.