As Stroud™ Water Research Center continues to engage thousands each year in boots-in-the-water education, a new fund now supports dedicated programming for an audience historically underserved in STEM and outdoor aquatic recreation: women and girls.
The Girls-in-STEM Education Programs Fund helps Stroud Center educators bring the importance of fresh water, outdoor aquatic recreation, and related careers to K-12 girls through hands-on, minds-on programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
This milestone began with Orvis Retail Downingtown Store 093, who filled the Stroud Center’s education laboratory with fly-tying vises in August 2019 for the first-ever STREAM Girls program in southeastern Pennsylvania. Eager to support more programs that get girls’ boots wet for STEM in streams, the outdoor retailer partnered with the Stroud Center in November 2019 for a month-long “Giveback Days” fundraiser that raised the first $900 to establish the fund. The dedicated funding increased from there through a significant donation from an education staff member’s family member, who recalls breaking through gender barriers in her own career and looks forward to the open pathways the fund will create for local girls.
The funds raised have since launched the fund for girls’ education initiatives at the Stroud Center, including future STREAM Girls programs, boots-in-the-water stream studies, on-the-water canoeing programs, Girl Scout education programs, stewardship action projects, girls’ angling outreach, and overnight Girls-in-STEM institutes.
And, importantly, the fund will help the Stroud Center reach girls whose families lack the financial means to participate in STEM-enrichment programs.
“It’s more important than ever that our next generation of leaders — including girls, non-binary youth, and minorities — see themselves in the narratives of STEM, the outdoors, and environmental stewardship,” says Mandy Nix, watershed education specialist, who is excited for the meaningful, inclusive programming the new fund will afford. “After all, our youth are authoring those narratives in the years to come. The future of fresh water begins with them, in even the tiniest moments of inquiry, discovery, and empowerment at a Girls-in-STEM program.”
Help the Girls-in-STEM Fund Grow!
Want to support the Girls-in-STEM Education Programs Fund? Make a donation that honors Girls-in-STEM education.