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News Release: SBM Charitable Foundation Supports Outdoor Science Education for 1,500 Students at Connecticut Audubon’s Center at Glastonbury

Science in Nature teacher Beth Timpe shows students from Washington Elementary in Manchester how to measure air and soil temperature. Photo copyright Connecticut Audubon Society

Science in Nature teacher Beth Timpe shows students from Washington Elementary in Manchester how to measure air and soil temperature. Photo copyright Connecticut Audubon Society

June 6, 2014 –Fifteen hundred elementary school students from Manchester and East Hartford participated in hands-on curriculum-based conservation science instruction at Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Glastonbury this spring, thanks to a grant from the SBM Charitable Foundation of Manchester.

Through Connecticut Audubon’s flagship Science in Nature program, the students delved into conservation subjects such as weather and climate, rocks and soils, and the way plants and animals adapt to natural conditions.

Connecticut Audubon established Science in Nature in the 2012-13 school year, to help introduce Connecticut students to basic concepts in outdoor conservation science. It is based on Connecticut state science standards.

Since then, more than 3,500 students from Meriden, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Westport, Trumbull and now Manchester and East Hartford have participated in the one-of-a-kind program, at Connecticut Audubon’s centers at Fairfield and Glastonbury. The SBM grant that supported the participation of the Manchester and East Hartford schools was for $53,764.

“The SBM Charitable Foundation has been pleased to partner with the Connecticut Audubon Center at Glastonbury in providing funding for educational enrichment via the Science in Nature program for area school systems,” said Doreen H. Downham, executive director of the SBM Charitable Foundation. “We were initially excited about the outdoor science program because it is tied to the school curriculum; it has benefited both students and teachers.”

Led by Connecticut Audubon’s staff of teacher-naturalists, Science in Nature students spend a day in the field taking measurements and recording data, including temperature, humidity, wind speed, and the presence of invertebrates in wetlands.

Using the data they’ve collected, the students continue their analysis through classroom work.

“This generous grant from SBM is transformative for Science in Nature,” said Connecticut Audubon President Alex Brash. “SBM’s commitment to our program allowed us to significantly increase the number of students we’re reaching.”

Cynthia Bartholomew, the director of the Center at Glastonbury, said, “Our Center has been providing important and meaningful science, conservation and ecology lessons to thousands of school children in its 30-year history. This Science in Nature grant allowed us to provide instruction to even more kids through this carefully designed, curriculum based program.”

Connecticut Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and their habitats.

The SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc., perpetuating the vision of the former Savings Bank of Manchester, is committed to bettering the lives of those who live and work predominantly East of the River in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham Counties. Priorities established for the Foundation’s giving are Health, Human Services, Education, Housing, and the Arts. For more
information visit the foundation’s website at






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