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Buhl Foundation funds GECKO program for a second year

5/21/2012 —


Penn State New Kensington has received funding from the Buhl Foundation to again support a STEM initiative that sends science and education majors into local classrooms.

The $20,000 award will help the campus to continue the GECKO program. The acronym GECKO stands for “Green Environmental Challenge for Kids Outreach.” The Buhl Foundation has supported the program previously.

In the program, freshman and sophomore education and science majors share lessons with local students from schools in Allegheny, Armstrong and Westmoreland counties. One of GECKO’s aims is to foster an ongoing interest in math and science that may inspire students to pursue STEM-related education and professions.

Participants have led hands-on demonstrations in 75 classrooms ranging from kindergarten to the eighth grade. The age-appropriate demonstrations that take place during science period meet state science education standards and offer lessons on green topics like recycling, alternative energy and conservation.

GECKO program coordinator Jana Welch said that the Buhl Foundation recognized a need for science education and environmental awareness in school. The GECKO program responded to that need.

The Pittsburgh-based Buhl Foundation focuses its philanthropic efforts on education, youth development, human services and economic and community development. The foundation was founded in 1927 by Henry Buhl, Jr. as a memorial to his wife, Louise. The Buhl Foundation’s mission is to create community legacies by leveraging its resources to encourage people and organizations to dream, to innovate and to take action.

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