The Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary being rooted in the community by awarding the Boone County Nature School with a $100,000 grant, the largest single grant in the Foundation’s history. The Foundation made the announcement today at an event at the nature school.
The Foundation’s funds will be used for furniture and equipment for the classrooms and lab space at the nature school. A native Missouri dogwood tree was also dedicated today as part of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration.
“We’re celebrating 25 years of being rooted in the community, so it’s only appropriate that we celebrate the importance of placed-based education today,” said Cindy Mustard, president of the Foundation’s board of directors. “The Foundation is proud to be a part of the nature school’s mission of giving students a chance to explore and learn from nature right here in Boone County.”
“The very generous donation from the Columbia Public Schools Foundation will allow us to reach our dream of building and equipping a nature school that includes comprehensive programming to all Boone County students,” said Mike Szydlowski, CPS science coordinator. “This first of its kind partnership will immerse thousands of students a year in place-based learning and exploration. We cannot thank the Columbia Public Schools Foundation enough for all their support of innovative programs.”
The Boone County Nature School is a partnership between CPS and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The school will be built on 207 acres of property donated by Hank Waters and Vicki Russell. The school’s goal is to give students from all Boone County schools the opportunity to engage in place-based learning. Place-based learning is an educational approach that uses immersive, hands-on experiences to teach students about their local community.
The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is a private foundation established by community volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of public education through community giving. The Foundation has funded projects in every school, allocating more than $1.4 million to enhance education in the Columbia Public Schools. CPSF was founded in 1996 and has supported teachers and students for 25 years.