Toyota U.S.A. Foundation drives success for Conservancy STEM education programs

conservancy logoThe Toyota U.S.A. Foundation has awarded the Conservancy of Southwest Florida with a grant for $175,000 to fund STEM education programs at the Conservancy. Toyota supports the Conservancy in teaching children to be tomorrow’s conservationists by providing funding for hands-on activities in indoor and outdoor laboratories.

The STEM Institute at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida encompasses all of the Conservancy’s Learning Adventures programs (K-12 field trips and outreach programs), including the new STEM Smart program designed for high school students. The STEM Institute programs connect real-world research experiences with classroom curriculum. Programs are inquiry-based, teaching critical thinking skills, and consist of collaborative and small group work, which has proven most affective in teaching STEM. In addition, the STEM Institute hosts annual summer teacher workshops at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Conservancy is one of 23 organizations in the U.S. to receive a Toyota U.S.A. Foundation grants. The grants support innovative K-12 programs, which focus on science, technology, environmental science and math and serve diverse communities across all 50 states.

“At Toyota, we believe that when we provide young people with exciting opportunities in STEM we can help cultivate the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists – and that benefits all of us,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota U.S.A. Foundation president. “This year’s grant recipients are among the most innovative education programs in the country.  We are inspired by their work and look forward to seeing what their students will accomplish, both this school year and beyond.”

“Thanks to the generosity of Toyota and other organizations that support environmental education, students can utilize our 21-acre campus and laboratories to gain real-world experiences that get them excited about science and our environment,” said Rob Moher, Conservancy president and CEO.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida began more than 50 years ago when community leaders came together to defeat a proposed “Road to Nowhere” and spearheaded the acquisition and protection of Rookery Bay. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region, including Glades, Hendry, Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, with a mission to protect the region’s water, land and wildlife. Conservancy of Southwest Florida and its Nature Center are located in Naples, Fla. at 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, call 239-262-0304 or visit


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