PTA awards major grant to Blackstone Valley Explorer

PTA awards major grant to Blackstone Valley Explorer

Ronald Beaupre, president of the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance, third from the left, presents a check to Paul Palange, director of fund development at the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, for the organization’s environmental education fund. The fund defrays expenses for educational tours of the Blackstone River on the Explorer riverboat. Others accepting the check are Marina Flannery, BVTC director of environmental education, and Robert Dombrowski, a captain for the Explorer.

PAWTUCKET – Thanks to a $2,700 donation from the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance, more local schoolchildren will be able to take educational tours of the Blackstone River on the Explorer riverboat.

Operated by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council the educational vessel is part of a program to teach children about a precious resource in their backyards and the historical significance of the Blackstone River and Blackstone Valley. During the tour, the students conduct experiments and activities related to the river.

“The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is very grateful for the donation from the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance,” said Paul Palange, director of fund development for the BVTC. “The contribution will allow us to show more children the beauty of the valley and teach them about the importance of protecting and improving our natural resources.”

PTA President Ronald Beaupre said providing outside, hands-on experiences gives local students an up-close, firsthand opportunity to put their classroom learning into context in the real world.

“The (PTA) wants schoolchildren from all over Pawtucket to experience these types of learning excursions in order to have a better grasp of the knowledge in the classroom and also in their neighborhoods,” he said.

The River Classroom was first established in 1993 and has carried more than 30,000 students over the years. The financial challenges for schools to get buses and the fees for the Explorer have turned some local schools away because they can’t afford it. That is why this donation is so important, say BVTC representatives.

Any other organizations interested in making a similar contribution should contact the BVTC at 401-724-2200.