The Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation's (TRECF) mission to enhance educational programming, research, and the visitor's experience guides our grantmaking. We know that it is critical to raise awareness of the ecosystems of Presque Isle and Lake Erie, and address the challenges of climate change and other ecosystem threats to the Great Lakes through research and education. Our partners and grantees together, know the importance of preserving and respecting Erie's natural capital and our environment.
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) functions as the home for many local organizations; the Purple Martin Conservation Association, PA Sea Grant, Museum of Natural History at TREC, The Erie Bird Observatory, Presque Isle Audubon, the Regional Science Consortium and others. The TRECF provides funding for organizations that wish to participate in activities and programs that will educate the public in the fields of the environment, art, and conservationist sciences as well as research. Every year, multiple programs and organizations are allowed the opportunity to apply for grants in order to help fund their respective goals.
Since 2007, the TRECF has funded the annual IU5 Transportation Grant. The IU5, a condensed title for the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit, acts as a regional educational service agency. The three counties included within the geographical area of IU5 are Crawford, Erie, and Warren counties and comprises 17 school districts throughout the three counties. From 2007 to 2019, 26,642 students have participated in the TREC Experience, a STEAM experience.
The Foundation has provided over $130,000 in funding towards the IU5 Transportation Grant, which allows schools within the tri-county area to visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. At the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, students are given the opportunity to enjoy the exhibits, view educational films on the Big Green Screen, learn from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resource (DCNR) environmental educators, and participate in the hands-on labs of the Dr. Thomas Research Wing.
We also provide grants to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for initiatives at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and Presque Isle State Park. A sampling of the projects and programs the Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation has supported: