PCA Receives National Award to Fund STEM Initiative on Bellamy River

Portsmouth Christian Academy has received a national grant award from The Christian Education Charitable Trust (CECT), a division of the Tennessee-based Maclellan Foundation, to fund an Environmental Stewardship Pilot Project. Through this $75,000 grant, PCA will make use of its unique location on the Bellamy River to launch an innovative STEM program for monitoring the health of the waterfront.

“We are so honored to be selected by the CECT for this award and excited for what this means for our students. Because of this grant, PCA will be able to provide opportunities for students to engage in active STEM research and further unlock their potential as caretakers of our natural resources,” said Dr. John Engstrom, Head of School.

PCA’s Environmental Stewardship Pilot Project has two main components:

1. TRACKING OF NEGATIVE METRICS. Elevated nitrogen concentrations are highly detrimental to the Great Bay and its associated estuary. Testing of nitrogen and other levels will occur through the design, development, and deployment of monitoring stations established along the riverfront and tracked by students.

2. INTRODUCTION OF RESTORATIVE MEASURES. The oyster is a unique species which serves as a natural filtration system and monitor of coastal environmental health. PCA faculty and students will work together with partnering agencies to reintroduce healthy oyster beds into the Bellamy River and design a system for monitoring the health of the oyster population.

This project will include the completion of PCA’s dock and provide hands-on learning opportunities for PCA students to contribute in a meaningful way to active research at the University level. PCA looks forward to playing an active role in sustainable state level partnerships that support ongoing collaboration of environmental stewardship projects.

Contact Kelly Belmonte, Director of Advancement, with any questions: 603-742-3617