Grants Boost Erie Canal Education, Preservation, and Tourism

September 27, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2012 at 5:17 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Grants Boost Erie Canal Education, Preservation, and Tourism

September 27, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2012 at 5:17 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, in partnership with the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, awarded $43,700 in grants to assist organizations with canal-related education, preservation, and tourism projects.

Seven organizations from Albany to Buffalo received funding, including one in Western New York: The Buffalo Zoo, Albany Institute of History and Art, Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, Erie Canal Museum, New York Folklore Society, Schenectady Museum & Suits–Bueche Planetarium, and The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York/WCNY.

“Distributing grants is critical to helping organizations develop new programs or advance their missions, especially in tight economic times,” Judy Schmidt Dean, Commission Chair, said in a news release. “We are thrilled to be able to fund these worthy projects in 2012.”

“We are extremely proud to be named one of the recipients of these grants,” Dr. Donna M. Fernandes, Buffalo Zoo President/CEO said in a news release. “Our goal with the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm is to depict life on a small family farm located along the Erie Canal in the 1850s. Support from the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, and our partnership with the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, will allow us to develop programming that combines environmental education with Canal history to engage thousands of school children each year.”

The Buffalo Zoo, in partnership with the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, received $5,500 to develop a new education program to focus on the interconnectedness of people, the local environment, and the Erie Canal, both past and present. The program will challenge students to consider how the Erie Canal affected (and continues to affect) not only people and society, but also domestic animals, wildlife, and natural habitats in New York State.

“With the help of these federal funds Western New York’s rich Erie Canal history comes to life in a fun, interpretive way for families,” Congressman Brian Higgins said in a news release.  “I commend the Historical Society, the Zoo and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission for creating this partnership that will educate future generations of the Erie Canal’s critical role in the great rise of our region.”

“What a unique learning experience students will have through this program,” Tom Blanchard, Chair of the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund said in a news release. “Providing this type of hands-on learning for youth will help bring to life the rich Erie Canal history that is all around us in Buffalo.”

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, collaborates with government agencies, communities and organizations to protect and promote the canal corridor for all to use and enjoy.  The Erie Canalway Heritage Fund is dedicated to charitable, educational, and civic purposes within the confines of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.