Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lockport’s Erie Canal Discovery Center and the historic Flight of Five canal locks will host 575 fourth-graders from the Niagara Falls School District this fall thanks to a grant from the National Park Foundation.
The grant, totaling $8,000, is from the National Park Foundation to the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. It will be used to enable 1,472 students from 27 schools in eight school districts across the state to participate in educational field trips along the canal.
“We have tremendous canal historic sites from Buffalo to Albany, but the cost of bringing students to them has become prohibitive for many districts,” said Beth Sciumeca, executive director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “This grant removes that barrier so that students can experience firsthand the innovation and impact of the Erie Canal.”
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is one of 35 national parks and heritage areas to receive a grant from the National Park Foundation’s Ticket To Ride program. The program provides financial resources for transportation and in-park educational programming that make field trips to national parks and heritage areas possible for schools across the country.
Melissa Dunlap, executive director of the Niagara County Historical Society called the grant a “wonderful opportunity” for students who might otherwise not get a chance to experience the canal.
“Now when students learn about the Erie Canal in books they will be able to visualize the locks at Lockport and how they work,” Dunlop added.
Carol Gold, the administrator for curriculum and instruction in Niagara Falls, said the school district is “delighted” that its fourth grade students are participating in the “Ticket to Ride” program.
She noted it will help students combine social studies with English lessons and provide reading, writing and speaking opportunities for students.
This experiential learning experience will lend itself to the integration of curriculum areas ... to internalize learning and create lasting memories,” Gold added.
The Niagara Falls students will tour the canal Nov. 14-16.
In addition to Ticket To Ride funding, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor secured an additional $5,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts to enhance the field trip program.
Two other locations will host students from New York state schools this fall. Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum in Central New York will welcome students from Oneida, Syracuse and Westmoreland; the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Park in Fort Hunter will have visitors from Amsterdam, Canajoharie, Fort Plain and St. Johnsville.