FLORENCE — With coronavirus guidelines putting school field trips in doubt, the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA) is offering grants to help teachers and destination sites connect online.

“As a result of COVID-19, organizations across the MSNHA can’t host educational programs or field trips," Director Carrie Crawford said in a news release. "To help organizations reach students, we’re opening a special education-series grant for developing site-specific digital lessons in partnership with teachers to achieve educational outreach goals while physical visits are limited. 

“Even after things return to a new normal, the MSNHA believes that developing digital educational content will help sites engage with new audiences,” she said.

Organizations must partner with a teacher to develop lessons related to the site’s historical, cultural or natural resources following Alabama curriculum standards.

Lessons must connect with one of the MSNHA themes — music, Native American history and the Tennessee River’s impact on northwest Alabama development, as well as the river’s rich ecological bio-diversity.

Organizations are eligible for up to $1,200 in reimbursable grants with a 1:1 match requirement.

A typical project might be $2,400 total with 1:1 match requiring $1,200 of cash or in-kind contributions from the sponsor, and $1,200 in grant funds from the MSNHA.

Guidelines and applications are at msnha.una.edu/resources/education-series-grants/.

“MSNHA is a partnership program of the National Park Service, and our grants initiative is one of the main ways we work with community groups to help preserve, protect and promote northwest Alabama’s cultural heritage,” Crawford said in the release. “Our mission is to work with communities to tell stories about our area’s history, and to offer opportunities for learning about and appreciating our area’s cultural and natural resources.”

Details are available at the MSNHA website, msnha.una.edu/, or by sending an email to msnha@una.edu.

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