Orton Foundation’s donation allowed Cape Fear River Watch to provide scholarships to 24 students with funds left over for 2018.

WILMINGTON — Cape Fear River Watch exceeded its goal for its 2017 summer camp scholarship fund, raising $6,260. The group was greatly helped by the Orton Foundation, which contributed $4,800 of that sum to support the nonprofit’s environmental summer camp.

This allowed River Watch to provide scholarships to 24 students with funds left over for 2018.

“Cape Fear River Watch is a grass roots nonprofit environmental group. Our mission, our whole reason for being here, is to protect and improve the water quality of the Cape Fear River,” said Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear riverkeeper.

Cape Fear River Watch’s summer camp director, Kay Lynn Plummer-Hernandez, piloted the camp seven years ago with a home school group and the concept took off. The camp runs every July and educates students aged 9-13 about the importance of water quality and protecting the environment. It has grown from one camp a year to three consecutive weeklong camps.

“In an era when children are becoming less connected to nature and more connected to their media devices, it is imperative to provide quality outdoor environmental education to every child. We are honored to partner with Cape Fear River Watch to provide real outdoor opportunities to young people in the area, and to help make possible environmental justice training for the River Watch staff to make these programs even more valuable,” said Ann Colley, executive vice president of the Moore Charitable Foundation.

The Orton Foundation is the North Carolina affiliate of Orton Plantation owner Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation.

Cape Fear River Watch puts great importance on seeing diversity in their summer camps. Their mission is to provide a quality summer camp experience to students of all racial and economic backgrounds.

“We want to make sure that all kids can afford quality environmental education,” Plummer-Hernandez said.

Along with generous donations from local citizens and businesses, The Orton Foundation grant made it possible to provide scholarships to approximately 50 percent of the campers attending this summer.

“We are educating kids that don’t typically get access to this kind of camp so they’re learning environmental education, they’re learning about water quality, and without the scholarships that wouldn’t happen. These kids are our future,” said. Plummer-Hernandez.. “I think, especially now, that environmental education is becoming more and more important in an era when kids are becoming less connected with nature. So it’s really important to get them outside and learning.”

To learn about Cape Fear River Watch and its programs, visit their website at www.capefearriverwatch.org.

This article was first published in The StarNews Online