Discover Life in America (DLIA) is excited to announce a grant from East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) from their Neighbor-to-Neighbor Disaster Relief Fund. East Tennessee Foundation’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Disaster Relief Fund provides timely disaster response grants to organizations in the 25-county service region in East Tennessee.
The Fund was created in 2011 after parts of East Tennessee experienced devastating storms. Its goal is to provide prompt and effective services to communities in need after experiencing the effects of disasters. When disasters occur, these funds allow the Foundation to respond in a timely fashion to support nonprofit organizations that provide critically needed services. Using ETF’s longstanding relationships with area agencies, local nonprofits, churches, schools, and municipalities, grants from the Fund aid nonprofit organizations and other exempt entities in providing relief and rebuilding their communities.
The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Disaster Relief Fund was activated for the COVID-19 national emergency in March 2020 to meet critical, immediate, and long-term needs created by COVID-19, and DLiA is lucky enough to receive this funding to help us continue our impactful work in the region. Most of the funding from this grant will be used to continue the summer internship program by paying for housing and intern stipends in 2021.
In addition to the intern funding DLiA has utilized part of the grant to hold several virtual workshops for teachers about our iScience and Snapit and Mapit projects.
iScience is DLiA’s schoolyard biodiversity program in cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The program aims to increase awareness of and appreciation for the incredible biodiversity around us, as well as foster young people’s interest in STEM fields. This program uses the ATBI (All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory) model, bringing ATBIs to schoolyards within the TVA iScience Program Area (see map below). Students conduct ATBIs at their schools using iNaturalist, acting as community scientists and collecting real scientific data about their local biodiversity. We currently have 16 partner schools and hope to add more in the coming years.
Snapit and Mapit is a community science-based project using iNaturalist to gather data about priority species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
DLiA manages the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) in the park, aimed at cataloging all the animals, plants and other organisms living in the Smokies. More than 20,100 species have been documented there so far, but there are an estimated 60,000-80,000 total species living in the park, and so the work continues. Insight gained from the ATBI helps park management to better understand and protect the species that make the Smokies so special.