Students participating in the garden scavenger hunt during the Buford Harvest Festival

Students in both Albemarle County Public Schools and Charlottesville City Schools will have increased opportunities next year thanks to the support of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and Dave Matthews Band.

In the last few days, the Foundation has distributed over $45,000 in programming support for local schools.

Through the BAMA Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, Club Yancey—an academic and physical fitness club at Yancey Elementary School—will receive $10,000.

The City Schoolyard Garden program, which provides garden-based, experiential learning experiences—will also receive $10,000 through the fund.

Anne Scott, president of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, said Dave Matthews Band’s commitment to the community is “outstanding.”

“The Band has made a difference in the lives of many in our local area,” Scott said. “The Community Foundation is deeply grateful for their support and for the good work of the deserving organizations which will benefit from the gifts being announced.”

The City Schoolyard Garden also received $22,322 from the CACF’s Future Fund, which promotes environmental issues. The gardening program’s initiative, Deep Roots: Growing Garden-based Ecological Literacy, Health and Creativity in Charlottesville Youth, attracted the gift.  

Emily Axelbaum, the program’s garden educator, said the funds will support work at each of Charlottesville’s six elementary schools, as well as professional development for teachers.

“This funding will enable us to sink deeper roots into our existing elementary school programming,” Axelbaum said.

Students attending Western Albemarle High School’s new Environmental Sciences Academy will learn about horticulture and fish farming, thanks to $3,200 that will provide an aquaponics system.

Nicole Storm, Albemarle’s legislative and public affairs officer, said the new academy “will promote environmental awareness, sustainable practices and conservation principles for students and the larger community.”

“The aquaponics system will provide fresh fish and vegetables for the community through an ongoing, interactive research project for students that will last year round, and for years to come,” Storm said.

Charlottesville Tomorrow is also the recipient of a $6,000 BAMA Works grant to support coverage of local education issues.