Friends of the Smokies and Cherokee Preservation Foundation collaborate on SPiN program

Friends of the Smokies has received a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to expand and improve the Seeking Paths in Nature program. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Smokies.

Press release from Friends of the Smokies:

ASHEVILLE, NC – Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will continue to work together to expand and improve the Seeking Paths in Nature (SPiN) program to reach more students in Western North Carolina through a $106,000 grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The funds received by Friends of the Smokies for the 2017 grant cycle mark the third year of Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s support of the program.

The SPiN program develops curricula for middle and high school students that integrates Cherokee culture and history into existing park education programs. Lessons and activities are designed through the collaboration and coordination of Cherokee Central Schools teachers, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and NPS staff to ensure the curriculum meets educational standards, STEM requirements, and appropriately incorporates Cherokee culture.

For the first time, this grant includes funds for an overnight field trip to Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for Cherokee Central School’s middle school students. “This overnight experience provides hands-on, experiential learning for the middle school students as well as their teachers, something you just can’t get inside a classroom,” said Anna Zanetti, NC Director of Friends of the Smokies.

A full-time SPiN coordinator will work with National Park Service (NPS) staff and educators at Cherokee Central Schools, New Kituwah Academy, and Haywood, Swain, Jackson, Cherokee, and Graham County school systems. The coordinator will utilize and improve the curriculum kits and organize field trips, reaching more than 5,500 students.

Cherokee Preservation Foundation has continued to preserve culture, protect the environment, and create diverse economic opportunities to improve the quality of life for the EBCI and our neighbors in Western North Carolina. Cherokee Preservation Foundation received the Outstanding Foundation award at National Philanthropy Day last November in recognition of their commitment to the SPiN program and their community enrichment efforts.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.