Press release from Muddy Sneakers:
Muddy Sneakers is incredibly grateful to be the North Carolina recipient of a recent contribution from legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon. As part of his Homeward Bound farewell tour, Simon awarded a gift of $25,000 to Muddy Sneakers to grows its work of awakening in children a deeply felt connection with the natural world. Muddy Sneakers partners with public elementary schools in North Carolina to bring fifth graders onto nearby protected lands to supplement classroom science instruction.
In a letter to Muddy Sneakers, Simon explained his decision to offer financial gifts to worthy causes throughout his tour. “In each town and city, there are so many organizations doing great work, including the invaluable work you do. Keep it up!” he said.
Simon, a supporter of E.O. Wilson, an American scientist often called the ‘father of biophilia,’ played a concert in Greensboro, NC, near Durham, where Wilson’s foundation is based. In addition to supporting the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Simon wanted to contribute to educational organizations in each state that focus on connecting people with nature. With a strong endorsement from the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Simon determined Muddy Sneakers to be a highly deserving group.
Muddy Sneakers Executive Director Ryan Olson shared his gratitude in a letter to Simon: “As your words have inspired so many, it seems only fitting that your farewell tour would find you contributing toward the inspiration of future generations through the development of a deep appreciation for the natural world. Time in nature, like music, has the power to heal, and as I know you understand, we have much work to do and the time is now.”
The donation will go toward Muddy Sneakers’ continuing expansion efforts, specifically supporting further expansion in the Piedmont region and prospective growth to the coastal region of North Carolina in the 2019-2020 school year. “This gift will guarantee more NC public school students are introduced at an early age to the joy of learning outside,” Olson said.