Thanks to Weezie Foundation and Help from Quirk Ford and Quirk Dodge, Local Students Hit the Road

by Jack Banagis on September 7, 2017 No comments

New vans help NEWC’s STEM education efforts on the South Shore and beyond

wildlife-ed-transportIt’s back-to-school time again and we’re especially excited about the kick-off of the school year in Massachusetts.


Because thanks to a generous grant from the Weezie Foundation and help from Quirk Ford of Quincy and Quirk Dodge of Marshfield, we were able to purchase two new vans for use in our educational programs.

“We are so appreciative of the grant from the Weezie Foundation and Quirk’s willingness to work with us to stretch the grant as far as possible to help make getting two new vans possible,” says Katrina Bergman, executive director at NEWC.

“Now even more students can take advantage of hands-on science education opportunities and experience local habitats and the natural environment.”

Why Did NEWC Need Vans?


SWEET RIDE – Students from Abigail Adams School in Weymouth, MA, enjoyed the ride to NEWC in our new education vans.

To help people of all ages learn about wildlife and our environment, NEWC offers award-winning Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) educational programs to elementary, middle, and high schools in Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, student transportation costs often prevent interested schools from participating in the programs, which include field trips to NEWC and local habitats for data collection and in-field experiments.

The Weezie Foundation gave a grant to NEWC to purchase vans to shuttle students to our South Weymouth facility.  Last spring, we purchased new vehicles from Quirk Ford and Quirk Dodge that will accommodate larger classes.

On the Road with Abigail Adams School

And we’ve already hit the road with students from the Abigail Adams School in Weymouth!

Students from the school participated in our new STEM program, Get the Lead Out!  As part of the program, NEWC’s STEM education team leader Jack Banagis brought the excited crowd from the school to NEWC.

What is the Get the Lead Out! Program?

Get the Lead Out! focuses on the environmental impact of lead and gives students a unique opportunity to perform meaningful experiments that familiarize them with the scientific method.

Lead is a major environmental issue. Every day at NEWC, animals are treated for lead toxicosis in our hospital. Over 25% of our medical time and resources goes to treating lead poisoning in ducks, geese, gulls, raccoons, and even birds of prey.

Lead is also a well-known toxin to humans.  It became a major topic nationally following the catastrophe in Flint, Michigan.  Many communities in Massachusetts have also found lead inside public schools.

To show young people how they can help monitor and manage the environmental impact of lead, the program brings students into the field with NEWC staff to study lead’s distribution in wildlife, habitats, and yards. Working as “citizen scientists,” students collect mud and water samples from local ponds and estuaries, and assist educators in collecting hemolymph from invertebrates to test in our labs.

They also learn about the periodic table, how x-rays work, the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates, food webs, pond and estuary habitats, their own local geography, and how their own bodies may be affected by lead exposure.

The data students collect, analyze, and interpret will provide useful information for veterinarians, scientists, and educators at NEWC and beyond.

Get the Lead Out! is a five-session program that individual schools, PTOS, companies, and foundations can underwrite to provide to students.  To learn more about underwriting NEWC educational programs like Get the Lead Out! at your school, contact Jack Banagis at or (781) 682-4878, ext. 126.

Thank You for Making this Important Work Possible!

VERY SPECIAL THANKS once again to Weezie Foundation, Quirk Ford, and Quirk Dodge for making a difference for wildlife and our community!

Jack BanagisThanks to Weezie Foundation and Help from Quirk Ford and Quirk Dodge, Local Students Hit the Road