TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

RiverQuest science education program stays afloat with foundation support

Built in 2006, RiverQuest Explorer was the world's first environmentally friendly passenger vessel designed expressly to serve an educational mission.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, 10:20 p.m.
 

The RiverQuest science education program plans to take thousands of students on field trips aboard its 90-foot boat for at least one more fall semester, thanks to foundations committing $160,000 to help the cash-strapped nonprofit.

The support came shortly after RiverQuest leaders signed an agreement in mid-June to explore a merger with Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp., a Homestead nonprofit formed to preserve Western Pennsylvania's heritage and spur redevelopment across eight counties.

That merger awaits the results of a consulting study due by the end of October, RiverQuest President Jim Roddey said.

Yet news of the potential partnership proved enough to bolster confidence among donors in the future of RiverQuest, which Roddey had warned in April was in dire financial straits. He did not want to disclose the sources of new funding until transactions are finalized. He's hoping to raise $20,000 more to hit his target.

“If we are going to go forward, it would be much more advantageous to the organization not to interrupt the program,” Roddey said. “I think that they felt it was worth the risk.”

North Side-based RiverQuest, formerly known as Pittsburgh Voyager, has served more than 100,000 students and another 100,000 members of the general public for two decades. Students on the floating science lab collect water and mud samples and analyze the contents under microscopes.

Roddey expects to host another 3,500 to 4,000 students this fall.

“It's getting to do things hands-on, so that they really feel like they are learning — not sitting in a classroom looking at a book,” Roddey said.

RiverQuest hired Cosentino Consulting LLC to identify the type of merger or “strategic partnership” that could work best.

Meanwhile, the two nonprofits have some collaborative efforts in the works, such as sharing use of RiverQuest's boat to expand Rivers of Steel's tour offerings.

“It gives us another tool in our arsenal to market Pittsburgh,” Rivers of Steel CEO August Carlino said.

Natasha Lindstrom is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at nlindstrom@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. North Shore access to be limited Saturday for Chesney concert, officials say
  2. Blawnox man’s torture, death a robbery plot gone wrong, police say
  3. Overturned cement truck knocks out power in South Side Slopes
  4. Air rifle incidents on the rise, experts say
  5. Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
  6. Land eyed for trail connectors to expand Harrison Hills Park
  7. Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto returning from manufacturing trade mission to Cuba
  8. Duquesne University to raise minimum wage floor
  9. Penn Hills votes to sell, lease vacant school space
  10. Plum schools, dealing with sex scandal, to form panel in June
  11. Aging natural gas pipelines in Green Tree to be replaced