Pitt County Members Make Time for Science
Pitt County Farm Bureau members John and Nancy Bray combined to spend more than seven decades teaching science to students young and old. When it came time to retire from their official school careers, neither one wanted to walk away from the field. It’s how they came to an endeavor that blends everything they love about learning.
They describe their project—A Time for Science—as a coordination of area volunteers to provide a supportive environment to enable participants at all levels. They hope participants become engaged both in nature and in the experience of science. The Brays also aim to enhance environmental awareness, science education and literacy throughout the region.
“We had always talked about doing something in education when we retired. Nancy Bray says, “this was just perfect.” “The fact that we have so many friends who have similar ideas and motivation, we have a beautiful group of people who work with us. It just led perfectly into establishing this.”
A Time for Science works with a host of area organizations and groups—ranging from East Carolina University and Pitt County Schools to the Boys and Girls Club, 4-H, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.
“They show the pictures of the big ideas with the light bulb. It’s even brighter than a light bulb when you see a kid get excited about something you’ve just shown them,” Nancy Bray says.
A Time for Science taps into almost all disciplines—from how plants and crops grow and the importance of insects and other animals to ways to protect the environment. The Brays pointed out that several students who completed their senior-year projects through A Time for Science now volunteer, a trend they say might be the most important.
“There would be no way for us to do what we do if not for this group of people. I call them our cadre or army of people,” says Nancy Bray, who along with John Bray in 2009 received the Champions of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Award from the N.C. Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center.
The Brays are in the process of creating a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to enhance the state and federal grants A Time for Science could receive. They also are hoping to establish a foundation to support the project, too.
“We just hope we live long enough to be able to establish a foundation so it will continue,” says Nancy Bray.