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June 14, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Grant funds Storm Harbor greenhouse

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center will use a $10,723 grant from the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Trust to build a greenhouse along the center's "sensory trail." The sensory trail provides special-needs riders ages 14-21 with educational and life-skills training.

The "accessible greenhouse" will enable participants to grow and take care of plants, said Courtney Gramlich, Storm Harbor director, who obtained the grant.

"It will be a great addition to the trail," Gramlich said. "The greenhouse is a kit and will be assembled and put on an existing cement pad. There will be a therapeutic recreation after-school program in the fall that will also use the greenhouse."

The greenhouse will be constructed near the head of the trail, which circles the SRU-owned center.

The Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Trust is a Pittsburgh-based foundation that supports non-profit projects for the public.

Storm Harbor provides a venue for SRU students to gain educational experience managing adapted equine activities for community riders with disabilities. Students work at the center helping to care for the horses and barn, which includes an indoor riding arena with wheelchair lift.

Earlier this year, Storm Harbor obtained a $20,000 Alcoa Foundation Grant to convert an existing trail into the sensory trail. It offers activity stations, education signs and specialized cushioning.

Riders stop and touch, explore and interact with flowers and other vegetation, which promotes sensory integration and social skills and decreases negative emotional behaviors for those with autism, Gramlich said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.