Indiana Michigan Power, on behalf of the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation, presented a $216,000 grant to the Potawatomi Zoological Society to establish a classroom to teach local children about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The grant money will create the AEP Foundation STEM classroom inside the Education Complex located on zoo grounds. The space will help the Potawatomi Zoo expand the Education Department and the EdZOOcation program to allow more children to take part in camps, classes, and scout activities. The funding from the AEP Foundation will also help the zoo offer scholarships to increase services for students who might not be able to afford program costs.

“The support from the AEP Foundation and Indiana Michigan Power will enhance the experience of visiting the Potawatomi Zoo for decades to come,” said Josh Sisk, interim executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo. “By helping create the AEP Foundation STEM Classroom for the Zoo’s EdZOOcation program, the AEP Foundation and the Potawatomi Zoo will be able to serve more members of the community, teach the Zoo’s guests about the importance of conservation, and start a unique science-based educational experience for the region.”

“As the hometown energy provider, I&M is committed to growing educational opportunities – specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Toby Thomas, I&M President and Chief Operating Officer. “This is the perfect collaboration for the AEP Foundation,

I&M and the Potawatomi Zoo to enhance education, improve the lives of our customers and give back to the communities we live in and serve.”

Part of the AEP Foundation grant will also support conservation education focused on the Potawatomi Zoo’s addition of a southern white rhinoceros this fall. By bringing a male white rhino to the Potawatomi Zoo through the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s White Rhino Species Survival Plan program, the Potawatomi Zoo is playing an important role in the research, breeding, and preservation of this species.

The AEP Foundation STEM Classroom is expected to open in 2020. The white rhino exhibit will be open to the public in the fall of 2019.