Park and Learn comes to Columbus

The iconic wicker bear at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Whiteville.

With remote learning becoming the standard for education in the pandemic, state officials have established new opportunities for children who lack internet access.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is working to bring WiFi to rural communities with the “Park and Learn” project. State parks along with historic sites are being utilized as WiFi hotspots across the state. 

All of the counties in the Cape Fear Region have some sort of free WiFi with locations in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender Counties. In Columbus, Park and Learn spots are running at all three county high schools, Williams Township Elementary, Columbus College and Career Academy and Campus, Fair Bluff Town Hall, Acme-Delco Elementary and the Riegelwood library, Southeastern Community College and the Museum of Natural Sciences. 

“The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is setting up hotspots resources at state parks, historic sites and other community hubs to expand  remote learning opportunities for students across North Carolina.  Part of a broader effort called NC Student Connect, Park and Learn will provide free high-speed WiFi access to students in rural communities, according to the NC DNCR. 

More than 200 Park and Learn locations across the state and is being funded by the CARES Act. 

The Park and Learn project has installed WiFi hotspots at more than 200 sites across the state. When completed, it will bring WiFi access to more than 350 locations, including state parks and historic sites, along with libraries and schools. In addition, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has purchased more than 84,000 hotspots and distributed them to about 200 school systems or charter schools, according to the state. 

The cost of the project is $6.1 million provided by federal grant funding that expires tomorrow.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1143 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.