RiverQuest and Rivers of
"There's a whole different perspective of
Founded in 1991 as the Pittsburgh Voyager, RiverQuest provides science education programs for schoolchildren and the public aboard its boat Explorer. The vessel is designed to be an experiential classroom, allowing passengers to interact with and observe ecosystems in the waters below.
RiverQuest has faced financial challenges since school districts tightened their budgets. Whereas schools once paid the
The organization relies on boat rentals, donations and a few paying school districts to stay out of debt.
While the news release of the announcement stated that RiverQuest and Rivers of Steel will work together on a potential merger,
"We have agreed to talk to them about a strategic partnership, which includes a lot of options -- including, but not limited to, a merger," he explained.
The two groups are looking for a consultant to counsel them through the discussions and to conduct a study on the possible outcomes of a partnership. They expect the study to be completed in 30 to 60 days.
RiverQuest had discussed the possibility of a merger with
"We were certainly interested in the programmatic aspects of RiverQuest's mission," Ms. Metzger said. "However, we did not feel that we could take on the vessel. The business model is such that it would take an enormous amount of fundraising."
If RiverQuest does not secure corporate support or a merger within the next few months -- its fiscal year ends next Monday -- it will likely shut down,
"But we will go out with dignity," he added. "We have no debt, we haven't drawn on our line of credit, and all of our bills are paid."
Despite RiverQuest's financial predicament, demand for its school tours continues to grow. Its participation has increased from 3,500 students to nearly 10,000 annually over the past four years.
RiverQuest's educational mission sets it apart from other boat tour groups,
"We talk about the importance of STEM education and where the world economy is going," he said. "If we can excite children and make them interested in science, we've done a world of good."
"It brings the environmental issues facing our city alive," she said. "The children can see how clean our rivers have become by testing the waters directly."
Yanan Wang: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1949.
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