Science students benefit from boost in license plate sales

Jan 27, 2014


Sales of the Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate in North Carolina increased in the fourth quarter, benefiting priority projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) including science education programs.

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has released fourth quarter figures with $93,520 going to Friends of the Smokies from specialty plate sales, an increase from the same period last year. Total contributions from the Smokies plate now top $3.5 million since the program launched in 1999.

These contributions help fund projects on the North Carolina side of GSMNP including supporting the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob and the Parks as Classrooms program. Through Parks as Classrooms, students participate in hands-on, curriculum-based environmental education lessons that highlight the natural biodiversity found in GSMNP. Funding support from Friends of the Smokies allows the program to be offered for free, giving thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students from Western North Carolina the opportunity to discover new experiences in the park each year.

“Fostering a love and appreciation for nature early in life can have a profound impact on the education and career choices students make for their future,” says Acting Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “Programs like Parks as Classrooms are essential to the creation of the next generation of park supporters.”

To help support Great Smoky Mountains National Park and programs like Parks as Classrooms, North Carolina residents can purchase a Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate now, regardless of plate expiration date. Go to any North Carolina license plate office or For more information and to download a specialty plate application, please visit or contact Brent McDaniel at Friends of the Smokies, 828-452-0720.

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