Hall Awarded Grant for Outdoor Science Education

October 3, 2016
Beetles: Outdoor Educators group celebrating on a beach

Lawrence Hall of Science Press Contact:
Jedda Foreman
BEETLES Program Manager

October 3, 2016 — Berkeley, CA The Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley’s award-winning public science center, has been given a $3 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to spread its professional development program for leaders of outdoor science programs (OSPs) nationwide. The grant will enable the Hall to support these important and spirited learning environments, and will contribute significant new knowledge about informal science learning experiences.

Through the Better Environmental Education Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing (BEETLES) program, the Hall will host five National Leadership Institutes (NLIs) to provide leadership development and support to some 200 OSP leaders from across the country. These leaders will then use what they learn and the resources they receive to provide high-quality professional learning and exemplary outdoor student activities for their approximately 1,500 instructional staff. This grant will provide improved science educational experiences to some 1.5 million youth from diverse backgrounds.

The BEETLES program began in 2011 as a concerted effort to focus research and resources on powerful, often transformative, outdoor science education experiences. To date, BEETLES has worked with 75 OSPs across the nation. This grant will expand the program’s direct impact to over 50 percent of all science-based, residential outdoor learning programs in the country.

“Many of us at the Lawrence Hall of Science came to work here because we believe the purpose of science education is to help young people to solve problems, improve their lives and communities, and make the world a better place,“ said Craig Strang, associate director of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

“This grant from the National Science Foundation will allow the BEETLES program to shine a light on and provide crucial support to outdoor science and environmental education programs throughout the country. These memorable and spirited programs have not had the benefit of these types of investments for decades, but with this new support, we are confident that they can help students address the environmental challenges that lie in front of us.”

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