By Charles Burke, WSU NARA
PULLMAN, Wash. – The University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) has received a national award for advancing learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through projects addressing real environmental problems.
MOSS (http://www.uidaho.edu/cnr/moss) was one of five programs to receive the $25,000 Underwriters Laboratories Innovative Education Award (http://ulinnovationeducation.naaee.net/) out of 120 applicants in the U.S. and Canada.
Some of the work recognized by the award committee centered on MOSS’ affiliation with the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), which is evaluating the feasibility and sustainability of using post-harvest forest residuals to make biojet fuel and co-products.
NARA (http://www.nararenewables.org) is led by Washington State University and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. MOSS is a program in the UI College of Natural Resources and is located at its historic field campus in McCall, Idaho.
MOSS is leading the bioenergy literacy components of the NARA project through K-12 teacher professional development, direct K-12 student engagement in energy learning and research, and development of online resources. MOSS introduces energy and climate issues in novel and innovative ways by involving students and teachers directly with NARA scientists and with the technical, sustainability, logistic and social challenges being addressed by the project.
“The NARA project has allowed MOSS to greatly expand its reach into the surrounding states of Washington, Oregon and Montana,” said Lee Vierling, MOSS executive director. “As a result, even more K-12 students and teachers have been impacted by engaging inquiry-based STEM education.
“In addition, MOSS has been able to collaborate with a leading-edge nationwide team of experts to develop bioenergy literacy principles that can be applied and assessed widely,” he said.
This is not the first award presented to MOSS during its affiliation with NARA. In 2012, MOSS earned the statewide ID21 award (http://www.uidaho.edu/cnr/research-outreach/featurestories/moss-id21) for innovative teaching.