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phone: (208) 885-8981
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875 Perimeter Drive MS 1142
Moscow, ID 83844-1142
MOSS grad student at STEM education day, McCall Field Campus, McCall Outdoor Science School

CNR’s McCall Outdoor Science School earns ID21 award for innovative teaching


MOSCOW, Idaho - The University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) is one of six recipients of the ID21 Awards from the J.A. & K. Albertson Foundation for 2012. As one of the recipients from a pool of 167 nominees, MOSS will receive $50,000 and be honored at the foundation’s award ceremony on October 16 at the Boise Egyptian Theater.

The ID21 Awards are designed to discover and reward programs in Idaho that revolutionize how students learn. MOSS is recognized in the category for "challenging traditional education with creativity and innovation.” Nominees in this category are required to establish that programs are innovative, empowering, successful, creative and sustainable.

moss students at river tableMOSS students learn through a variety of hands-on activities, such as this river table.

“This prestigious award from the J.A. and K. Albertson Foundation validates the excellence of the MOSS programs in achieving our goals of providing innovative learning opportunities for K12 students,” President M. Duane Nellis said. “MOSS is one example of the University’s commitment to the advancement, sustainability and development of 21st century learning opportunities in STEM education in the state and beyond.”

“Receiving this grant is an affirmation of the innovative approaches we’re taking at MOSS to effectively engage students in science, engineering, technology and math,­" said CNR Dean Kurt Pregitzer. "When we invest in Idaho’s students, we are investing in Idaho’s future - and our future is bright.” 

MOSS is the state’s only publicly operated residential environmental science education center. The school’s mission is to facilitate place-based, collaborative, scientific inquiry within the context of Idaho’s land, water and communities.

“We challenge the traditional understanding of what science is, how it is practiced and who can participate,” says MOSS Program director Greg Fizzell. “Our vision is that when teachers and students are asked to describe science and the people involved in the profession, they talk about themselves.”

testing water temperature

For more than 10 years, MOSS youth, AmeriCorps, teacher education and community programs have engaged more than 18,000 Idaho K-12 students and more than 100 U-Idaho graduate students and 2,000 adult learners in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

MOSS will use the ID 21 Award funds to meet future programming needs, and to continue the development of its master site plan, which will outline long-term operations on the McCall Field Campus.

“Considering that many sectors of Idaho’s economy, such as agriculture, manufacturing and health care services, require STEM-educated employees,” says Fizzell, “there is overwhelming evidence supporting the importance of continuing STEM education.”

Fizzell says that MOSS’s methods of introducing students to STEM through hands-on activities helps them see themselves as scientists. This, he says, will lead more young people to make future education and career choices in science and engineering, supporting the national effort to ensure that all U.S. students receive the skills and knowledge required for success in the 21st Century workforce.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is a private family foundation committed to limitless learning opportunities for all Idahoans.  Since 1997, the Foundation has invested more than $500 million to improve education in Idaho.

See KTVB Boise News coverage video clip