U-Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School Earns ID21 Award for Innovative Teaching

Wednesday, September 19 2012

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 Oct. 16 at the Boise Egyptian Theater.

“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 K-12 students,” said University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis. “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.”

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.

“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,” said Greg Fizzell, MOSS program director. “Our vision is that when teachers and students are asked to describe science and the people involved in the profession, they talk about themselves.”

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 ID21 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, there is overwhelming evidence supporting the importance of continuing STEM education,” said Fizzell.

Fizzell added MOSS’s methods of introducing students to STEM through hands-on activities helps them see themselves as scientists. This, he said, 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.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.