AWB BLM Statement

 

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Calabasas, CA, February 23, 2017: Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is pleased to announce generous funding from Google, a world-leading tech firm, in support of its project using the first total solar eclipse visible across the United States since 1918 as a springboard to implementation of an exciting nationwide science educational campaign.

Working in partnership with established national astronomy and educational organizations like the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Astronomical League, and Science Technology Advanced Resource, AWB is launching a major new initiative that will have a significant, long‐lasting impact on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. This educational campaign will focus on underserved communities across the US, leveraging the rare natural laboratory of the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

"This significant financial support from Google will enable Astronomers Without Borders to advance its August total solar eclipse programs that both educate about the science behind the eclipse and inspire students to learn about the importance of the sun to Earth and life on the planet. " said Mike Simmons, President and Founder of AWB. “The program will explore many important science fields on Earth based on a study of the light from our own star.”

On August 21, 2017, a spectacular total eclipse of the Sun will grace the daytime skies across the continental U.S. along a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina, while a deep partial solar eclipse will be visible from the rest of North America (at least 60% for the whole continent). This historic sky-watching event represents an unprecedented opportunity for STEM awareness and support of STEM education programs. Astronomical events capture the popular imagination, create excitement, and generate tremendous media attention.

Google's donation will directly support the distribution of free eclipse glasses and spectroscope kits to qualifying schools across the country and fund the development and dissemination of lesson plans and curricula that examine solar science as it relates to physical and biological sciences.

“Astronomers Without Borders will be, to our knowledge, the only organization supporting continuing eclipse-inspired STEM education in schools in underserved communities across the US after eclipse day: inner cities, Native American reservations, military bases, children’s cancer centers, and others,” said Simmons.

While Astronomers Without Borders has supported STEM in schools in in the past, the need is great in the US as well Approximately 20 percent of school‐age children in the US were in families living in poverty in 2014. That includes approximately 40 percent of students in schools in US cities, as measured in the 2012‐13 school year.

“While NASA and others will be distributing resources to millions of people for the eclipse, including to underserved communities, the total reached will be a fraction of the country's population. Schools lacking resources also need continuing support to be able to offer simple ways of bringing science into the classroom , “ explained Simmons.

Google's support of Astronomers Without Borders is fitting given Google's stated mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The sky, a part of every culture, embodies the ideal of universal accessibility. Interaction and resource-sharing based on that common heritage not only improves lives and offers hope to many, but also advances intercultural knowledge and understanding.

More information is available on the Eclipse STEM Education Program page at:
http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/awb-programs/community-based-programs/eclipse-stem-education-program.html

 

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