News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

August 17, 2009 — Vol. 25 No. 24

Idaho Museum of Natural History receives $144,000 grant to teach geology to east Idaho students

Fifth- and eighth-grade students in Challis, Arco, Burley, Malad, Mackay, Soda Springs and other rural east Idaho communities will be able to better learn geology thanks to a grant to the Idaho Museum of Natural History.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded a nearly $144,000 grant titled "The Idaho Geology Outreach Project: Bridging the Natural History Gap" to the Idaho State University Idaho Museum of Natural History.

In the Idaho Geology Outreach project, the Museum will work with community partners to support and enhance learning at selected rural public schools. Working with earth science teachers, the Museum will augment the school curriculum by providing access to resources that will enable teachers to incorporate local geological information.

“We’ll be identifying unique geologic features in the students’ home areas and developing discussions, science kits, a website and other materials to integrate that information into their geosciences curriculum so they can understand the natural history of their region,” said Rebecca Thorne-Ferrel, IMNH education resource manager who is the grants principal investigator.

At ISU, Thorne-Ferrel will be working with Leif Tapanila, the IMNHs division head for earth sciences and an ISU geosciences assistant professor, Chuck Zimmerly, interim director of the College of Educations Intermountain Center for Educational Effectiveness, and with IMNH staff.

“We are delighted that the Idaho Museum of Natural History has received this grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said ISU Provost Gary Olson. “It is yet another indication that agencies throughout the state and region have great confidence in the Museum and its newly appointed staff.”

The IMNH is a top priority of ISU’s administration and recently underwent a major personnel reorganization in order to strengthen its position as a research museum and to respond to recommendations from its accreditation agency, the American Association of Museums.

“I think we are going to continue to see great things from the Museum over the next few years,” Olson added.