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Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA forestry program receives grant to serve science educators

SFA's Master of Science in Resource Interpretation program recently received a grant to serve science educators. Pictured are members of NASA's Earth to Sky Program and the Solar System Exploration Division, one of the program partners. Back row, from right: Ashley Berkler, Shannan Marcak, Jeff Wallner, Sandy Spakoff and Katie Stehli. Front row: Cathy Curby and LynAnn DeJarnett.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas-The Master of Science in Resource Interpretation program in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University has received a three-year grant totaling $247,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The funding will be used for the project "Science and the Public Interface: Equipping Museum Professionals to Engage Audiences Regarding Complex and Controversial Science Topics." This initiative brings together museum curators, state and federal agencies, and academic partners to develop a sequence of five graduate-level courses for informal science educators working at historic sites, national parks, zoos and other locations. The MSRI program-developed in conjunction with the National Park Service-trains professionals working at such locations.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has tasked the MSRI program with identifying best practices and instructional strategies for engaging the public regarding complex and controversial science topics.

"The program puts SFA at the forefront of helping those who work at informal education sites gain skills and competence at communicating about difficult science topics," said Dr. Theresa Coble, SFA associate professor of forestry and one of the project investigators. Forestry faculty members Dr. Matthew McBroom and Dr. Pat Stephens Williams also will facilitate the program.

Partners of the program include Chabot Space and Science Center, University of California-Berkeley, West Virginia University, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Earth to Sky Program and the Solar System Exploration Division), Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Park Service (Alaska Region and the Stephen T. Mather Training Center), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (National Conservation Training Center), Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

For more information about the Master of Science in Resource Interpretation program, contact Coble at (936) 468-1354.