Flagstaff, AZ – Lowell Observatory’s Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program received a grant in the amount of $56,500 from the APS Foundation. The program pairs a Lowell astronomer with a Navajo or Hopi teacher and their students in 5-8th grade for one school year. The 2015-16 school year is the program’s twentieth and has a record number of astronomer-teacher partnerships. The program previously received a grant from the APS Foundation in 2012.
Lowell Observatory astronomer Dr. Deidre Hunter said, “The enthusiasm and generous support of the APS Foundation for our outreach program make an enormous difference to our ability to carry out the program and are greatly appreciated. With the help of this funding we are completing eight partnerships with teachers and their classes on the Navajo Nation this school year and are looking forward to another 7 partnerships next school year.”
The grant award from the APS Foundation allows Lowell Observatory to accommodate the program’s growth and provide science enrichment to eight different classrooms throughout the school year. The eight partnerships serve 266 Navajo students, nine teachers and one student teacher.
Highlights of the program are the field trips for partner classrooms to Lowell Observatory. Students and their teachers get a private tour of Lowell’s main campus on Mars Hill, as well as the Anderson Mesa research facility about 15 miles outside Flagstaff. The 2015-16 field trips will take place on May 5, 6, 9, and 20.
Lowell astronomers Dr. Deidre Hunter and Dr. Amanda Bosh began the Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program in 1996. Dr. Hunter continues to manage the program and received the Education Prize from the American Astronomical Society in January 2015 for her outstanding contribution to the education of this underserved community.