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Nature Museum's Renewed Mission: Educational Outreach

There are a lot of indications that science education in the US is in trouble, and the Nature Museum at Grafton is renewing its efforts to do something about it. For instance:

• Non-scientists on the Texas Board of Education rewrote the state's science standards last year to fit their religious and political views and rejected the standards originally proposed by Texan scientists and educators.

•There is essentially no controversy in scientific literature about global climate change, and there is a consensus that recent global warming is mostly attributable to human activity. Still, a 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center published last July found that "while 84 percent of scientists say the earth is getting warmer because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, just 49 percent of the public agrees."

The poll also found that 76 percent of scientists feel that a major problem is that junk science is often given as much attention in the media as is credible science.

This situation has moved the Nature Museum at Grafton to reconsider it's educational work in over 40 area towns.

"The Museum has excelled at delivering natural history education to children and the broader public for over 20 years," said Lillian Willis, Executive Director, "but in 20 years things have changed, and the museum feels compelled to address the rapid pace of change that is now occurring on planet Earth."

While still focusing on natural history education, "the Museum will complement that core skill with increased programming for adults and teenagers to address environmental change and its effect on homo sapiens, and the implications for lifestyle choices that can promote the health of the biosphere."

To emphasize its expanded focus, the museum has created a new logo, a gray treefrog, which is indigenous to the area and a key indicator species of environmental change.

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