WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 -- Northrop Grumman and Conservation International today announced four teams of teachers who will attend the inaugural class of ECO Classroom, a unique and innovative professional development program for public middle and high school science teachers. The Northrop Grumman Foundation, in collaboration with Conservation International, created the program which was unveiled earlier this year and begins in July.

The four teams, teachers (leaders in bold), and schools they represent are:

"We are very excited about this program and we are thrilled to have these very impressive science teachers as our first group to participate in the hands-on environmental experience of ECO Classroom," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "This program will give these 16 teachers the insight and inspiration to pass on real scientific observation and discovery directly to their students and communities. The Northrop Grumman Foundation has been pioneering programs to inspire science teachers for many years, and have added environmental science to our portfolio, in recognition of the importance of international environmental sustainability to the health and security of future generations."

Under the ECO Classroom program, the teacher teams will travel to Conservation International's Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network ( http://www.teamnetwork.org/en/about ) Volcan Barva site in La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica. Once there, they will experience firsthand field collection of biodiversity and climate data using TEAM scientific protocols and bring these unique learning opportunities into their classrooms.

"We are delighted that these 16 teachers have the opportunity to visit our TEAM site in Costa Rica to learn firsthand field data collection methods," said Sandy Andelman, vice president at Conservation International. "We believe that supporting professional development opportunities for teachers will have the greatest impact on engaging students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. We expect this program will help cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards."

The goal of ECO Classroom is to help teachers inspire students to pursue science and technical careers and become our next generation of environmental scientists. It is widely acknowledged among educators and policymakers that insufficient numbers of students are entering into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. One way to address this issue and emphasize environmental stewardship is to motivate educators to engage students in the sciences and to bring unique learning opportunities into their classrooms with real-world curricula and hands-on experiences. To learn more about the program, visit www.northropgrumman.com/ecoclassroom .

Teachers will return to their schools with an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between biodiversity, climate change and human activities, and will be equipped with new techniques and resources to enhance their own classroom teaching. Additional teacher trips are planned for subsequent summers.

Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, Conservation International (CI) empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987 and marking its 25 th anniversary in 2012, CI has headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area, and 900 employees working in nearly 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, please visit at www.conservation.org , or on Facebook or Twitter .

The Northrop Grumman Foundation supports diverse and sustainable programs for students and teachers. These programs create innovative education experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For more information please visit www.northropgrumman.com/foundation .

  CONTACT: Margaret Mitchell-Jones
         Northrop Grumman Corporation
         (703) 280-2739
         Katrin Olson
         Conservation International
         (703) 341-2768

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Team Name Geographic Area Teacher Names Schools
Anne Arundel Baltimore/Annapolis, Md. Dr. Tanya Marushak South River High School
Rachael Morrison Southern High School
Dr. Carrie Graff Annapolis High School
Lauren Purple-Sales Annapolis High School
Ecologically Minded Long Island Educators Long Island, N.Y. Elizabeth Platt Smithtown High School West
Kimberly Christian Smithtown High School East
Lillian Vitalo Nesaquake Middle School
Adrienne Davis Brentwood High School Ross Campus
Chicago - Northwest Chicago, Ill. Lisa del Muro Wheeling High School
Mollie David Prospect High School
Francis (Bud) Mathieu Glenbrook North High School
Shelby Childress-Riha Maine East High School
SOL Sisters Southern Calif. Debby West Oak Park High School
Mary Denise Powell Thousand Oaks High School
Katie Cohen Medea Creek Middle School
Jennifer Boyd Westlake High School