Instructors From California, Texas, Mississippi and Illinois to Spend Two Weeks in Costa Rica Preparing to Become Better Science Teachers

FALLS CHURCH, Va.– May 28, 2013 – The Northrop Grumman Foundation and Conservation International (CI) today announced the 16 teachers who have been selected to participate in the second ECO Classroom, a unique and innovative professional development program for public middle and high school science teachers.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation, in collaboration with CI, created the program, sent its first group of teachers to Costa Rica last summer. The program offers teachers supplemental tools and real-world experiences that inspire students to pursue science and technical careers.

It is widely acknowledged among educators and policymakers that insufficient numbers of students are entering science, technology, engineering and math (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 such as ECO Classroom.

The ECO Classroom program brings groups of public school teachers from across the United States to CI's Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network ( www.teamnetwork.org ) Volcan Barva site in La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica. They participate in field data collection on plant and animal biodiversity, climate and land use using TEAM scientific protocols.

The teachers and schools attending this summer are:

During last year's inaugural two-week expedition, 16 ECO Classroom teachers from across the United States conducted group projects in the field and created lessons based on their projects dealing with land use, forest carbon sequestration, geographic information system mapping and natural resource management using scientific protocols. They returned to their schools with an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between biodiversity, climate change and human activities, and were better equipped with new techniques and resources to enhance their classroom teaching.

"This is a fantastic program because it helps teachers expand their STEM teaching tool kit, and at the same time increases attention to the importance of environmental sustainability," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "Increasing student interest in STEM starts with our teachers, and the hands-on experience they get in Costa Rica helps them inspire students to get excited about science and protecting the environment."

"It is wonderful to have the opportunity to bring a second group of skilled science teachers to the TEAM site in Costa Rica," said Sandy Andelman, chief scientist and senior vice president of CI. "Like the first group of teachers, we know they will return to their schools inspired and energized, armed with lessons, stories and photos to motivate their students to become the next generation of environmental science leaders."

About Conservation International

Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long-term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C., area and employs more than 800 staff in nearly 30 countries on four continents and works with more than 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please see www.conservation.org , or visit us on Facebook or Twitter .

About the Northrop Grumman Foundation

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: Mark Root
         Northrop Grumman Corporation
         703-280-2739 (office)
         571-425-2132 (mobile)
         mark.root@ngc.com
         
         Katrin Olson
         Conservation International
         703-341-2768
         kolson@conservation.org
 

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Team Name Name Location School Name
The Brain Trust Katherine Newton – team lead Glen Ellyn, Ill. Gemini Junior High School
Melanie Mudarth Wilmette, Ill. Evanston/Skokie Community Consolidated District 65
Kelda Hutson Mundelein, Ill. Warren Township High School
Susie Posnock Highland Park, Ill. Niles North High School
Mississippi Eco Boosters Robin Rumery – team lead Ocean Springs, Miss. Ocean Springs High School
Lynn Zimmerman Vancleave, Miss. St. Martin High School
Carole Ziv D'Iberville, Miss. St. Martin Middle School
Teresa Kelley Ocean Springs, Miss. Moss Point High School
Lonestar SAS Christine Mihealsick – team lead Cedar Park, Texas Westwood High School
Leslie Lopez Round Rock, Texas Round Rock High School
Jordan Ferris Austin, Texas Cedar Ridge High School
Tina Vick Austin, Texas McNeil High School
Hormigas Aventureras Susan Scott – team lead Escondido, Calif. Rincon Middle School
Catherine Melis San Diego Del Dios Middle School
Sarah Moghal Oceanside, Calif. Del Dios Middle School
Kristen Whitney Bonsall, Calif. Mission Middle School