Imagine a world where citizens are good stewards of their planet - where communities are well designed and sustainable, and where the resources we have today are available for future generations. Such a future would be possible if we had a population that understands Earth processes, and our impact on the planet. Unfortunately, Earth and space science education is almost absent from our K-12 schools across the country, and is fighting for its life. Content in Earth and space science classes typically includes topics (such as geologic time, climate change, and pollution) which are controversial, leading to additional difficulties in teaching these important topics.
The National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA - http://www.nestanet.org) is a federally-recognized tax-exempt 501(c)(3) focused on improving K-12 Earth and space science education. We have been operating since 1983, serving teachers across the United States, with ~1200 members who are primarily middle and high school educators.
NESTA is seeking support for our professional development program for K-12 educators. Our membership, as K-12 teachers, are not in a position to cover the costs of in-person professional development workshops themselves, nor for online web seminars. As an ongoing program (reaching ~2,500 teachers annually), these activities are not within the scope of federal education support, which is continuously declining anyway, in response to economic and political pressures. Despite the fact that NESTA is the largest association of K-12 Earth and space science educators nationally, we really need the support of donors who see the value of having a well educated citizenry that understands about the Earth, the systems and process that operate on our planet, and our need to manage our resources and protect our environment so we can continue to offer our programs.
NESTA is a very small non-profit. NESTA's Executive Director (Dr. Roberta Johnson) is a volunteer, providing her services at no charge to NESTA. NESTA has a very small staff of two individuals - an administrative assistant and a programmer. NESTA's Board of Directors also works on a volunteer basis. No money goes to waste at NESTA, and we do everything we can to provide services to teachers on an effective and efficient basis, leveraging volunteers at every opportunity.
What We Need & What You Get
NESTA is seeking your support for our professional development program at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston this April. We expect to reach over 1200 teachers at this conference in our 14 scheduled events for K-12 science educators. Our events span the Earth and space sciences - geology, oceanography, atmospheric science, weather, climate, natural hazards, and space, as well as improving pedagogy in the K-12 classroom.
The overall costs of this program typically run about $25,000, and we are usually left with about $8,000 of uncovered expenses (which NESTA does not have the funds to cover, and continue to offer its ongoing program of professional development for educators). Furthermore, this year sponsorship from our usual corporate sponsors is lagging, such that our uncovered expenses are likely to be much higher than normal.
Your support will provide us funds to cover the costs of shipping materials to and from the conference, printing signage to alert teachers to our events at the conference, internet access at our events, the costs of a booth in the exhibit hall, travel support for teachers, and the costs of food at our reception (which is attended by ~150 teachers and geoscience educators each year).
We will allocate all funds raised to this purpose, irrespective of whether we reach our goal. If we are lucky enough to exceed our goal, we will allocate the funds to our other professional development efforts for teachers. NESTA regularly offers professional development at NSTA Area conferences as well as state and regional science education conferences, and all of these have similar costs that need to be covered.
In recognition of your support of $20 or more, you will receive a one-year subscription to the Windows to the Universe Earth and Space Science Education Newsletter, which comes out on the first of each month. This newsletter is a great way to keep up with what's happening in Earth and space science, as well as opportunities and resources for teachers!
NESTA is a trusted source of support and programming for K-12 Earth and space science educators. Teachers know we will be there, and trust us, because our leaders are nationally-recognized K-12 Earth and space science educators themselves. Supporting NESTA's programs is the best way to help K-12 Earth and space science educators get the professional development and resources they need, because we have an existing large network and very little organizational overhead. Furthermore, our professional development resources are then incorporated in the Windows to the Universe website at http://www.windows2universe.org. With this website, and its global user base of 12 million individuals annually, your investment serves a global audience of teachers and learners.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please help us spread the word about this campaign, so we can reach our goal! Join and Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/nationalesta/! We also welcome members to NESTA and Windows to the Universe. You can join NESTA at https://www.nestanet.org/cms/user/register.
Roberta Johnson Killeen