MOSS Students learning about trees. MOSS photo credit
MOSS Students learning about trees. MOSS photo credit

NARA affiliate, The University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), received the prestigious Underwriters Laboratories Innovative Education Award for their work to advance STEM learning through projects involving real environmental problems.

MOSS, a program of the College of Natural Resources at the historic McCall Field Campus, was one of five national programs, out of 120 applicants in the US and Canada, to receive the award. The award also included a $25,000 recognition grant.

Some of the work recognized by the award committee centered on MOSS’ contributions with NARA. In the award application, MOSS described their work with NARA to 1) enhance teacher development through workshops and webinars, 2) to provide resources that promote and enhance student participation with the Imagine Tomorrow competition, and 3) to assist in the development of web-based bioenergy literacy tools like the NARA Energy Literacy Principles Matrix.

MOSS is able to introduce energy and climate issues in novel and innovative ways by involving students and teachers directly with NARA scientists and with the technical, sustainability, logistic and social challenges being addressed by the project.

“The NARA project has allowed MOSS to greatly expand its reach into the surrounding states of Washington, Oregon and Montana. As a result, even more K12 students and teachers have been impacted by engaging inquiry-based STEM education. In addition, MOSS has been able to collaborate with a leading edge nationwide team of experts to develop bioenergy literacy principles that can be applied and assessed widely.” said Lee Vierling, MOSS Executive Director.

This is not the first prestigious award presented to MOSS while affiliated with NARA. In 2014, Karla Eitel was awarded the 2014 University of Idaho Outreach and Engagement Award for excellence in outreach programs like the MOSS teacher workshops. In 2013, MOSS received the W.K. Kellogg Engagement Scholarship Award. The award program honors colleges and universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become even more involved with their communities. In 2012, MOSS earned the ID21 award for innovative teaching.