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Bio-energy literacy

K-12 students are learning about biofuels made from wood and college students are trained to enter the bioenergy workforce.

The NARA project is designed to enable a new and technically complex industry in the Pacific Northwest. Elevating general knowledge around energy literacy serves an important role to ensure that a biofuel industry is sustainable by:

  • educating and providing training to a future energy workforce;
  • providing timely information and resources to stakeholders and professionals in industries connected to the biofuels supply chain; and
  • enhancing citizen understanding to improve public support and participation in political decision making.

Listed are programs that received financial support from the USDA-NIFA through NARA.

McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS)

MOSS is a K-12 outdoor school teaching kids about science, place and community. NARA’s support helped Pacific Northwest teachers and graduate students include biofuel lessons into the classroom.

Result: Over 260 teachers and 20 graduate students participated in bioenergy workshops and 20 lesson plans developed. More than 13,000 students participated in energy literacy lessons through MOSS.

Imagine Tomorrow

Pacific Northwest high school students provide creative solutions to the world’s energy needs at this annual event. NARA’s support expanded the event to Oregon, Idaho and Montana students and instigated a biofuel challenge category.

Result: Ninety-one teams involving 316 high school students have developed projects that explore the development of biofuels.

Bio-Energy Literacy Matrix

The “Matrix” is an online resource that provides educational materials to teachers and students related to biofuel solutions. All resources are aligned with STEM standards.

Result: Over 700 resources have been catalogued and are available to educators.

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

College undergraduate students conduct NARA research during the summer.

Result: NARA included 48 undergraduate students in project research ranging from conversion technologies to curriculum development.

Tribal Partnership Program

TPP provides research opportunities in the area of biofuel development to Native American college students.

Result: Of the 16 Native American scholars who have participated in the NARA TPP program, one Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, five Bachelor of Science degrees, and one doctoral degree has been awarded. In addition, four Native scholars are on tap to achieve their degrees in 2016

Integrated Design Experience (IDX)

IDX is a course at Washington State University (WSU) for undergraduate and graduate students that uses real world projects to train students to participate in a sustainable future. NARA’s support mentored students to develop a facility site selection process and designs that contribute to envisioning a supply chain that uses post-harvest forest residuals to produce biojet fuel and other co-products.

Result: Over 195 students (110 undergraduate, 82 graduate, and 3 Ph.D) from Washington State University and The University of Idaho have participated in IDX NARA and Mass Timbers projects, and some are entering the bioenergy workforce.

Facing the Future (FTF)

FTF creates interdisciplinary K–12 curricula that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. NARA supported the development of elementary, middle, and high school energy curriculum and accompanying teacher trainings.

Result: Over 425 copies of Fueling Our Future (25 elementary, 222 middle, and 178 high school) have been distributed to teachers and 272 free individual lessons (92 middle school and 153 high school) have been downloaded from FTF’s website, reaching over 20,910 students.

Peer reviewed papers

Beyond Conservation: Reimagining the Purpose of Energy Education

DeWaters, J.E., Hougham, J., Hintz, C. & Frolich, L (2015). Beyond conservation: reimagining the purpose of energy education. The Journal of Sustainability Education. 8(January). Retrieved from

Teacher Professional Development for Energy Literacy: A Comparison of Two Approaches

Eitel, K.B., Hougham, J., Laninga, T., Fizzell, G., Schone, J. & Hendrickson, D. (2015). Teacher professional development for energy literacy: a comparison of two approaches. The Journal of Sustainability Education, 8(January). Retrieved from

Upload/Download: Empowering Students Through Technology-Enabled Problem-Based Learning 

Eitel, K.B., Hougham, R.J., Miller, B.G., Schon, J., & LaPaglia, K. (2013). Upload/download: empowering students through technology-enabled problem-based learning. Science Scope, 36(7), 32-39. Retrieved from

Global Sustainability: An Authentic Context for Energy Education

Hendrickson, D., Corrigan, K., Keefe, A., Shaw, D., Jacob, S., Skelton, L., …Hougham, J. (2015). Global sustainability: an authentic context for energy education. The Journal of Sustainability Education, 8(January). Retrieved from

From the Forest to the Classroom: Energy Literacy as a Co-Product of Biofuels Research 

Hougham, J., Hollenhorst, S., Schon, J., Eitel, K.B., Hendrickson, D., Gotch, C., …Moslemi, J. (2015). From the forest to the classroom: energy literacy as a co-product of biofuels research. The Journal of Sustainability Education, 8(January). Retrieved from

Artifact-Based Energy Literacy Assessment Utilizing Rubric Scoring

Langfitt, Q., Haselbach, L., & Hougham, J. (2014) Artifact-based energy literacy assessment utilizing rubric scoring. J. Prof. Issues Eng. Educ. Pract., Vol 141. Retreived from:

Refinement of an Energy Literacy Rubric for Artifact Assessment and Application to the Imagine Tomorrow High School Energy Competition

Langfitt, Q., Haselbach, L., & Hougham, J. (2015). Refinement of an energy literacy rubric for artifact assessment and application to the Imagine Tomorrow high school energy competition. The Journal of Sustainability Education, 8(January). Retrieved from

Creating a Research to Classroom Pipeline: Closing the Gap Between Science Research and Educators

Schon, J., Eitel, K.B., Hougham, J. & Hendrickson, D. (2015). Creating a research to classroom pipeline: closing the gap between science research and educators. The Journal of Sustainability Education, 8(January). Retrieved from

The Value of a Tree: Comparing Carbon Sequestration to Forest Products

Schon, J., Hougham, R.J., Eitel, K.B., & Hollenhorst, S. (2014). The value of a tree: comparing carbon sequestration to forest products. Science Scope, 37(7), 27 – 35. Retrieved at

Non-peer reviewed articles

Forestry Tour Educates Youth in North Central Idaho

Brooks, R. & Moroney, J. (2014) Forestry tour educates youth in north central Idaho. Journal of Extension 52 (4). Retrieved from:

From Wood to Wing: Biofuels and the NARA Opportunity

Brooks, R. (2012, December). From wood to wing: biofuels and the NARA opportunity. Idaho Farm Bureau Producer, 16(8), 16-17. Retrieved from

AL@: Combining the Strengths of Adventure Learning and Place Based Education

Hougham, R.J., Eitel, K.B., & Miller, B.G. (2012, July 1) AL@: Combining the strengths of adventure learning and place based education. 2012 CLEARING Compendium. 38-41. Retrieved from

Is Biomass a Future Market for Montana?

Kolb, P. (2012, Fall).  Is biomass a future market for montana? Northwest Woodlands, 28(4), 18-20. Retrieved from

Education materials

Facing the Future (2014). Fueling our Future: Exploring Sustainable Energy Use, Middle School ed. Received from

Facing the Future (2014). Fueling our Future: Exploring Sustainable Energy Use, High School ed. Received from

Facing the Future (2014). Fueling our Future: Exploring Sustainable Energy Use, SMART Board ed. Received from

Facing the Future (2015). Fueling our Future: Exploring Sustainable Energy Use, Elementary School ed. Received from