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OUR PHILOSOPHY

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KEEPING FOSSILS IN WYOMING

For more than 150 years dinosaurs and other fossils have been excavated from ranches across Eastern Wyoming.  Few have remained here. None have stayed in Niobrara County. We aim to change that by placing dinosaurs on display for the benefit of our local communities and the economic benefit of visitors passing through and stopping to learn about local cultural and natural history. 

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THE THREE PILLARS of S.T.E.M.

Three big ideas are foundational to how science serves society in the 21st century. We must preserve the biosphere, while we embrace new technology and industry, and simultaneously ensure all learners have the skills they need to make decisions about their future.

PROTECT NATURAL RESOURCES

Whether you're a biologist or rancher, understanding and respecting nature around us is essential to our well being. Nature provides resources society utilizes to thrive, and how we treat other life reflects who we are, therefore learning about biology, ecology make us better stewards of the world around us.  

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BUILD THE FUTURE

The role of technology and industry in the 21st century is changing fast, including the amazing potential to benefit society, but also existential risks that threaten us all. S.T.E.M. education will provide youth the tools to manage and mitigate the opportunities and threats the future may bring.

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ELEVATE ALL PEOPLE

Equity in access to knowledge and resources underlies our belief that ALL people must thrive together.  The next scientist, CEO or community leader is sitting in a classroom today.  Decentralizing science centers from cities to small towns will level the playing field.

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DECENTRALIZE SCIENCE:
BUILDING NATURE AND SCIENCE CENTERS IN SMALL TOWNS ACROSS THE U.S. PROVIDES EQUAL ACCESS TO SCIENCE RESOURCES FOR LEARNERS OF ALL AGES, MUCH LIKE WHAT ANDREW CARNEGIE DID FOR LIBRARIES IN THE U.S. 

We aim to model what Andrew Carnegie did for literacy and libaries across the United States. Between 1883 and 1929, Andrew Carnegie funded 2,509 libraries worldwide, with 1,689 in the US.  By 1919, almost half of the 3,500 US libraries were Carnegie libraries.  Literacy in the United States rapidly increased across the country.

Carnegie would give grants to build buildings and buy books if local governments could show they:

  • Needed a public library

  • Had a site for the building

  • Would pay staff and maintain the library

  • Would use some public funds to run the library

  • Annually provide 10% of the cost of the library's construction to support its operation

  • Would make sure service was free for everyone

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All Carnegie libraries built by 1920

LIBRARIES = LITERACY
SCIENCE CENTERS = SCIENCE LITERACY

Public access to knowledge  is essential to societal well-being and a thriving democracy. Studies show that science centers facilitate a "scientifically and technologically informed, engaged, and literate public" (Falk et al., 2016).  In one study of libraries in small towns, patent applications increased by 7-11 percent in the 20 years following library construction (Berkes & Nencka, 2021). Science centers, when as abundant and distributed as libraries, will allow society to increasingly face the challenges ahead.

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