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SUPPORT NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION through imagine8!

Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project

“Bringing DINOSAURS to Iowa”

www.paleoproject.org

Marion’s Imagine8 Campaign announced their “Great 8” ideas during 2009’s first “Marion By Moonlight” concert in Marion Square Park on June 4.  Natural science educational programming and exhibits are included as part of Idea #4 “Park It,” an idea for improving their city parks.  Click here to learn more about Imagine8 through their web site.  In cooperation with representatives from area organizations, we submitted the following idea to the Selection Committee in petition form with the names of over 250 supporters attached!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The EIPP Board of Directors and guests meet for another brainstorming session on February 24, 2009 to generate ideas for Marion’s Imagine8 Initiative.  A subsequent brainstorming session at the Marion Public Library on March 23, 2009 was attended by representatives from various area organizations and generated even more ideas related to natural science education!

 

Marion should invest in new opportunities for NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION in the community to strengthen its commitment to children, families, "green" business development, and a sustainable future.

 

SIGN UP NOW TO SERVE ON IMAGINE8 COMMITTEES!

 

Plan to sign up now for committees related to Marion’s “Great 8” ideas!  You don’t have to be a Marion resident to participate!  We especially want to encourage you to serve on the committee for “Great 8” Idea #4 “Park It.”  This committee will be working to improve Marion’s city parks, with one option being natural science educational programming and exhibits at Lowe Park.

 

If we don’t already have your email address, click here to contact us so you too can be involved in our “Natural Science Education Initiative.”  We will keep you up to date regarding efforts related to Marion’s Imagine8 Campaign.  Thanks to all of you who have helped out so far – we continue to need your help as things move forward.  We also want to hear from any newcomers  who would like to be involved!  With your continued help, we just might see the goals of the Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project achieved in Marion, Iowa!

 

Ideas related to natural science education were developed and submitted to Imagine8 by individuals representing area organizations who attended several brainstorming sessions.  Many of these ideas are listed below.  Most of these ideas were developed in paragraph form prior to submission – if you wish for more details about any of these ideas, please contact us.  The complete text of a special combination idea for a “Nature Campus” in Marion is at the bottom of the list.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, Marion should construct a new state-of-the-art NATURE MUSEUM similar to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education and build a strong community, Marion should establish a volunteer-maintained BOTANIC GARDEN.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education and show it’s commitment to the future, Marion should develop a SUSTAINABILITY CENTER to focus on issues related to “green” construction methods, environmentally-friendly landscaping, renewable energy, and other sustainable living concepts.

 

IDEA:  Marion’s CITY PARKS should be further developed to provide opportunities in natural science education for our youth.

 

IDEA:  New natural science EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING should be developed in Marion under the theme “Celebrating Nature Today: Learning from the Past – Preparing for the Future.”

 

IDEA:  Marion needs a HANDS-ON LEARNING CENTER & TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER to enhance the classroom experiences of area students in the natural sciences.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, we should establish a MUSEUM OF PALEONTOLOGY including dinosaur exhibits, educational programming, children's activities, expeditions and research in Marion.

 

IDEA:  Marion should establish a ZOOLOGICAL PARK with a focus on native wildlife to provide opportunities in natural science education for our children and families.

 

IDEA:  New natural science EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING should be developed at MARION HIGH SCHOOL in conjunction with the opening of their new science wing.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, Marion should establish a NATURE COMPLEX to include a nature museum, sustainability center, botanic garden and zoological center.

 

IDEA:  Marion should establish a new NATURE CENTER for our community with a distinct focus to enhance the classroom experiences of area students in the natural sciences.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, we should establish educational exhibits and programming related to local/regional GEOLOGY, PALEONTOLOGY, and ARCHAEOLOGY in Marion.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, Marion should develop educational programming related to ASTRONOMY and construct a state-of-the-art PLANETARIUM!

 

IDEA:  Marion should plant an ARBORETUM to provide natural science education opportunities for our children and families.

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, we should turn Linn County Solid Waste into a PLASMA ARC TREATMENT CENTER that would double as a SCIENCE MUSEUM.

 

IDEA:  Marion should establish a DINOSAUR MUSEUM to provide opportunities in natural science education for our youth!

 

IDEA:  To promote natural science education, Marion should construct a new ZOOLOGICAL CENTER that would restore and rehabilitate native wildlife.

 

IDEA:  Marion should build more RAIN GARDENS in parks and on other public land and erect outdoor educational signs at each (especially Lowe Park)  to teach the public about their many benefits including reduced soil erosion, water table recharging, lower runoff into streams, reduced water pollution, cooler stream temperatures and improved fish and wildlife habitat.

 

IDEA:  A PLANETARIUM and ASTRONOMY EXHIBITS should be included in a science museum or science center in Marion.

 

IDEA:  Marion should develop a “NATURE CAMPUS” in the community with the theme “Celebrating Nature Today: Learning from the Past – Preparing for the Future” to provide new opportunities in natural science education for our youth and families.

 

This proposed “Nature Campus” would be similar to Chicago’s Museum Campus or to a typical college campus with many stops and buildings around town.  By investing in this future “Nature Campus,” Marion would be strengthening its commitment to children, families, "green" business development, and a sustainable future.  We must start with our youth if we are to advance concern for nature and the environment.  Also, our country is falling far behind other nations in preparing our children for the most important challenges of the future. 

 

We could start the project by planning new EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING based upon the proposed theme, and by promoting stops that already exist in town including Faulks Heritage Woods, the Lowe Park Arts & Environmental Center, and even the Marion Public Library which could establish a special “Books on Nature” section.  A special annual “Nature Fair” in Marion with workshops, presentation of children’s projects, and nature-related activities could even be developed in the early stages of this project.  We could then continue with educational DEVELOPMENT OF CITY PARKS and other green spaces to include gardens, educational signage, and informational kiosks in cooperation with the Marion Parks & Recreation Department.

 

Later additions could include a new NATURE MUSEUM, BOTANIC GARDEN with large greenhouse including butterflies, SUSTAINABILITY CENTER addressing environmental issues, MUSEUM of PALEONTOLOGY including DINOSAURS, PLANETARIUM with astronomy programming, HANDS-ON LEARNING CENTER, TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER, and/or ZOOLOGICAL PARK/CENTER including native wildlife rehabilitation and breeding programs for endangered species.  Educational exhibits at these locations would include interactive stations to get children “learning by doing.”  Exhibits and educational programs related to native plants and wildlife, and local geology and paleontology finds would allow us to showcase our local and regional heritage.  All of these plans fit each part of the proposed theme: “Celebrating Nature Today” (green space development) – “Learning from the Past” (paleontology) – and “Preparing for the Future” (sustainability issues).  Note that each of the capitalized ideas here has been separately developed and submitted to the Imagine8 Selection Committee by brainstormers representing various groups in the “Natural Science Education Initiative.”

 

Each child in Eastern Iowa would be issued a “passport” through his/her school as part of this project.  Children who get all of the locations on the local “Nature Campus” stamped would be entered into a regular drawing for a science-related educational prize.  An expansion of the “passport” idea would include many natural science satellite locations – children who also get these locations stamped would be entered into special prize drawings.  Children can earn certificates as well by completing special projects related to their visits.  Satellite locations could include Indian Creek Nature Center, Wikiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, the Science Station, Devonian Fossil Gorge at Coralville Dam, UI Museum of Natural History, Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center, Children’s Museum of Iowa in Coralville, and the UI Macbride Raptor Project to name a few.  Schools would plan trips to help students complete their passports.  Families and other tourists would use a widely-available “Nature Map” to find points of interest on the “Nature Campus” including satellite locations, even using the popular “geocaching” method to log their visits at educational stops.  Trails could be further developed to connect the many components of the local “Nature Campus” in Marion with future expansion to satellite locations.  These ideas would allow for mutual promotion of all area nature-related locations and would allow us to draw on their resources and expertise as well!  It would also promote tourism in Marion by drawing visitors in from all of Eastern Iowa and beyond!

 

Many local and regional nonprofit organizations as diverse as Friends of the Marion Parks, Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project, wastenotIOWA, Cedar Valley Rocks & Minerals Society, Tarkio Valley Sloth Project, Cedar Amateur Astronomers,  Mid America Paleontology Society, and Trees Forever could be involved in the various stages of this large project.  Research efforts and educational programming would involve students, teachers, and faculty from area schools, colleges, and universities; allowing funding options to include educational grants as well as scientific grants.  Even the Boy Scouts & Girls Scouts would want to be actively involved in developing this project!  A bold educational, recreational and environment-oriented initiative aimed at children, families and tourists would be an unmistakable signal to entrepreneurs and relocating businesses that Marion understands the most important issue of our time and is committed to developing in clean, green directions and training its youth for the industries of tomorrow.