Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Project Exploration

You may have noticed a new button on my sidebar that looks like this:
Project Exploration

If you click on it, you will be transported to the homepage of one of my favourite science educational programs - the Project Exploration. This project is the brainchild of paleontologist Paul Sereno and his wife, historian and educator Gabrielle Lyons.

If you do not know who Paul Sereno is, you are probably not interested in dinosaurs at all, as he is the #1 Big Star of Dinosaur Paleontology. Among else, he has discovered Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, one of the largest dinosaur carnivores - the African version of T.rex. Jobaria tiguidensis is the best preserved skeleton of a long-necked dinosaur. Sarcosuchus imperator, better known as Supercroc was big enough crocodile to hunt and eat dinosaurs. He has also discovered Eoraptor lunensis and Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, two of the oldest dino fossils belonging to some of the earliest dinosaurs. Deltadromeus agilis, discovered by Gabrielle Lyons, was one of the fastest dinosaurs ever.

I had a good fortune to see Sereno give a talk and briefly to introduce myself to him, at the 2000 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Chicago. My brother knows him much better, as he and Gabrielle knew each other from grad school. Thanks to their friendship I got, over the years, a bunch of informational materials from the Project Exploration, as well as some really cool stuff, like some Sahara sand, a small plant fossil and several T-shirts that you cannot buy - they are not for sale. One day when I get out of financial problems, I will make it an annual ritual to donate to their program, devoted to bringing excitement about science to inner-city schoolchildren, particularly minorities and girls. In the meantime, I hope that you donate. They do not take any money from the government and depend on individual donations for their operation. You can donate your money, or alternatives (stocks, time, work), easily through their website.

So, click on the button now, or whenever you want in the future, to see what they are doing, to get help if you are a science teacher, or to donate to a worthy cause.

Update: Tara reminds me that it may be important to show you their financial report, as well as the outcomes of their work:
Our programs are creating pipelines to future careers in science:

* Students participating in our field programs are graduating high school at an 18% higher rate than their peers.
* Students are pursuing science in college—25% of all students and 34% of our girls declare science as their major.
* The girls in our programs are pursuing science in college at five times the national average.

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