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Newsletter: February 2020


Network partners develop creative sustainability programming and practices for their organizations, visitors, and communities

Thirty museum professionals from museums, zoos and aquariums, science centers, and other organizations finished their participation in the Sustainability in Science and Technology Museum's Fellowship program, which included a two-day workshop to learn about sustainability and plan their own sustainability efforts. This is the first of three cohorts, and projects spanned the gamut of activities from improving organizational operations to designing new educational programs about sustainability to hosting community outreach events. Read more about the Sustainability Fellows and their projects, and find inspiration of your own.

Explore Science: Earth & Space kitting process

Fabricating 350 physical toolkits takes a dedicated project team that ensures all activities and resources have been properly assembled and packaged for safe delivery. The kitting process for the 2020 toolkit is nearing completion and will be shipping out to 350 toolkit recipients nationwide this month. Go behind the scenes of the kitting process and learn more about the 2020 toolkit.

Coming soon: Sustainable Futures program materials for Earth Day - April 22, 2020

A digital collection of new NISE Net public programs exploring sustainable futures will be available in March. Each program in the collection includes a complete set of digital resources, including training material for staff and volunteers. 


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22

Since 1970, Earth Day has increased awareness of the planet we live on, pollution, climate change, endangered species, and many other environmental issues. The NISE Network has compiled many resources to help you plan for Earth Day, week, and month activities:

NanoDays: Celebrate the biggest event for the smallest science taking place nationwide March 28 - April 5

NanoDays is an annual, nationwide festival about nanoscale science, engineering and technology and their impact on society. Explore the NISE Net's online archive of NanoDays kits (2008-2015) of hands-on activities and programs, training and promotional materials.


The NISE Network hosts free online workshops as professional development opportunities for our partners to share with and learn from each other. Online workshops take place on Tuesdays from 2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific. View upcoming online workshops at


The Science Behind the 2020 Earth & Space Toolkit - 3 Part Series

This three-part series of online workshops is focused on the science behind the 2020 Earth & Space toolkit activities. After a brief overview of each activity and its resources we'll hear from a panel of content experts.

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Using your toolkit to present the life cycle of stars (part 2)
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Asteroid mining (part 3)
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

Sustainability in Science Museums - 3 Part Series

This three-part series of online workshops is aimed at supporting Network partners in engaging their staff, visitors and communities in creating a sustainable future.

Sustainability in museums around the world: Working together to create a sustainable future (part 1)

Tuesday, February 18
2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

Sustainability and museum operations: Practices, partnerships, and resources to help your organization become more sustainable (part 2)

Tuesday, February 25
2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

Sustainability and museum visitors: Exhibits, programs, and other ways to engage the public (part 3)
Tuesday, March 3

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific


Arkansas State University hosts STEM Fest as part of the Arkansas Science Festival

By Jill Kary, Arkansas State University Museum

In honor of Arkansas Science Festival, seven Arkansas State University departments came together to host STEM Fest. The event was an explosive hit! More than 700 students in grades K-12 registered to attend this event and more than 100 volunteers assisted with STEM hands-on activities, some from NISE Net's Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit. Read the full partner highlight to see the hands-on fun students experienced at STEM Fest

Bringing multi-touch science learning into the classroom through pre-school teacher professional development

By Rori Leath, The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology

Throughout the fall and winter, The Works worked with twenty preschool teachers and their students to explore the concepts of day and night. Designed as a multi-touch program, staff worked with teachers and students in their schools as well as in their SciDome Planetarium at The Works. Read the full partner highlight to learn more about the additional training and supplies teachers received to encourage further classroom exploration

NISE Net resources help undergraduate researchers at Montana State University

By Suzi Taylor, Montana State University

When tasked with helping undergraduate students create hands-on activities for Crossroads of Discovery, a community outreach event, Suzi Taylor, Director of MSU's Science Math Resource Center, turned to NISE Net's online catalog of free resources for help. Since many students had never presented their work in a non-academic setting before, hearing visitors comment on how much they enjoyed interacting with students "beyond the poster" was a huge success. Read the full partner highlight for more about this undergraduate training and outreach event.


NISE Network online workshop recording and resources

View the recording and resources from the 2-4-2020 online workshop, The science behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkit – Virtual tour of a NASA mission prototyping and testing lab (part 1). 


Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 Toolkit - Part A digital materials available online

View and download Part A toolkit materials, including planning and promotional materials, training materials, hands-on STEM activities, media and graphics, Earth Day 50th anniversary resources, and more. 


NASA conversation: NASA Earth Science 101 and Earth Day 50th Anniversary

February 6 from 3-4pm ET / 12-1pm Pacific
Join this conversation to hear from NASA experts and ask your questions about NASA Earth science, and to learn how you can participate in NASA's Earth Day 2020 campaign. Learn more here (must be logged in to Museum Alliance).

Cosmic fireworks: Make your own festive galaxy with NASA's Astrophoto Challenge, open until February 29th

Join NASA's Universe of Learning for an exciting opportunity to use real astronomical data and tools to create your own images of the iconic starburst galaxy M82. Submit your astrophoto creations to the challenge and they may be highlighted and commented on by NASA experts. The challenge is open from December 2019 through February 2020; learn more and enter the challenge.

GLOBE Trees challenge 2020: Make every tree count

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 25th anniversary of the GLOBE Program, the NASA GLOBE Observer team is hosting a month-long citizen science challenge in April 2020 where volunteers are invited to measure the height of as many different trees as possible using the Trees tool in the GLOBE Observer app. Join a webinar on February 19th for more information on how to get involved and resources to support your programs.

2020 Science Events Festival: May 31-June 2 in Atlanta

The only meeting dedicated to live public science events. For anyone looking to refresh their network, reconsider why they do what they do, and re-energize their hopes for live events. Learn more and register now:


Discover activity ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into events, special programming, holidays, and seasonal activities by visiting



Upcoming events


Earth and Space News

NASA's How Are We Going to the Moon video
Between 1968 and 1972, America launched nine human missions to the Moon, six of which successfully touched down. NASA's next chapter of lunar exploration, called Artemis, has a mission to go back to the Moon and create a long-term human presence, but also to prepare for more complex missions to Mars. Download NASA's Artemis educational resources and outreach resources.

Vera Rubin gets a telescope of her own
As a young female astronomer, Dr. Rubin and her colleague discovered important evidence of the existence of dark matter, however many astronomers dismissed her findings at the time. Dr. Rubin passed away in 2016 but to honor her lifetime work, the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy have announced a new observatory in Chile to be named after her, and the first national observatory named after a woman. The Rubin Observatory will begin operating in 2022 and will investigate the cosmic push-pull between dark matter and dark energy in the universe. 

Chemistry News

One green chemist is mining zoo dung for biological helpers
A team of researchers have found that certain animal dung and its microbes could one day lead the way to producing greener fuels and chemicals. Potentially, agricultural leftovers could be the source food that fungi breakdown into smaller compounds like sugar, which are also rich in carbon - a major ingredient in most fuels, chemicals, and drugs. 

Synthetic Biology News

The gene drive dilemma; We can alter entire species, but should we?
With its ability to create powerful changes invisibly, genetic engineering can feel eerie to even the most rational. But with this ever-evolving science and technology, and its ability to improve our lives and environment, a more transparent and collaborative approach is needed where public audiences and communities are involved in the decision-making and implementation process. 

Nanotechnology News

Nanoparticle chomps away plaque that cause heart attacks
Scientists have invented a "Trojan Horse" nanoparticle that targets particular cell types and delivers a drug that stimulates the cell to eat diseased or dead cells in the plaque core. By removing these inflammatory cells, which are precursor cells to atherosclerosis, scientists believe that future clinical trials on the nanoparticle are expected to reduce the risk of most types of heart attacks. 


National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conferences

Boston (National) Conference – April 2-5, 2020 
STEM Forum & Expo in Louisville – July 22-24, 2020
Pittsburgh Conference
October 29-31, 2020
New Orleans Conference
November 19-21, 2020
Phoenix Conference 
– December 10-12, 2020

Learn more 

American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2020 National Meeting & Expo

March 22-26, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Registration open

Association of Children's Museums (ACM) InterActivity 2020

May 5-8, 2020; St. Louis, Missouri
Learn more

2020 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

May 17-20, 2020
San Francisco, California
Learn more - register now

American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 National Meeting & Expo  

August 16-20, 2020; San Francisco, California
Learn more -
abstract submission now open

Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) 2020 Annual Conference

October 17-20, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Learn more - Themed, New Frontiers 



Learn about upcoming opportunities, events, ways to grow professionally, and inspiring stories from network partners.