MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (September 8th, 2004) Hawaii has been selected as one of 13 national sites for the Journey through the Universe program run by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. In partnership with the Hawaii State Department of Education, the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Keck and Gemini Observatories, the proposal was recently accepted and a local team of 18 members representing a broad cross section of the community has begun working on the long-term program.

“The timing for bringing this program to Hilo couldn’t be better, with the needs we have for teaching science to our students,” said complex area superintendent Valerie Takata. “This is exactly the kind of partnership programming we need with local observatory and NASA scientists working together with teachers to inspire our students to aim high.”

Journey Week is a week long celebration of learning which will take place January 21 to 28th, 2005. The main components of Journey Week are teacher training, classroom visits, family science nights and community events. In the first year of the program the Journey through the Universe team will provide and train more than 130 school teachers with astronomy and space science curriculum; visit more than 100 classrooms in grades K-6, 8, 10 and 12; hold two major family science nights and work with community partners for special events and promotions. The program will reach all 17 schools (including charter) in the Hilo/Waiakea/Laupahoehoe Complex. The team plans to submit additional applications to expand the program to North and West Hawaii in 2007.

“It took more than two years to pull together this all-star team and submit the community application for Journey Week,” said Laura Kraft, public information and outreach officer at the W. M. Keck Observatory. “Journey Week is the first step in an ongoing campaign to connect our local teachers to the resources of our science community,” she said.

Journey Week team members include teachers and curriculum specialists, informal science educators at the University of Hilo and the Institute for Astronomy, representatives of civic and business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Office of Mauna Kea Management, as well representatives from local newspapers, radio stations and other community members. The curriculum has been reviewed and approved by Hawaii curriculum specialists and is aligned to Hawaii State Content Performance Standards.

The W. M. Keck Observatory is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy. CARA is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation, whose board of directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.