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Mount Washington Observatory Offers Free Programs to Area Schools

NORTH CONWAY, NH—March 17, 2011—Thanks to a grant from the Kendall C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation, the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory is offering area schools the opportunity to partake in their innovative distance learning programs completely free of charge. Utilizing videoconferencing technology, the programs connect classrooms to the summit of Mount Washington, where scientists living and working in the Observatory’s famous mountaintop weather station conduct live, interactive science programs. Since many area schools do not possess the videoconferencing technology required for this kind of live connection, the grant provides funds for transportation to the Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center, where students may participate utilizing the Observatory’s equipment. Twenty programs are available to the SAU 9, SAU 13 and MSAD 72 school districts on a first come, first served basis.

“We’ve been offering distance learning for the past two years, connecting with schools and science centers as far away as California, France and the South Pole,” says Observatory Director of Education Michelle Cruz. “But due to the technological requirements, many schools right here in the area have not been able to participate. We are thrilled to be able to offer these free programs.”

Bob Murphy, Executive Director of the Kendall C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation, echoes Cruz’s enthusiasm for the project. “Programs such as these, pertaining to the education of children, are very dear to the directors of the foundation. Investing in the education of our children is an investment in our future.”

Mount Washington Observatory distance learning programs are designed to fit the New Hampshire Frameworks and National Education Standards, and are geared toward grades 4-12. Topics range from life and work at the Mount Washington Observatory, to fundamentals of climate and the alpine environment. The programs are run from a special video studio in the Weather Discovery Center, where an Observatory educator facilitates the connection between the school and the summit weather station. Resident meteorologists take over from there, offering a one-of-a-kind educational experience based on their actual research and work in the Home of the World’s Worst Weather.

To reserve a program or inquire about bringing a program to your child’s school, simply contact Michelle Cruz at (603) 356-2137, x225 or education@mountwashington.org. These grant-funded programs must be redeemed by the end of October, 2011.

For more information about Mount Washington Observatory distance learning, visit MountWashington.org/DistanceLearning.

Mount Washington Observatory is a nonprofit, membership-supported research and educational institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been observing Mount Washington’s incredible extremes, conducting scientific research, educating the public about the science of weather and climate and amassing one of North America’s longest and most unique climate records. For weather reports, webcams, photos and more, visit MountWashington.org.

The mission of the Kendall C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of life for people living in the Mount Washington Valley and Bridgton and Fryeburg, Maine areas. For information on the grant process, contact Bob Murphy at the Ham Foundation, Post Office Box 2853, North Conway, NH 03860 or call (603) 356-3389. Applications for the next grant cycle must be received by July 31, 2011.

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