Campbell Creek Science Center: 25-years strong thanks to Friends and curious minds

Scott Claggett

The BLM Campbell Creek Science Center is the perfect outdoor classroom, where learning and science come to life. As we continue the 25th birthday celebration of Campbell Creek Science Center, we proudly recognize the many partners of Campbell Creek Science Center who bring environmental education and interpretive programs to life.  

From collaborating on education activities to providing funding for programs, equipment, and materials, the support of partners from across Alaska helps make the Science Center’s dynamic outdoor programs possible. 

Excited children run through the snow down the trail during a program at the Campbell Creek Science Center.
Donated funds help purchase cold-weather gear to keep children warm while participating in learning and enrichment activities at the CCSC. Photo: BLM/Bob Wick

One of these partners is The Friends of the Campbell Creek Science Center. This valuable partner has been key in the Science Center’s success since 2005. The Friends is a charitable nonprofit organization that is dedicated to supporting the educational programs and initiatives of the Science Center. Primarily they seek to address unmet science education needs of Alaskans. Most significantly, the Friends provide funding to bring thousands of underserved school children to the Science Center for place-based field trips each year. In addition, they supply equipment, such as snowshoes and winter clothing for program participants, and organize refreshments for program and event volunteers and attendees. 

The Friends seek grant opportunities and funding sources to make programs happen, such as summer programs for recently arrived refugees and immigrants to Alaska. Students whose family incomes are below the federal poverty threshold can qualify for a scholarship that lets them experience field trips at the Science Center. This improves accessibility to educational programs for all Alaskans- something that is near and dear to the missions of the staff of both the Science Center and the Friends. 

 

A group of people in the snowDescription automatically generated with medium confidence
Support from the Friends of Campbell Creek Science Center helped purchase snowshoes for students to enjoy while at the CCSC. Photo: BLM/CCSC staff 

Another way the Friends provide valuable support to the Science Center is through the purchase of equipment and materials. This allows Science Center learners to engage with the programs using the best materials available. Having the best materials available provides for a deeper learning experience, as the Science Center can leverage these tools in exciting, informative ways. One way the Friends have supported the Science Center during the COVID-19 pandemic was through the Center for Interactive Learning Community (CILC), which ensures the Science Center can provide accessible distance learning programs to teachers across Alaska and the United States. Last year alone, the Science Center taught more than 1,000 virtual students through the platform and was recognized by CILC with the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Distance Learning.  

Finally, the Science Center’s volunteers and visitors benefit from the partnership with the Friends by hospitality, unity and teamwork.  

“The Friends work closely with the Campbell Creek Science Center to align our organizational goals. They have supported strategic goals, such as virtual learning and place-based field trips, which means the Science Center can reach a larger and more diverse audience to share about public lands and Alaska’s natural and cultural resources,” said Campbell Creek Science Center Manager Nancy Patterson.  

The Friends provide comfort and hospitality to visitors and volunteers of the Science Center. 

“The Friends Board always gets energized when planning events with the center staff. Instead of two separate groups, it feels like a big team!” expressed Board President Lia Keller. 

The Friends are just one example of the many amazing partners that allow the Science Center to succeed. Each year, the Science Center works with more than 30 partners to share Alaska’s natural and cultural resources and public land through educational programs for children and adults. Learn More about the Friends of Campbell Creek Science Center: http://www.friendsofcampbellcreek.org/ 

The Partnership Toolkit highlights Friends of Campbell Creek Science Center on pages 32-33: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/policies/IB2020-019_att1.pdf