Burroughs Wellcome Fund underwrites ambitious program at Aurora Fossil Museum

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burroughs-wellcome-fundAURORA – The Burroughs Wellcome Fund announced this week a generous grant to the Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation, as part of the fund’s Student Science Enrichment Program.

Museum director Cindy Crane said the popular museum, located in downtown Aurora, will use the funding to partner with East Carolina University and PotashCorp-Aurora. The triumvirate — in conjunction with Burroughs Wellcome Fund — have plans to offer ‘IMAGINE-NC’ – an initiative designed to ‘Integrate Mathematics and Geology In Eastern North Carolina.’


“This is HUGE news for the Aurora Fossil Museum, the families of the Town of Aurora, and Beaufort County,” explained an ecstatic Crane during a brief telephone interview.

Officials say that content-rich and engaging out-of-school activities can improve students’ in-school performance in mathematics and science – which is what popular student trips to the Fossil Museum are all about!!

To address low end-of-grade test scores among students in grades 3 through 8 in Beaufort County — and increase interest in STEM careers (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) — the IMAGINE-NC project developed jointly by the
Aurora Fossil Museum; the geosciences and education faculty from East Carolina University; and staffers with nearby PotashCorp-Aurora.

According to Crane, IMAGINE-NC consists of three components:

1) Two week-long, non-residential summer camps, serving approximately 60 students in grades 4 through 8.
2) Four weekend activities during the school year for parents, students and teachers
3) Support for teachers during the school year with inquiry-based, integrated, science/mathematics activities.

Crane and her staff at the museum are expected to provide recruiting, the camp venue, financial oversight and management of the project, website design and maintenance, and avid participation by:

• Crane, the museum’s director, who doubles as a paleontologist experienced in science outreach!
• ECU science faculty, providing science expertise and access to equipment, such as a research vessel and drill rig.
• ECU education faculty, offering experience with problem-based learning techniques, curriculum, and integration of science and mathematics activities.
• PotashCorp-Aurora, providing transportation for students, their lunches, and use of company facilities and grounds.

Crane explained that all activities are to be developed collaboratively by the IMAGINE-NC staff. For more information, contact Cindy Crane at (252) 322-4238, or e-mail: aurfosmus@yahoo.com