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Centers and Large Facilities - Education and Outreach

Project Name : National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (STC, class of 2002)

Location:  national center, headquarters at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Contact information: Karen Campbell, Education Director

Website :

Main Project description/purpose

NCED's purpose is to catalyze development of an integrated, predictive science of the processes shaping the surface of the Earth, in order to transform management of ecosystems, resources, and land use.

NCED is a partnership of research and educational institutions, government agencies, and industry that pursues its goal of predictive Earth-surface science by integrating physical, biological, and social sciences. Our research mission is to provide the science needed for landscape prediction and restoration. We achieve research synthesis by focusing on a fundamental component of the Earth-surface system – channel networks and their surroundings – that recurs in varying but fundamentally related forms across a wide range of environments and scales. We collaborate in the application of our research with partners to identify knowledge gaps and develop tools to forecast landscape dynamics, guide landscape management, restore river systems, and promote environmental awareness. NCED shares the excitement of landscape science with a diverse community, exchanging perspectives through partnering, nurturing, and interacting in formal and informal education settings.

Education and Outreach Mission and Goals

Mission: The familiarity and natural appeal of landscapes, and the methods of NCED’s integrative research approach, provide rich opportunities to excite students about science and encourage them to pursue careers in many areas of science and policy.   At the same time, NCED’s research mission is enriched by the inclusion of diverse voices. The environmental sciences have generally underperformed other areas of science and engineering in minority representation.  For long-term success, efforts must be made to interest minority students in the sciences at an early age, and to sustain that interest over the course of their educational careers.  To achieve this, NCED must itself be a model of a diverse research and learning community.

Goals: Bring Earth-surface dynamics to life for a broad spectrum of learners, in order to educate future leaders in NCED’s key mission areas of land, resource, and ecosystem management.  Increase participation by underrepresented groups in NCED scientific disciplines until minority representation is continuously reflective of the US national population. This includes an immediate improvement in participation by members of all under-represented groups in NCED itself, and a specific focus on improvement in representation of Native Americans in NCED-related disciplines.

Primary Audience(s) served (i.e., high school teachers, college students, etc.)

NCED serves a broad spectrum of learners, in formal and informal settings, from museum goers, to K-16 students and teachers, to graduate students.