Milpitas-based STEM nonprofit Science Buddies has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Battelle NEON STEM Grant Program. NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network, is an ecological observation facility sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed and operated by nonprofit research and development company, Battelle. NEON provides climate and atmospheric information for educational purposes.

The $25,000 grant will provide Science Buddies with weather and climate information data from sites nationwide, including ones right here in the Silicon Valley. The information provided by NEON includes numbers on soil, water, disease distribution, and animal migratory patterns, among other things. In the case of Science Buddies, the data will be used for teachers and other adults working in the K-12 system on projects devoted to studying the world around them.

“We’re always looking for ways to give students a fun and engaging way to explore science,” said Tina Lanese, Senior Vice President of Science Buddies. “We try to make science accessible to all students. Data sets can be a way to give them that access.”

Students who use NEON’s data through Science Buddies won’t have to gather the data themselves, which is often a costly and complicated process for schools to arrange. Instead, students will have information like mosquito populations and teachers will have lesson plans right at their fingertips.

Science Buddies, founded by engineer-philanthropist Kenneth Hess in 2001, provides free science-related activities and experiments for K-12 students and their parents and guardians. Science Buddies most recently hosted St. John’s School’s first STEM Fair last spring, allowing students to build everything from robots to radishes and show them off to the public.

Several Milpitas schools already use some of Science Buddies’s curriculum, including Calaveras Hills High School, Anthony Spangler Elementary School, and Merryhill School.

Lanese says the money from this grant will help students across the country better understand the value of STEM education. The climate data will give educators ideas for weather- and climate-related activities both in and out of the classroom. 

“What’s critical and exciting is students know what STEM concepts are and put them through practice through experimentation,” said Lanese. “That’s where we come in. They’re learning by doing.”

To learn more about Science Buddies, you can visit their website here.

To learn more about Battelle’s grant program, you can visit their website here.

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Lloyd Alaban
Lloyd Alaban is a reporter who has lived in Milpitas his entire life. He has a BA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz and a MS in Journalism & Mass Communications from San Jose State University. He has written for publications such as AsianWeek, realtor.com, Work+Money, SpareFoot, Uni Watch and San Jose Inside. He’s also worked at tech companies like Yahoo! and Google, and has subbed at every public school in Milpitas — except Pomeroy. In his spare time, he likes playing anything that has to do with trivia (especially watching Jeopardy!), running, drinking beer, reading, and playing with his Siberian Husky.

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