Big Flats – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded the Wings of Eagle Discovery Center (WEDC) $1,249,678 to help inspire the next generation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers as the agency progresses on its Journey to Mars.

The award will be used to create a Martian Base exhibit, associated NASA STEM curriculum, and an educator professional development pilot program linking the WEDC to local underserved classrooms through novel and existing NASA-STEM Mars-themed curriculum.  The target population is K-12 students from the Elmira City School District (ECSD) their teachers, families as well as the general public.

The Mars Base Eagle exhibit will establish a permanent museum installation from which STEM programming will be launched. The interactive display will feature real-word data and inquiry challenges to demonstrate real world STEM applications including NASA-Mars transport vehicle design concepts, Mars Base design concepts, microgravity and possible effects on the human body of traveling to Mars, transport vehicle designs, agricultural methods, and types of food crops being planned for a Mars Base.

The Wings of Eagles Discovery Center will partner with Greater Southern Tier BOCES, Elmira City School District, Cornell University, Ithaca College, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, NASA Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers to complete the project.

“I have long been a supporter of the Wings of Eagle Discovery Center, one of New York’s treasures. I am pleased that NASA has recognized the important work it does and funded their proposal.  Through increasing community partnerships and by expanding on the already stellar STEM education programs it offers to children across the region, this award will allow the center to soar to new heights. I look forward to their future successes as the Center grows its mission and expands its footprint in the Southern Tier and beyond.” – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

“This NASA grant will bring exciting, new programs to the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center so that students across the Southern Tier can learn about our space program and be inspired to take on STEM careers when they grow up,” said US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to give our students, regardless of income level, opportunities to study STEM subjects, and this NASA grant will help us achieve this important goal. I was proud to support this funding, and I will continue to support similar educational programs in communities around the state.”

Said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli, “Chemung County has had a long partnership with the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center and we are proud to be the hometown of Eileen Collins.  It is only fitting that this award from NASA will be used to provide students of her alma mater with the same opportunities that she had and allow them to advance their critical thinking skills through STEM education through a journey into Mars exploration.”

Said Mike Hall, President and CEO, Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, “Along with our many partners we are excited by this tremendous opportunity to serve youth in our community! Special thanks to our federal elected representatives who made this grant possible!”