2017 has been a great year for the Science Booster Club Program. Thanks to the support of our donors, the efforts of our volunteers, and the enthusiasm of our staff, we’ve succeeded in our national expansion. From serving over 50,000 people in Iowa in 2016, we’re scheduled to serve over 120,000 people across ten states in 2017. As you can see in the map below, we are working in a broad, largely connected area stretching from Nebraska to the Eastern seaboard.
I am so grateful for the ability to reach so many people with education about climate change and evolution. Access to these topics, which are so essential for understanding our world, is very limited in some of the areas where we work. Understanding these topics is not necessarily as simple as going online. When you live in an area where these topics are highly controversial, handled as matters of opinion or belief, or frequently presented with misconceptions, it can be hard to know what to trust. The SBCs put a friendly, approachable face on these scientific issues, and on the scientific community. Many people have never had anyone want to talk with them, rather than at them, about science.
Encounters with people who have previously had negative impressions of scientists and the scientific community are the outcome of the Science Booster Club Program I most value. When we meet people on the ground who have been leery of evolution or skeptical of climate change, and they feel comfortable talking with us, that’s when we know our programs are in the right places, serving people the right way. These encounters let us know when we are reaching outside of our typical audience, and really serving the broad American public.
In 2018, we’ll be working to develop new content to bring people more hands-on experiences with evolution and climate change. As the clubs mature, we know we’ll be bringing these experiences to hundreds of thousands of people. We keep costs low, but if it costs ten cents a head to reach a person with one of these activities, and we’re working with hundreds of thousands of people … well, you can do the math.
The support of private, individual donors has been the main engine propelling the expansion and sustainability of our programs. When you give to the SBC program, you can know that we are making every dollar count. Every dollar you give is helping us reach people in places where there may be no other public voice for science
I thank every one of you for helping us do this work. The SBC program was little more than an idea in the summer of 2015. Now it is a thriving national program. By choosing to support NCSE this Giving Tuesday, you are helping to build a constructive national dialog on the issues that matter to us all.