There and Back Again, Grand Canyon Edition

Deer Creek Falls

Josh Rosenau and I have just returned from NCSE’s annual rafting trip down the Colorado River and through the spectacular geology and biology of Grand Canyon. Our two motorized boats were packed with an eclectic mix of scientists, teachers, NCSE members, and people who wanted the ultimate experience in Grand Canyon in the company of those who love science.

But this year there was a twist.

2015 Grand Canyon rafters

NCSE sponsored a scholarship for two science teachers, who were selected (with difficulty) from a large pool of talented applicants. Rafting Grand Canyon is not cheap, and we knew that given how poorly most teachers are compensated for their hard work, this is an experience that is simply out of reach for too many. So we decided to do something about that, directly.

Our two teacher scholarship winners, Scott Hatfield and Alyson Miller, experienced the trip of a lifetime. We’ll be hearing more from them in these pages, so I’ll leave it to them to tell you all about it.

NCSE has a long history of supporting science teachers (as well as parents and students). Although we’ve occasionally done things such as professional development workshops, most of our teacher support has been in the manner of a firefighter combating a blossoming inferno. We put out fires. But like parched California brush in a heatwave, creationist and anti-climate science flareups just keep reigniting.

We want to do more than put out fires—we want to help teachers in their profession and have fun at the same time. This is why we’ve started a new network for teachers, NCSE Teach, and are working on other initiatives as well.

grand canyon cliffs

Our Grand Canyon teacher scholarships reflects this new focus. We hope to bring as many teachers as possible on this amazing experience, surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of one the world’s last remaining wild places, in the company of friends with a passion for science.


If you would like to help us fund future teacher scholarships, click here.

If you are interested in joining us on next year’s rafting trip (tentatively scheduled July 1-8, 2016), click here.

grand canyon


Short Bio

Steve Newton is a former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.