SpectrUM Launches 2017 Bitterroot Summer of Science in Stevensville

June 13, 2017

MISSOULA – The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area’s 2017 Bitterroot Summer of Science launches Thursday, June 15, at the North Valley Public Library in Stevensville. Children of all ages are invited to celebrate with fun, hands-on science activities and liquid-nitrogen ice cream.

The Bitterroot Summer of Science is part of a long-term partnership with the Jane S. Heman Foundation to foster a vibrant STEM learning ecosystem in the Bitterroot Valley. Offering free, hands-on enrichment during the summer months when school is out, the Bitterroot Summer of Science complements visits from spectrUM’s mobile science program during the academic year. Hamilton’s Ravalli County Museum and the Darby Community Public Library have hosted the Summer of Science in previous years.

Free Summer of Science events at the North Valley Pubic Library in Stevensville include:

  • Science Thursday: Every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. June 15 to Aug. 17, children and families are invited to roll up their sleeves and engage in guided science activities, with rotating weekly themes including liquid nitrogen, slime, neuroscience, circuitry, dissections and more. 
  • Evening Lecture: On Tuesday, June 27, graduate students Kevin Trout and Forrest Jessop from the UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences will give a lecture titled “Nano Technology!” The free lecture, which is geared toward high school and adult community members, will begin at 6 p.m.
  • SpectrUM at the Stevensville Creamery Picnic: SpectrUM educators will lead an array of hands-on activities at the 105th annual Creamery Picnic, a summer highlight for the Stevensville community.

Children and families can also experience the Summer of Science in Hamilton at the Ravalli County Museum, which is hosting spectrUM’s “Nano: The Science of Small” exhibition. The exhibition explores structures and materials on the scale of nanometers. Museum admission is free on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday the exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission costs $3 for adults, $1 for students and seniors, and $6 for families.

The Jane S. Heman Foundation recently announced a new, $200,000 gift to spectrUM to create exhibits and programing designed to inspire children in the Missoula and Bitterroot region about making and tinkering, STEM and entrepreneurship. 

“We’re delighted to continue partnering with the Jane S. Heman Foundation, our Bitterroot advisory group and local K-12 schools and community partners to create learning experiences that align with the real workforce needs and priorities of Bitterroot communities,” said spectrUM director Holly Truitt.

Along with its efforts with the Jane S. Heman Foundation, spectrUM also partners with the Martin Family Foundation to build community capacity for making, entrepreneurship and role-model engagement in the Bitterroot communities of Hamilton and Corvallis.

Committed to inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, UM’s spectrUM Discovery Area serves more than 55,000 Montanans annually through in-museum and mobile programs. Since 2006, spectrUM has traveled exhibits and educators to 73 schools and four public libraries in 31 Montana counties, including all seven American Indian reservations in Montana. In total, spectrUM’s mobile science program has served over 52,000 people, of whom 30 percent are Native American and over 75 percent live in rural communities.

Additional spectrUM sponsors include the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Montana NSF EPSCoR, NASA, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, the Simons Foundation, GSK-Science in the Summer and the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation.

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Contact: Hannah Gimpel, associate director of finance, Broader Impacts Group, 406-243-4828, hannah.gimpel@umontana.edu.