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Join us! The COPUS Coalition and Year of Science 2009 Promote Public Understanding of Science

Summer 2007

Dear AIBS Member Societies and Organizations:

Americans will be empowered to appreciate the pragmatic outcomes of science, to distinguish science from non-science, and to participate in social discourse that provides insight into the nature of science.

Launched with the simple vision statement above, many wonderful things have been happening with the creation of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) and plans for Year of Science 2009 since they got underway earlier in 2007. Astoundingly, more than 70 participating organizations have already registered to participate, making for an increasingly broad and diverse coalition with promises of even more growth and inclusiveness. In addition, we are delighted to announce that the National Science Teachers Association and University of California Museum of Paleontology have joined AIBS and the Geological Society of America as sponsoring organizations. The COPUS website is full of new content, and the roster at www.copusproject.org/participants.php includes professional associations in most scientific disciplines as well as the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, numerous museums, university departments, NGOs, cultural organizations, and Cafe Scientifique chapters. Your organization, as a member of AIBS, is invited to join in the efforts by registering online at www.copusproject.org/register on the COPUS website.

Once registered and having received online access information via return email, you can go to the participants login area at www.copusproject.org/listings to begin entering your organization’s applicable programs and events to the ever-growing public database located at www.copusproject.org/find_listings so that others in COPUS as well as the general public can learn about your activities to promote the public understanding of science.

The foundation of our collective efforts is the development of the following three resources to help promote a greater public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society.

1. COPUS -- the Coalition itself is the ongoing communication & collaboration network with like-minded organizations that we plan to keep in place for many years to allow the sharing of information about the public understanding of science among organizations and with the general public: www.copusproject.org

2. The Year of Science 2009 -- is a 12-month period of activities and celebrations of science put on by the organizations involved in COPUS that will be registered in the COPUS website's publicly searchable database of events and programs: www.yearofscience2009.org

3. The Understanding Science website -- COPUS and Year of Science 2009 efforts will soon be collaborating with this exciting new content-rich website being developed at the University of California Museum of Paleontology and set to launch later in 2007. The website will support K-16 science teaching with a conceptual framework for teaching the nature of science at all grade spans, a searchable database of vetted teaching resources, and strategies for integrating and reinforcing the nature of science within content areas mandated by state and national science standards: www.understandingscience.org

We had a very productive session at the May 2007 AIBS Council Meeting where many AIBS member societies and organizations participated in the cultivation of ideas to help make COPUS successful. It is important that AIBS and its members continue to work together on these efforts.

We have recently posted FAQs that should answer nearly all of your questions about participation in the COPUS network: www.copusproject.org/faqs.php.

There is no cost to participate. This Coalition is about building a community of our science peers, sharing and learning new ways to be more effective in our public outreach efforts, and crossing disciplinary boundaries.

If you have any additional questions about COPUS, please contact Sheri Potter at spotter@aibs.org

Sincerely,

The AIBS Board and staff

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