This is an SOS. The Explorit Science Center is in trouble. They're within a hair's breadth of having to close their doors, folks, and that's not good.
What's the Explorit Science Center, you ask? It's a little community-based, non-profit organization in Davis that teaches hands-on science to kids. They have a big building where you can touch and play with stuff, they put on week-long science camps for kids so their parents can get them out of the house in the summer encourage science learning in their offspring, and they go out into classrooms and teach kids stuff about how the world works.
What these people do is teach science to kids. I don't care if you have kids, know kids, or even like kids. Kids grow up to be people and people grow up to vote and buy stuff and make more people. Does it piss you off when people run around saying that global warming is a farse made up by attention-seeking nerds in lab coats or that Darwin's theory of evolution is a heretical crock? Then you need to teach kids science. And these folks at Explorit? They're doing that for you.
Here's something you may not have known about me. When I was in college, I wanted to be a science teacher for small fry. I took a lot of classes to that effect and I learned something fairly staggering. An overwhelming majority of elementary school teachers aren't confortable teaching science to their students. It's no wonder that kids don't have much interest by the time they hit high school.
Marginally related story:
Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and Luke was holding an orange. "This is us and we turn!" he triumphantly called out to me. I raised an eyebrow at Shawn.
"Back up, kiddo, and explain it to Mommy."
"This is the Earth!" he told me. Three-year-olds speak about everything with exclaimation points. He jabbed at the little Sunkist sticker. "And this is where we live! And we turn! And this is morning!" He spun the orange around half-way. "And this is bedtime!" He spun it again. "And this is morning!" He continued on in this way, proudly turning his orange around and around while Shawn and I discussed the finer points of celestial geography over his head.
"You want to know something else?" I said. "The Earth..." [dramatic pause] "...revolves around the sun!"
"Whoa!" he whispered.
Soon I was standing in the middle of the kitchen and Luke and Shawn were running around me in a circle trying to turn the orange at the same time and shouting out "Spring!" and "Summer!" and "Winter!" and "Fall!" and all of us were laughing so hard we were in danger of falling over.
Then our neighbor walked over from next door and Luke jumped orbit, running around her and yelling out the seasons.
Shawn and I looked at each other and laughed. "Back up, kiddo," I said, "and tell Auntie Jenny how it works."
See? Science is fun. And if you can make it fun, it sticks. And if it sticks, these kids grow up into smarter, more useful people. And these Explorit people make it fun.
So help them out. Donate a few bucks. Or spread the word to people who will. Or – here's a wild and crazy idea – how about both?
Explorit officials say it will take about $600,000 to get them through this. That isn't that much really. If everyone in Davis gave them ten bucks, they'd be set. Hell, I'm not even in Davis, and I gave them twenty. So pass the word around and pass the hat. Blog, tweet, email, or do whatever the hell you people on Facebook do. These are good folks trying to do a good thing to keep people from getting stupider with subsequent generations.