Grand opening of Discovery Center features the first astronaut with Native American heritage
Aug 16, 2016 | 6326 views | 0 0 comments | 289 289 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Canyon Country Discovery Center will celebrate a grand opening this weekend of the new facility in Monticello. The celebration will culminate a 15-year effort to develop the project, which becomes the home of the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education.

Anticipated highlights of the grand opening include a visit by Commander John B. Herrington, the first astronaut with Native American heritage.

Herrington, from the Chickasaw tribe, will discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all ages during his “Science of Flight” workshop and keynote address.

The Grammy Award-nominated R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will perform Saturday evening in a free concert beginning at 6:30 p.m. The renowned group explores the intersection of ethnic and jazz music.

For a full schedule of events, see the advertisement on page 5. A shuttle service will run between the Discovery Center and the parking lot of Inn at the Canyons throughout the day.

The Canyon Country Discovery Center is a new science and nature center, with indoor and outdoor learning stations.

Developed for culturally diverse audiences, the campus allows children and adults to explore and discover the natural history and landscapes, people and place, land use and energy, astronomy, water, and climate of the Colorado Plateau.

The project was initiated as a joint project between Four Corners School and the City of Monticello. The $8 million construction project was funded by a host of organizations, including private donors, non-profit organizations and local, state and federal governments.

The campus has been creatively designed as a place-based facility with an informal science center, riparian area, visual art installations, nature playscape, classroom, night sky observatory, research lab, conference room, bouldering wall, trails, and outdoor cultural pavilions.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with a host of free events, including educational demonstrations in the classrooms, the opening of the exhibit hall, cultural demonstrations at the learning pavilions, and bike races around the perimeter trail.

There are a number of musical performances, including folk music by Ryan Barnum at noon, bluegrass music by Jenna Talbott at 1 p.m. and Slim Pickins at 2 p.m. and folk/rock music by Scott Ibex at 3 p.m.

John Herrington will present a workshop on the science of flight at 2 p.m. followed by his keynote speech at 4 p.m.

A Star Party will be held in the observatory beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Four Corners School of Outdoor Education is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Monticello, specializing in place-based and hands-on learning experiences for schools, teachers, travelers, youth, and adventurers. 

Their new campus, the Canyon Country Discovery Center, is a visitor destination with a mission to create lifelong learning experiences about the Colorado Plateau for people of all age and backgrounds through education, service, adventure, and conservation programs.
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