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Feb. 4, 1999

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

(Phone: 650/604-5026 or 604-9000)



NASA Ames today announced the award winning "bug catchers" that Bay Area students made as part of the 1999 JASON Project X: "Rainforests – A Wet and Wild Adventure."

Students vied for prizes and a chance to test bug-catchers in the Peruvian Amazon during the JASON Project March 1-12, 1999. The contest included youngsters competing in three categories, third through fifth grades, sixth through seventh grades and eighth through twelfth grades.

"Bug catchers is just one of many JASON activities that arouse student interest in science," said Lisa Marie Gonzales, JASON Project Coordinator at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

Founded by international explorer and RMS Titanic-discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard, the JASON Project is internationally renowned for its ability to incorporate cutting-edge technologies, a multi-disciplinary curriculum, professional training for teachers and Internet communications into a comprehensive learning program.

Not the traditional textbook style of learning, the JASON Project uses advanced technologies to interest students in science and technology. Through a unique satellite telepresence system, the 1999 JASON Project will bring the Peruvian Amazon and some of its inhabitants live to classrooms worldwide.

The JASON Project this year is a comparative study of tropical, temperate and fossil rainforests. The sites to be studied are the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) in Peru, the Hoh temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park, WA, and Castle Rock, CO, site of a 63-million-year-old fossil rainforest.

During telepresence broadcasts in March, Ballard will lead a team of researchers and student and teacher "Argonauts" on a 2-week expedition in the Peruvian Amazon. Students will have an opportunity to climb to a height of more than 100 feet and explore the layers of forest and its inhabitants along a quarter-mile-long canopy walkway. On the ground, students will peer inside an ant colony for an up-close look at life beneath the forest floor. They will also learn how native people use abundant natural resources for food, shelter and medicine.

Telepresence activities on the JASON website include discussion groups, chat sessions, Ask-an-Expert, curricular exercises and more.

To learn more about the JASON Project, please visit the JASON Project website:

Bug Catcher Winners:

Grades 3/4/5 First Place

Jessica May, 4th grader

Barbara Black's class

Regnart School, Cupertino School District, Cupertino, CA

Grades 3/4/5 Second Place

Laura Kate Anderson, 4th grader

Marie Tomlinson's class

Simonds School, San Jose Unified School District, San Jose, CA

Grades 3/4/5 Third Place

Jenni Diekneite & Xin Peng, 5th grade team

Rebecca Lim's class

Country Lane School, Moreland School District, San Jose, CA

Grades 7/8 First Place

Melissa Perkins, 8th grader

Donna Snell's class

Blaker Kinser Junior High, Ceres School District, Ceres, CA

Grades 7/8 Second Place

Martha Reyes, 8th grader

Tina Riolo's class

J.W. Fair Middle School, Franklin/McKinley School District, San Jose, CA

Grades 7/8 Third Place

Sean Nash & Jimmie Dudley, 8th grade team

Raquel Pena's class

Blaker Kinser Junior High, Ceres School District, Ceres, CA

Judging factors were: 10 percent for use of readily available materials; 30 percent on workmanship and ability to meet design and size specifications in the JASON Project teacher curriculum; 30 percent on the written explanation in the teacher curriculum; 10 percent on creativity and 20 percent on the ability to catch bugs.

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