May 16, 2000
Johnson Space Center, Houston TX
The Western Heritage Pavilion, a part of the Clear Creek Independent School District Agriculture Science Center Learning Laboratory, more commonly called the Longhorn Project, will be dedicated May 24 at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). The dedication ceremony recognizes the corporate sponsors, local companies and individuals who have donated time and money for this unique educational project. The invitation-only ribbon cutting begins at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion, adjacent to JSC's Rocket Park.
The Longhorn Project, developed jointly by JSC, the Clear Creek Independent School District, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, provides local high school students with a one-of-a-kind learning environment that combines Western heritage with state of the art technology.
While the students learn about animal husbandry, fruit and vegetable cultivation, aquaculture, soil research and recycling technologies, they also discover how that knowledge relates to the future of human space flight. The use of soil simulants, alternate plant growth techniques, closed-loop life support systems to recycle food, water and waste all are critical technologies that will allow humans to expand further into space.
Johnson Space Center Director, George W. S. Abbey will be joined at the dedication ceremony by Dr. John Wilson, Superintendent of the Clear Creak Independent School District, representatives of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association and members of the local community. Volunteers from the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo have spearheaded fundraising efforts for the program, which involves no taxpayer dollars.
"This entire project is evidence of the close partnership between JSC and the local education community," said JSC Director George W. S. Abbey. "The project celebrates both our uniquely Texan heritage and showcases the spirit of exploration and commitment required for us to explore the stars."
The project contains vegetable gardens, a fruit orchard, aquaculture ponds, a classroom and a teacher's resource center on 60 acres of land.
Six prize specimens of Longhorn cattle roam the enclosure adjacent to the Western Heritage Pavilion.
"Their presence reflects the unique relationship between technology and nature, said Don Holick, NASA's facility architect and planner. "The longhorns remind us of our unique cultural heritage, and at the same time we are helping students learn state-of-the art recycling and synthetic soil technologies that will contribute to our food sources in the future."
In addition to the six Longhorn cattle, ranchers loan four heifers each year for students to groom for the annual Livestock Show. Texas A&M University and its Agricultural Extension Service provide technical consulting for the agriculture and aquaculture projects, while EARTH College of Costa Rica provides the technical expertise for recycling and soil conservation initiatives.
Media wishing to cover the invitation-only dedication ceremony should contact the JSC newsroom by noon Tuesday, May 23, for accreditation.
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