News Archive

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center presents at The JASON Project

Lamar University is proud to promote the importance of education to elementary and middle school students by hosting The JASON Project at the John Gray Center. This innovative project was established to connect students with scientists and researchers to provide mentored, authentic and enriching science learning experiences.

In 2001, The JASON Alliance of Southeast Texas (JASET) was established by Lamar University and the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce to further the mission of the national JASON Project. Through benefactors and grants from local industries, JASET offers curricula and training to southeast Texas school districts free of charge.

As part of the JASON Project, scientists from the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center came to Lamar University to teach students about plate tectonics in a unique way. With the use of graham crackers, jelly and fruit roll-ups, the employees and volunteers of Shangri La captivated students’ attention by demonstrating the effects of convergent, divergent and transform boundaries that have happened to our continents in the past 225 million years. Shangri La instructors discussed with students how our planet has evolved from the supercontinent Pangaea to our current continental alignment and how plate tectonics is still transforming the world we know today.

“It is fun to see how much they know based on what they have been taught about earth science and to see what they will continue to learn, along with our theme, in taking that knowledge to the next level,” said Ellen Dacy, environmental educator at Shangri La.

Through interactive presentations and student-centered demonstrations, Shangri La annually enhances the beneficial learning experience of The JASON Project. JASON includes many more educational presentations from various organizations within the community.