News Release

National Park Service and National Park Trust Select Great Basin National Park Foundation as a 2020 Challenge Cost Share Award Recipient

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Date: December 10, 2020
Contact: Nichole Andler, 775-234-7521

The Great Basin National Park Foundation works with Great Basin National Park to provide innovative science education programs that stem from the Great Basin Observatory, a research-grade astronomical telescope operated remotely and the first of its kind in a national park. “By engaging university researchers and our visitors to peek deep into the universe, and by doing direct programming with local schools, connecting youth to the Park and the concept of dark sky preservation, our partner is allowing us to push our work in the astronomy theme at Great Basin National Park into another dimension,” relates Great Basin National Park’s Superintendent James Woolsey. 


The project award will help to fund both material and virtual resources for elementary educators that help teach key science concepts. “We are especially excited to be rolling out 6 new digital resources for 5th grade educators and very soon we will have lessons for 4th grade educators,” Great Basin National Park Foundation’s Program Manager Aviva O’Neil said, “these lesson plans are specifically designed for teaching in the COVID-19 environment. Each lesson has interactive components, is aligned with next-generation science standards, and can be incorporated into a hybrid, flipped, remote, or normal classroom environment. Everything is available for free on our website”. 


The Challenge Cost Share award requires a 1:1 financial or in-kind match by the local non-profit recipient — resulting in greater financial leverage and impact. This year 19 projects were selected from 74 applications. The total award amount of $380,000 that will be matched by $750,825 in direct and in-kind contributions from the recipients. More than 12,400 youth are expected to be engaged through the program. “National Park Trust is thrilled to partner with the National Park Service and many local partners across the country to connect all people to national parks and engage a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards,” said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust. “The Challenge Cost Share program is one of the most effective initiatives that leverages public and private funds and invests in local partnerships that deliver results.” 



National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at 



More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube


Learn More: Visit the Great Basin Observatory Educator’s Portal at You can book virtual programs with Aviva O’Neil at 435-772-0793 or 


About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at  

Last updated: December 10, 2020

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