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History and Impact

Beginnings and Overall Impact

The Clara Bleak Endowment for Innovations in Environmental Education was established at the University of Idaho in 2000, and served as the symbolic impetus for the founding of the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) shortly after in 2001. Eighty students representing five Idaho schools attended the very first two weeks of MOSS residential programs.

Since then, students have demonstrated a 17% increase in a pre-post assessment that includes commonly asked questions on standardized science achievement tests. Students demonstrate an average increase of 5.3 points on a 55-point scale (9%) measuring their science process skills.  Students also show an average increase of 3.5 points on a 30-point scale (11.6%) measuring their "science identity" and an increase in positive attitudes toward science.

Albertson Foundation ID21 Grand Prize

Albertson Foundation ID21 Grand Prize

Albertson Foundation ID21 Grand Prize

Albertson Foundation ID21 Grand Prize

ID21 Awards

Grand Prize Winner: University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS)

Past to Present

2003 – The MOSS Graduate Residency in Environmental Education is established – a ten-week program serving 426 students who represent 13 Idaho schools. MOSS is awarded a two-year National Environmental Education grant from the U.S. EPA.

2005-2007 – The MOSS Outreach Program is established through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Mobile Environmental Education Corps begins traveling to schools throughout the state providing affordable, standards-based science programs. The MOSS facility on Payette Lake is winterized and stays open year-round for the first time in its 66-year history. MOSS conducts its first Winter Residential Programs. The program now serves over 2,100 students.

2008 – The school has officially served over 10,000 students and is chosen for an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Idaho Environmental Summit.

2009 – MOSS becomes a primary outreach vehicle for the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Idaho Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program. The “Science Inquiry for a Changing Planet” project provides expeditionary science learning programs for seventh – twelfth grade students and teachers from across Idaho.

2011 – The school celebrates its ten-year anniversary and surpasses the 16,000 students served mark.

2012 – MOSS is one of six winners out of 167 nominees nationwide to win the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation ID21 Grand Prize for “challenging traditional education with creativity and innovation.”

2013 – MOSS is the winner of the W.K. Kellogg Engagement Scholarship Award and a finalist for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award. This is the highest honor bestowed upon American universities for their outreach and engagement efforts.

2014 –Idaho Power chooses MOSS as one of thirty programs across the state to receive the company’s "Powering Tomorrow" grant. It is also only one of two programs selected to be featured in an Idaho Power commercial. (Link)

2015 – MOSS receives the Underwriter’s Laboratories Innovative Education Award, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to invest in environmental and STEM education, sustainable communities, and youth empowerment. Award money increases the impact of existing innovative non-profit programs that use the Environment as a pathway to STEM Learning (E-STEM).

2018 – MOSS receives the University Economic Development Association’s (UEDA) Award for Excellence in the Talent and Place category. Projects and initiatives in this category synergistically connect TALENT and PLACE in ways that enrich discourse, promote civic participation, and otherwise enhance quality of place. MOSS competed with four other project finalists from the University of Alabama, University of Georgia, Montana State University and Southern University and A&M College before emerging as the category winner.

Contact Us

College of Natural Resources

Physical Address:
1800 University Lane
McCall, ID 83638

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1025
McCall, ID 83638

Phone: 208-885-1080

Fax: 208-634-5244



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