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Amelia the Pigeon Launches!

GREENBELT, MD October 7, 2002. NASA announces a new educational resource for teaching children the concepts of Earth science. "The Adventures of Amelia the Pigeon" project is a new interactive web site with supporting lesson plans and hands-on activities to illustrate science concepts to children in grades K-4. The animated adventure engages children in a story-based scenario that emphasizes concepts of remote sensing. Children are taught how NASA scientists use satellite imagery to better understand the Earth's environmental changes.

The development of the web site is intended to better help introduce students to the science of NASA. "The use of satellite imagery is an essential tool in NASA's studies in Earth science," said Ginger Butcher. "NASA imagery will inspire our next generation of scientists at these early grades, when children form their opinions about science." Butcher, with Science System Applications Incorporated, is an education specialist for the Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the creator of the Amelia the Pigeon project.

The web site introduces students to Earth science concepts, beginning with classifying objects by shape, color, and texture, building a foundation for interpretation and understanding of remote sensing. The Pigeon Adventure encourages the development of a childŐs inquiry skills, via on-line explorations, sequential story telling, and hands-on investigations.



NSTA selects Echo the Bat for SciLink

ALEXANDRIA, VA February 7, 2002. The National Science Teachers Association has reviewed Echo the Bat and the EMS site using a stringent set of criteria that ensure selected materials have accurate content and effective pedagogy. Criteria they used can be read at

The SciLinks program links school textbooks to effective online content. A direct connection from a concept on the textbook page to materials exploring that concept in cyberspace leads readers to the kinds of materials our professional educators believe work best in the classroom. Once a web site is selected, NSTA places the URL in a database, correlate it to the National Science Education Standards, and write a brief description that identifies one or more of its salient characteristics. When a reader (a teacher, student, or even parent) of a SciLinked textbook comes across a SciLinks icon in their textbook, they know that the content on that page has been enhanced with online content specifically connected to a single concept. The reader goes to the free SciLinks web site, and they type in a code found on the pages of that text, and the SciLinks search engine reports the five to 15 pages our teachers selected.

SciLinks logo


Echo the Bat appears in puppet show at GSFC Community Day

GREENBELT, MD. June 16, 2001. At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's Community Day, children of all ages were delighted with a puppet show adapted from the Story of Echo the Bat. The show follows Echo along his adventure through Arizona. Dramatic backgrounds of satellite images bring together story and science.


The Echo the Bat book is now here!

photo of the Echo the Bat book

GREENBELT, MD. July 6, 2001. After a long awaited release, Echo the Bat is now available in print. The goal of this book is to introduce remote sensing to our youngest future scientists. The book retells the story of Echo to children ages 5 - 9 (but I have been told some older folks have secretly read the book). When Echo launches his adventure, he is followed by a satellite. Landsat images of the five habitats Echo travels provides a backdrop for the adventure. The text emphasizes shape, pattern, and texture and refers to the many flaps in the images. When the flaps are lifted, pictures of the land features are displayed underneath. This is definately a great resource for parents and teachers alike. To learn more, visit the Echo the Bat book page. Or, to order your own copy, visit

To learn more about the author, check out the August 24th edition of Goddard News.

Pigeon Adventure Wins Proposal

WASHINGTON, DC. December 10th, 1999. The Pigeon Adventure: An Adventure through Remote Sensing History was selected in the NASA Research Announcements for participation in the Earth Science Education Program. The monies made available from NASA will enable this project to incorporate more interactive technology including Shockwave Flash animations and take advantage of the new QuickTime 4.0 technology. The site will also have more audio to appeal to the younger target audience of K-4. We will also develop under this proposal 20 activities that can be used without a computer and in the formal and informal educational setting for children in K-4.

Initial work on the Pigeon project is made possible through funding from Goddard's Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics and Tennesse State University (MU-SPIN/NRTS program). This award from NASA's Earth Science Education Program will greatly shorten the development cycle and increase the amount of interactive technology within the adventure.

Look for story development and testing information of the Pigeon Adventure on the IMAGERS web site February 2000. See NASA's Earth Science Enterprise web site for a full list of selected proposals.

Echo the Bat awarded Outstanding Educational Product

AUSTIN, TX. November 17th, 1999. Ginger Butcher accepts award from NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) for the Echo the Bat web site. The NASA ESE review board rated Echo the Bat as an "Outstanding Education Product" and recommended the product for broad distribution. This review is the final step before an ESE education product goes into national publication. The site is now published in the ESE Education Product Catalog and will be part of hundreds of NASA teacher training workshops across the county.

Photo of Ginger Butcher accepting award from Nahid Khazenie

Ginger Butcher accepting award from Nahid Khazenie of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise

Photo of Ginger Butcher and guest Cullen Geiselman, BCI

Ginger Butcher and guest Cullen Geiselman, Education Specailist at Bat Conservation International show off a live Mexican Freetailed Bat at the Echo the Bat poster.
ECHO the BAT book receives approval from ESE

WASHINGTON, DC September 1999, The Echo the Bat book has been recommended for "Broad-Distribution" by reviewers in NASA's Peer Review of Earth Science Educational Products. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) managed the intensive review with teams of reviewers carefully selected by IGES to ensure the following expertise was represented: a teacher with classroom experience at the level of the targeted audience; an Earth system scientist; a curriculum writer familiar with national science education standards; a media specialist; and an instructional designer. The reviewers rated The Echo the Bat pop-up book as an outstanding education product and recommended it for broad distribution - meaning it is an excellent candidate for national distribution by NASA with no need for special training or instruction (e.g.,national education conferences, such as NSTA, NASA Educator Resource Centers, etc.) and is also good for use in NASA teacher workshops. The books are scheduled to go to the printers in mid-January 2000 and should be available by spring 2000.

Through funding from the Goddard's Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics, NASA's MU-SPIN program and NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, copies of the book should be available through teacher workshops. We are currently discussing distribution options and will post details when available on this site. So check back in a few months for information on how you can get a copy of the Echo the Bat book. The K-4 activities that accompany the book are available online.


ECHO the BAT pop-up book is ESE approved and hits the press!!

GREENBELT, MD May 30,1999. Prototypes of the Echo the Bat book are submitted to NASA's Earth Science Enterprise's education product review. Ginger Butcher, creator of Echo the Bat along with Beth Broadhurst, Education Curator at the Baltimore Zoo wrote and illustrated an Echo the Bat pop-up book. This book, along with hands-on activities, was created to meet NASA's needs for K-4 educational material in Earth Science. Thanks to funding from Tennessee State University, through the MU-SPIN program, we were able to create this book in a little over a month.

Photo of Echo the Bat book prototype

Echo the Bat for the visually-impaired

The USGS Biological Resources Division has contributed funds to the project in order to revise the Echo the Bat web site for disabled access. Along with format changes and added descriptions, we will experiement with audio displays using Shockwave and/or QuickTime technology. This could possibly allow visually impaired children to explore satellite imagery through via sound. The complere report on recommended revisions to the Echo the Bat site for accessibility is available online.

The revised site is scheduled to launch in Fall 2000. Anyone interested in participating in our efforts, please feel free to contact Ginger Butcher for more information.

SCIENCE Magazine, April 30, 1999

WASHINGTON, DC April 30, 1999. Echo the Bat receives mention in SCIENCE magazine. Jocelyn Kaiser, NetWatch columnist of Science magazine, writes "Remote imagery might seem a bit complex to explain to kids, but this site pulls it off with satellite images that help tell the story of a bat tooling around Arizona's eco-systems. Aimed at middle school students, the site folds in lessons about the electromagnetic spectrum, ecology and more."


Washington Times, May 23, 1999

Echo the Bat illustration printed in the Washington Times Newspaper article

WASHINGTON, DC May 23, 1999.
Joe Szadkowski of the Washington Times reviewed the Echo the Bat web site for his NETWISE column in the Family Times. This 2/3 page feature article included a collage of illustrations from the web site and some fantastic comments.

"USER COMMENTS: The site is easy to load, and the satellite images are clear. Special compliments go to Miss Butcher, the story writer and illustrator. She did an excellent job with this delightful children's tale. Just remember to have the latest browser installed, or it will be a short-lived Web adventure.

CYBERSITTER SYNOPSIS: Children will go batty for this site, and I wouldn't expect too much roaming to other parts of the Internet.

 FAMILY FUN FACTOR: 100 percent.


    Joe Szadkowski, Washington Times

NetMom Endorses Echo in The Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages
Image of apple pie slice that links to Net Mom's site Jean Armour Polly, author of The Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages, 3rd ed. has added Echo the Bat to her 4th edition set to hit the bookstores in Fall 1999.


Comments about Echo the Bat

"I'm currently working on an article on Earth Day activities in which I reference your site. I just wanted to let you know how terrific it is! It is, without a doubt, one of the best examples of the correct use of instructional technology that I've ever seen. It's extremely well-written, the story and activities are engaging and educationally sound, and the Teacher's Guide is terrific--exceptionally valuable. (Can you tell how much I loved it?) Someday I'm going to do an article on the Web sites that show how educational technology SHOULD be used--and your site will be at the top of my list! Are you planning any more sites like this? Anyway, I was really bowled over by the quality of this activity and wanted to let you know that. Thanks! "

Linda Starr, former editor at Weekly Reader, a former editor and instructional designer at McGraw Hill, and (currently) the Curriculum/Technology Editor at Education World, an ezine for educators

"After making a comment this morning about how many of the websites are much ado about nothing, I had to eat my words when I found your site. Bravo.! We are hanging a picture of Echo on our bat box"

Regina McCarthy Gateway Environmental Study Center/NYC Bd of Ed @ Gateway National Recreation Area Floyd Bennett Field Brooklyn, NY

"This is a great tool for teachers to use since everything for the lesson is right there. It is great how you wrote the story and then linked it to two topics, electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing. The teacher's guide was wonderful and full of great ideas. Thanks for creating this great site for me, and other teachers, to use in our classrooms."

Nina Hoffman, Middle School Teacher in Maryland

"I used Echo myself to better understand the electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing. The lessons were easy to use and the exercises supported the lessons. What made the whole "red, green, blue" concepts click for me was the coloring page. I LOVED IT and I could demonstrate that I learned something too!"

Toni Dufficy, Park Ranger Everglades National Park

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