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Jason Project Set to Merge With Geographic Society

By Andrew Trotter — June 07, 2005 1 min read
Student Cathy Cebul of Wooster, Ohio, examines shellfish she collected during the Jason expedition exploring Louisiana's disappearing wetlands.

The Jason Project, the education program that for 15 years has sent fortunate secondary school scientists to investigate exotic biospheres—with thousands of other students watching live via satellite—is set to become part of the National Geographic Society.

Officials of the Washington-based society and of the Jason Foundation for Education, located in Needham Heights, Mass., have signed a letter of intent for the society to assume stewardship of the foundation, according to both organizations. A joint statement said the affiliation would help broaden the reach of the foundation’s activities. The transition is expected to be completed by summer.

In recent years, the Jason Project’s annual expeditions have taken students to study the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana, a rain forest in Panama, and the coastal islands of California.

More than 1.7 million students each year take part in Jason activities, most by viewing one-hour broadcasts of live events hosted by museums and other educational facilities, or by tuning in to webcasts.

Caleb M. Schutz, the president of the Jason Foundation, said the project plans to add technologies from video games to create online digital labs and to use the next generation of the Internet to “stream” televised activities to classroom computers.

Robert D. Ballard, the Jason founder and expedition leader, who also serves as one of National Geographic’s explorers-in-residence, will continue in both roles, he said.

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