AEP Foundation Grants $30K to McDonald Observatory

26 February 2007

Will Fund Training for Elementary & Secondary Teachers


FORT DAVIS, Texas — The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation has granted $30,000 to The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory to provide teacher training in astronomy and Earth science to elementary and secondary teachers in Texas.

McDonald Observatory has been holding professional development workshops for teachers at its remote mountaintop site since 1999. The funds from the AEP Foundation grant will contribute to this program — but with a twist. They will fund development, testing, and implementation of teacher workshops to be given by videoconference. This allows teachers to take advantage of the Observatory’s expertise even if they don’t have the funds or the time to travel to its west Texas home.

Each videoconference workshop will be customized for the specific group of teachers participating. Overall, the science content will address areas of low achievement by Texas students as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (the TAKS test).

“Our workshops excite teachers about science and provide them with ways to foster this excitement in their students,” said McDonald Observatory director Dr. David L. Lambert. “This grant from AEP is a marvelous opportunity to excite more teachers.”

The Observatory’s K-12 education program takes advantage of students’ natural interest in astronomy. Getting students excited about science is a first step toward creating a technologically trained workforce for the future of Texas.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than five million customers in 11 states. AEP Texas provides electric delivery services to a nearly 100,000-square-mile area in south and west Texas including the cities of Corpus Christi, Victoria, Abilene, San Angelo, McAllen, Harlingen, Mission, Pharr, Hidalgo, Fort Davis, Alpine and Marfa. The American Electric Power Foundation was formed in late 2005 as a private foundation to make contributions and grants to eligible non-profit organizations.

— END —

Additional Media Contact: Larry Jones, Manager of Corporate Communications for AEP Texas, may be reached by phone at 512-391-2970, or via email at

Bart Rosenquist (left) and Fred Hernandez (center) of American Electric Power pr

Presentation of AEP Foundation Grant

Aerial view of the large telescope domes of McDonald Observatory.

Aerial From Mt Locke

Frank N. Bash Visitors Center