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Bill Fracarro Named to Science-Technology Honor Roll

The Association of Science and Technology Centers in Washington, D.C. has named William F. Fracarro, a fourth-grade teacher at Clifford A. Johnson School in Wheaton/Warrenville District 200, to the 1996 ASTC Honor Roll of Teachers.

The 1996 ASTC Honor Roll of Teachers recognizes 55 teachers from 25 states and several foreign countries who have made exemplary use of science center programs and resources. Fracarro traveled to Washington to receive the award at a ceremony on April 25 at the Library of Congress. The ceremony was held in conjunction with National Science and Technology Week, April 21-27.

Fermilab's Lederman Science Center nominated Fracarro for the award for his outstanding leadership in developing curriculum materials, teacher workshops and student studies in the Fermilab prairie. The curriculum is based on the New Explorer's program "From Beneath the Ashes," a television feature documenting the remarkable recovery of Yellowstone National Park from the devastating fire of 1990.

Fracarro's approach draws on parallels between the recovery from fire in the national park and the annual recovery from controlled burns on the Fermilab prairie. In the effort to restore native tallgrass prairie on the Fermilab site, the Laboratory uses controlled burns to simulate the prairie fires that once occurred naturally. The burns discourage shallow-rooted weeds and allow deep-rooted prairie plants, which survive the burns, to flourish.

"The program provides a link between the prairie, the forest, and the unique resouces of the Lederman Science Center," Fracarro said. "At this point in my career, I like to think that I can share some of my expertise with colleagues to reach more than just my own 25 students." Thanks in part to Fracarro's work, school districts have adopted "From Beneath the Ashes" into their curriculum, and over 130 teachers and 4,000 area students annually participate in the program at the Lederman Science Center.

Fracarro has been associated with Fermilab's education programs since 1990. "Bill is a natural leader," said Marjorie Bardeen, manager of the Center. "He is an individual devoted to his profession, who is not content to stand and lecture. He has worked with other teachers to develop materials outside the classroom to make science come alive for the students."