BlueSTEM AgriLearning Center, a 501(3)c nonprofit organization, is the vision of former USDA Agriculture Research Station (ARS) Grazinglands Research Laboratory (GRL) director, Dr. Jean Steiner. She saw a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) center where the community could become citizen scientists, students could see themselves in science, and educators could expand their knowledge of hands-on, minds-on STEM activities. BlueSTEM is a wordplay as Bluestem prairie grasses are prominent in the Fort Reno and Canadian County (Oklahoma) area where our center is located.
BlueSTEM is housed in a historic structure that would have been occupied by Fort Reno’s commanding officer and his family during the Indian Wars, World War I, and World War II. The house, originally built in 1876 when Fort Reno was a military installation, has been restored and updated to include modern electrical and plumbing conveniences. BlueSTEM has operated out of the house since 2015, when the latest renovations were completed.
The mission of BlueSTEM AGriLearning Center is to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities for students in Grades Kindergarten through graduate school, provide educators with hands-on and pedagogical practices in STEM, and develop community members into citizen scientists. Our programs include partnerships with area high schools for students to gain advanced experiential STEM education and conduct authentic research, outdoor education opportunities for schools and youth organizations, teacher professional development opportunities, and community outreach to civic groups and families.