Mrs. Kathryn White, a science teacher and soccer coach, said, "I feel like the closing of the NRAO would be a huge loss to educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math."
If the NRAO were closed, she said, "It would mean that I would be leaving Pocahontas County."
She would not be the only one. If the NRAO were to close and people had to go elsewhere to find jobs, Pocahontas County's population would dwindle immensely.
"To lose the NRAO would be a disaster to the economy, and it would hurt our school system," said the school's principal, Thomas Sanders. "The NRAO is a business partner that has helped Pocahontas County High School and Green Bank Elementary and Middle School. It would be a loss of a mentorship site for high school students.
"Losing the NRAO would have a tremendous adverse effect on this county."
The culprit for this travesty is an NSF committee report based on decadal surveys by the National Academy of Sciences regarding astronomy and astrophysics and also planetary sciences. In August, the committee delivered devastating statistics: the data showed that closing the NRAO and a few other facilities would enable the NSF to fund three more telescopes in Chile.
This is exactly what the NSF is now considering, obviously not taking into account the consequences of its actions on the world, let alone Pocahontas County.
Shutting down the NRAO would deplete the world of a scientific treasure. The NSF will make its final decision -- a decision that will decide the fate of Pocahontas County and the entire science community -- by December.A petition has been created in support of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. To find out more about the issue and sign the petition, visit www.savethegbt.org.