In collaboration with corporate and community leaders of Decatur-Morgan County and North Alabama, the Cook family of Cook’s Pest Control proposes to develop the new Cook Museum of Natural Science in the heart of downtown Decatur. This state-of-the-art facility will serve the people of North Alabama and the Southeast as an educational destination and cultural venue for various programs and meetings. The museum will offer significant tourism opportunities and will enhance our region as a premier destination.
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Research has shown that a child’s visit to a museum or other free-choice learning venue is often one of the child’s most vivid memories. When interviewed as adults, participants can describe in detail what they learned, what they saw and what they experienced on a trip to a museum. These visits become landmark memories and can lead to a lifelong interest in a topic they may have never before considered. We also know that if we can simply change a child’s perception of science and math from a negative to a positive, he or she is far more likely to choose a career in S.T.E.A.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.
Education Program Goals
- Highlight the great biodiversity of Alabama and the Tennessee River Valley Region
- Promote stewardship of our environment and natural resources
- Provide high quality education programs for all ages
- Provide early childhood development experiences
- Provide programs that support Alabama State Science Requirements for visiting students
- Provide programming for home and private schools and church groups
- Provide S.T.E.A.M.-based programming to promote college and career readiness in participants
- Provide professional development for teachers in nationally and state accredited science curriculums
John L. Cook began Cook’s Pest Control in 1928, originally established as the North Alabama Termite Company. He was a pioneer in the industry, and as the years progressed, his conviction deepened as he envisioned a significant need to protect residential and commercial buildings.
When the elder Cook died in 1950, his son John R. Cook felt compelled to fulfill the five-year termite guarantees for which his father had contracted. Educated as an architect at Georgia Tech, the young Cook gave up a promising career in the field he loved and returned to Decatur with his wife Jo. Under his leadership, Cook’s grew from one full-time employee and only a few accounts to become the 8th largest pest control company in the United States.
Early in their career, John and Jo Cook dedicated their lives, their family and their business to God for His honor. Operating under Biblical values and principles, they stressed basic themes of honesty, courtesy, respect, and a solid work ethic. Their corporate philosophy of providing quality customer service and a good place to work has been the foundation of the company. Cook’s attributes its success to quality service, genuine concern for all people, and ethical performance in all phases of business.
The family’s inspiration and motivation for creating the museum will be reflected on the museum history wall and will include the following Bible verse:
But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will teach you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
— (JOB 12:7-9)
It is through their leadership and love of community that the Cook family is developing the Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur, Alabama.