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Education Outreach Highlights for Summer/Fall 2017

It has been a busy time for education outreach at CEES, with more than 7300 people participating this past season. CEES activities have included summer weather camps, expansion of the Center's Discovering the Science of the Environment program, a visit to the state fair, and various other outreach events. 

 

Weather Camps. Over the summer, the Center's new Science Sprinter visited a number of libraries to take part in Kevin Gregory's weather camps; CEES's education specialist, Sam Ansaldi, teamed up with the Channel 6 meteorologist to teach area youth all about weather and the energy of storms. Media coverage of the weather camps led to an invitation to make an appearance on the Fox59 Morning Show.

CEES's new Science Sprinter. (Photograph by V. Schmalhofer.)

 

Indiana State Fair. (Contribution by Sam Ansaldi.) The Indiana State Fair provided an excellent backdrop for the Center to educate the public about the benefits of alternative farming practices and off-season cover crops. By submerging and suspending soil samples in a water column (a process known as a slate test), CEES staffers provided fair goers with a means of visually comparing tilled and no-tilled agricultural soils. The superior capacity for shape-holding and water-retention of the no-tilled soil showed first-hand the structural advantages of undisturbed soil. Fair attendees also had an opportunity to see and touch examples of live cover crops. The CEES table came fully equipped with fresh dicons (oil seed radishes) and "living" earth profiles. Living earth profiles permit viewing of plant root networks - and a chance to appreciate their soil holding capabilities. Additionally, the profiles provide a window to the subterranean world of invertebrates and fungi that inhabit soil and contribute to the health of our farmlands.

CEES staffers Sam Ansaldi and Danielle Follette prepare for a day of Science! at the Fair. (Photograph by T. Smith.)

 

CEES staffer Taylor Smith (left) has some fun at the Fair - be the water! Danielle Follette and Sam Ansaldi do a slate test demonstration (right).  (Photographs by T. Smith.)

Slate test. (Photograph by S. Ansaldi.)

 

Other Outreach Events. In early summer, CEES hosted a workshop for teachers participating in an EPA-funded grant. The workshop examined activities that could be used to introduce environmental issues and engage children in STEM. In August, CEES staff joined with long-time CEES partners Joy O'Keefe (ISU Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation) and Jan Lesniak for Bug Fest 2017 at Southeastway Park. Nearly 1200 people stopped by the Bats & Bugs table to learn all about bats and their importance in the environment! Other notable outreach events included Celebrate Science Indiana! (1100+ visitors) and Girl Scouts STEM at the Speedway (1700+ participants). Additionally, CEES contributed to the festivities associated with the IUPUI Regatta and the School of Science Fall Welcome Picnic. The ever-popular Tornado-in-a-Box was used to illustrate the joint influences of temperature and pressure on weather systems, and participants tested their engineering skills with the Design-a-Drone Challenge.

Area teachers visit the Lilly ARBOR to learn about the problems associated with invasive species. (Photograph by V. Schmalhofer.)

 

Scenes from Bug Fest 2017. CEES intern Ian Marrs wears the "batty wig" (left) to help dispel common myths about bats. People queued up throughout the day (right) to visit the Bats & Bugs area. (Photographs by V. Schmalhofer.)

CEES interns prepare for a day of Science! at Celebrate Science Indiana! Left to right: Shelby Gills, Rebekah Harden, Hannah Smith, Pauline Dutra e Mello, Hailey Feltner, Ian Marrs. (Photograph by T. Smith.)

 

Young scientists-in-training examine pond scum and other wonders at Celebrate Science! (left). A budding engineer tests his drone designing skills against the Dorothy 3000 (right). He did well - his design generated sufficient spin and lift to free the drone from the pole. (Photographs by T. Smith and V. Schmalhofer.)

 

CEES Director, Pierre Jacinthe, tries out the energy bike at the School of Science Welcome Picnic. Duke Energy generously loaned the energy bike to CEES for use at the event. (Photographs by V. Schmalhofer.)

 

Discovering the Science of the Environment. The Center's DSE program had been on somewhat of a hiatus as the Center transitioned between education specialists and built a new mobile science lab (our Science Sprinter). That hiatus is officially over! DSE was off to a tremendous start this fall, with eight schools and more than 1300 students participating. The new energy programs in development, thanks to a generous grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, are proving to be tremendously popular. 

 

Duke Energy regional mangers take part in a DSE program (The Energy of Storms). Duke Energy is assisting CEES to promote the DSE program. (Photograph by V. Schmalhofer.)

The Energy of Storms with its accompanying tornado-in-a-box demonstration is one of the most popular new DSE programs. (Photograph by V. Schmalhofer.)

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