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Science & Sustainability Expo, May 5, 2012

ss_headshot-smallScience and Sustainability Expo 2012 a Great Success

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, enthusiastic chatter from over 150 children, parents, volunteers and visitors participating in Greening Greenfield’s new Western Mass Science and Sustainability Expo filled Greenfield Community College’s dining common.

“We were really pleased with the number of people who participated, and the variety and quality of projects and exhibits that youth brought to the event,” said Susan Reyes, event coordinator. “There was such a fun, supportive, and enthusiastic atmosphere – we really want to do it again!”

The event included three elements: the competitive KidWind Challenge, and non-competitive Youth & Educator’s Showcase, and the Green “Dollhouse” Challenge.

During the KidWind Challenge, a national competition, the 14 teams of secondary students who had designed working models of wind turbines, lined up to have their 3-foot turbines judged for quality of design before moving onto the wind tunnel. Here students gathered and cheered encouragement as each took a turn to test the output of their turbine, which was projected onto a large screen.

In the non-competitive Youth & Educator’s Showcase, students, teachers, parents and volunteers visited the 33 displays, asking questions, sharing information, and writing comments in booklets that the students took home with them. The displays showcased projects and initiatives relating to ecology and environmental science, technology and sustainability, such as climate change, renewable energy, composting, carbon sequestration, and others. There was also a special area for entries in the EnergyTeachers.org Green “Dollhouse” Challenge. On display were several model sustainable houses and “Green Stream,” a sustainable recreational vehicle.

Overall, 60 youth, 12 educators, 20 volunteers and numerous exhibitors, parents and attendees took part in the Expo. Youth came from 8 elementary, middle and high schools, some of which are participating in the UMass STEM RAYS (Research Academy for Young Scientists) project or \the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers, as well as a display from the Girl Scouts of North Hatfield Troop 11313. There were also displays from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, the New England Small Farms Institute, the UMass Wind Energy Center, the Franklin County Solid Waste District, and the Pioneer Valley Biochar Institute.  Students were from Mohawk Trail Regional High, Greenfield High, Holyoke Catholic High, Franklin County Technical School, Amherst Regional Middle, Montague Elementary, Hopkins Academy, Four Rivers Charter and an area home school.

“We wanted to enable local educators and youth to share and inspire one another with their science and sustainability projects, and to offer celebration and encouragement for their endeavors by a deeply caring and competent team of over 20 local, experienced volunteers – and we were really happy with the outcome,” added Susan.

The event closed with a ceremony where each team was acknowledged for their participation and creativity, and awards were handed out to the KidWind Challenge teams.

Greening Greenfield would like to thank Susan Reyes and all the students, teachers, and volunteers for their vision and efforts. Please send comments and ideas for future events to Susan Reyes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photos

Article with photos in the Greenfield Recorder

Links to resources:

· KidWind Challenge A Wind turbine design/build competition (MS, HS) www.KidWind.org <http://www.KidWind.org>

· Green Dollhouse Challenge – model sustainable buildings and landscapes on a table top; open to all - parent-child teams, college students, youths, and adults, hosted by EnergyTeachers.

STEM Research Academy for Young Scientists’ student projects·

Educator’s Showcase: Your science and sustainability educational projects, initiatives, & resources