Sharing the love of science at the VT Science Festival

By Issac VanDiest

The Virginia Tech Science Festival is a perfect time for IGC members to put our money where our mouth is. We talk frequently about how our science needs to be able to reach not only outside of our individual fields, but how important it is to be able to communicate with the broader public about ideas or new findings that impact them. With over 6,000 visitors, the VT science festival really is the perfect place to talk to kids of all ages about problems in the natural world, and how we try to study them.

Our table had quite a few spirited volunteers ready to talk to anyone about questions they had; everything from fun facts about a favorite animal to what they could do to help clean up our rivers. We had a few items, such as water quality samples, a kudzu leaf, and a bird feeder, to talk about not only what we study, but what it means for the visitors in their daily lives. One of the biggest hits of the exhibit was the paper chain. Children would write down their favorite thing
about the natural world or something they do to help it on a piece of paper, and then we created a chain of approximately 100 links out of everything they cared about. We hope these experiences are transformative for the visiting families and kids, and it is another push in the direction towards stewardship of the Earth. This is ultimately part of what the Interfaces of Global Change program is all about.

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