On April 22, millions of people from around the globe will rally together to celebrate Earth Day. It’s the largest civic event in the world with all kinds of people participating – including kids! The goal of Earth Day is to teach people how important it is to keep our planet healthy and clean. One of the great things about Earth Day is that there are so many things you can do to help – plant a garden, start recycling, pick up trash in your neighborhood, learn how to compost or even build a bat house.
You can delve deeper into our Earth’s natural wonders at the OMNIMAX® Theater! Join world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike, climb and explore their way across America’s majestic parks – including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches – in an action-packed celebration that will inspire the adventurer in us all, and highlight how important it is that we protect these treasured landscapes.
Also, you can join us in the STEM Discovery Lab for environment and sustainability-themed activities on Tuesdays from 2 – 3 p.m. And visit our booth at Sawyer Point on Saturday, April 16 during the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration.
Phone Technology for Whale Conservation
Marine conservationists are always looking for new ways to protect ocean life. In order to get the job done, they’re asking for help from citizens like us. Blue Point Science teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to create a “whale spotter” app. This app allows anyone with a cell phone to record the location of whales off the coast of Northern California. This information is then sent to NOAA and they are able to inform boats and ships that there is a whale in their area – and they need to be careful! NOAA estimates that every year, 1,800 to 2,000 blue whales travel in this area to feed. By giving more people tools to track whales, it will allow scientists to use this information to decide the best routes for boats and ships to take in order to protect the blue whale. The “whale spotter” app is a good example of technology being used to protect our planet’s animal species.
Featured Career: Botanist
Here in Cincinnati, there is one thing all of us have on our minds in April – spring! With the new warmer weather and the celebration of Earth Day, this is a great time to talk about plants. The scientific study of plants is called Botany. The definition of plants includes algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. The study of plants is important because it helps us find new foods, building materials and medicines to treat illness. It’s also important because it helps with the conservation of plant species. The information provided by botanists, people who study plants, can help conservation organizations better manage land, parks, forests and wilderness area.
Botanist works in all different types of settings where they can focus on many plant topics. They study everything from the smallest bacteria to the giant sequoia that can grow over 250 feet fall! Some botanists study the structure and parts of plants. Some botanists study the relationship between plants and their environment. Others want to know how plants will grow under different conditions.
Scientists in plant research must conduct experiments in the lab and make observations in the field. They work indoors, outdoors and in exotic places full of new and interesting plant species. There are so many areas to study when it comes to plants that it leaves a lot of room to explore what interests you most. This makes a career in botany one that is both fun and beneficial for the greater global community. For more information about careers in botany, please visit the Botanical Society of America.
Wondering if botany is for you?
Be the botanist and try these experiments and games!
People who study plants often perform experiments in the lab to see how different conditions affect parts of plants. You can try this too by examining how light affects seed germination and plant growth. Can you predict how light will affect growth?
When studying plants, it is important to understand how other parts of nature interact with plants. Try your own experiment by using different types of soils and compost to grow plants.
Just like other living things, plants prefer particular types of food. Play Dirt Detective to find out what kinds of soil these trees prefer.
Plants are a part of the food web in an ecosystem, so if they change, a whole forest can change too. Map changes in the forest by examining plants, insects and trees with this game from the National Zoo.
What are you doing in April?
GIRLS University: Shark Dissection
Discover the anatomy of a fetal shark during this safe and fun dissection! You will have your own specimen to work on to learn more about what makes our favorite aquatic creatures unique. Saturday, April 23rd from 11 to 12:30 in the Museum of Natural History and Science. Ages 8-14, registration required.
Explorer’s University: Nano!
Learn the big science behind small things. Saturday, April 2nd from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History and Science. Ages 9-14, $$, registration required.
Celebrate the study of small things in a big way at Nano Days!
Nano Days is a national celebration of nanoscale science and engineering, an initiative of the NISE (Nanoscale Informal Science Education) Network and the National Science Foundation. Cincinnati Museum Center will join the festivities on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
You’ll become a scientist at the all-day celebration of nanoscience, the study of how atoms and molecules behave on a super tiny scale in everything from sunscreen to computer processors to gecko feet. Explore hands-on experiments in the STEM Discovery Lab in the Museum of Natural History & Science, talk with local nanoscience experts and help us build one of the largest scale models of a carbon nanotube ever constructed in the Rotunda – out of balloons!