The researchers of the DFWI Center are committed to communication their research in science, engineering, and the art discoveries not only to their colleagues around the world, but also to the public, which spans a tremendous diversity of stakeholders. Below, we highlight some of our major outreach efforts.
Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (Blue Mountain Lake, NY)
At the Adirondack Experience, we have an interactive exhibit that includes a professionally produced video documentary with interactive elements for The Jefferson Project. This exhibit educates more than 100,000 visitors each year about the importance of using advanced science and technology to protect fresh water. In 2017, we were honored to have been awarded the Museum’s Harold K. Hochschild Award.
ECHO/Leahy Center for the Lake Champlain (Burlington, VT)
In 2018, we launched our first immersive game, The World of Plankton, which operates at the confluence of game design, art, and science. The game is a virtual touch-pool aquarium that educates visitors about the amazing diversity of fish, zooplankton, and algae that live in lakes in our region. Based on the success of a 4-month exhibit, we are delighted that the ECHO/Leahy Center is now making The World of Plankton a permanent exhibit, which means that more than 160,000 annual visitors can learn about freshwater and why we need to protect it.
DFWI Staff Train Volunteers to Identify Invasive Aquatic Plants
For the past 15 years, the DFWI has hosted a training session for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP). The program trains volunteers to survey regional lakes for invasive aquatic plants. Typically, 20 to 25 volunteers take this training each year. Volunteers are taught to recognize the characteristics of invasive aquatic plants and differentiate them from native ‘look-alikes’. Hands-on access to live specimens of regional native and invasive species provides an exceptional learning experience. Volunteers are also instructed in basic survey techniques and record keeping. Here’s a link to the APIPP webpage for your info http://adkinvasives.com/
Outreach for Pre-College Initiatives
Each year, researchers from the DFWI Center work with Rensselaer’s Outreach Office to bring science and engineering to the K-12 community as part of a pre-college initiative that will improve their access to and their ongoing success in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
The Harlem Academy is a small independent school in Harlem, NY with a mission to offer students the “highest standards of academic rigor and character development as a catalyst for lifelong learning, thoughtful citizenship, and upward mobility.” Each year, Rensselaer hosts dozens of students to explore STEM topics, and this includes research experiences at the DFWI Center’s multiple facilities, including at our field station on Lake George and our Aquatic Experimental Facility at Tech Park.
PREFACE is a two-week residential summer experience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for talented high school sophomores and juniors (who will enter the 11th or 12th grade in Fall 2019), from groups that have been historically and traditionally underrepresented or underserved in science, engineering, and technological fields, and are interested in pursuing careers in engineering and technological professions.
STEP (Science Technology Entry Program)
Funded by the New York State Department of Education, STEP is designed to assist disadvantaged secondary students and those from minority groups underrepresented in scientific, technical and health-related professions to acquire the skills, attitudes and abilities to pursue professional or pre-professional study in postsecondary degree programs in scientific, technical and health-related fields. The program's initiatives focus on developing problem solving and critical thinking skills through a range of enrichment activities that include student development, leadership opportunities, career exploration, college preparation, internships, and parent workshops.
Additional public outreach
- Rensselaer’s First-Year Experience
- Rensselaer’s Annual Regatta
- Adirondack Days (NYS Capital, Albany, NY)
- Union College Adirondack Week (Schenectady, NY)
- Capital Region Science Festival (Schenectady, NY)
- Biobus Tool Time at local elementary schools (Troy, NY)
- The FUND for Lake George boat cruises (Lake George, NY)