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Friday, August 4, 2017

Hometown Science Festival is Aug. 12 on The Green

On Saturday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., children and adults are invited to participate in the first Hometown Science Festival on The Green in the heart of downtown Wellsboro. It is free and open to the public.

Participating in the Hometown Science Festival are groups who work in the region in science and science education. They will be offering a wide variety of science-based hands-on activities.

Among the festival activities children and adults will be able to have fun doing are birding walks around downtown Wellsboro hosted by the Tiadaghton Audubon Society; activities related to native and invasive plant ecology led by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; a watershed model table for students to test thanks to the Tioga County Conservation District and an opportunity for youth to learn how to identify freshwater mussels from Pine Creek and American eels from the Susquehanna River courtesy of the United States Geological Survey Northern Appalachian Research Lab in Asaph.

A Mansfield University Strait Planetarium professor will talk about astronomy and local teachers about fossils and renewable energy. Teachers will also lead story walks, demonstrate mapmaking, and give youth a chance to build "stomp rockets" out of plastic bottles. Attendees will check out an electrofishing boat with MU professors and students and dissect owl pellets with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The after-school STEM program 'Playing with Science' will present a variety of activities such as helping children engineer towers out of pipe cleaners or build their own fidget spinners. There will be a presentation by a Lycoming County researcher on the giant salamander "hellbender" and identification of aquatic insects with the Potter County Conservation District.

The Hometown Science Series & Festival is a project started this past winter by six people. During a meeting last fall, Barbara St. John White, a biologist, and researchers Heather Galbraith, Jeff Cole and Dan Spooner, all with the Northern Appalachian Research Lab in Asaph, and Watershed Specialist Liz Costanzo Kreger and District Manager Erica Tomlinson, both of the Tioga County Conservation District, were discussing potential collaborations on local research projects in the Pine Creek Watershed. “We were also talking about how collaborating and sharing ideas and information about science is fun and exciting and inspires us when we're doing our own work in science and conservation,” said White. “We then started discussing how we could broaden the circle of science-related idea and information sharing to more people in our community.” That’s when the Hometown Science Series & Festival, was born,” White noted.

“Our goal with Hometown Science is to help spark people's interest in science, specifically by showing important ways we use and rely on science every day, right in our own neighborhoods and backyards," said White. They have accomplished that by sharing locally sourced, scientific research, practice and education through a series of events involving speakers, discussion panels, and films on various science topics.

The six founders also began planning the Aug. 12 Hometown Science Festival to feature hands-on science-based educational activities for children and adults provided by local researchers, natural resource managers, teachers, health care providers, citizen scientists, and others.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/hometownscience/ or email hometownscience@gmail.com.

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