ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2009

Hundreds Attend NOAA Green Fair

“Bring Your Child Down to Earth Day” focused on science, fun

Victoria Loughe, 10, led her team to victory in a recycling relay at NOAA’s Boulder laboratories April 23, and she said she spent the day learning not only about compost, but about Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

“It was lots of fun,” Victoria said after NOAA’s “Bring Your Child Down to Earth Day,” a day of activities for employees, children, and the public. NOAA held its own version of “Bring Your Child to Work Day” the day after Earth Day, in tandem with a Green Fair.

Top: Checking out bins set up for a recycling relay. Photo courtesy of Annie Reiser, NOAA. Bottom: Visitors work with ESRL meteorologist Sara Summers (Global Systems Division ) on a soil and water experiment. Photo courtesy of Will von Dauster, NOAA.

More than 300 people wandered through an outdoors tent featuring products and information from local green vendors, moved inside to watch presentations on ESRL’s unique visualization tool, Science On a Sphere®, and created flip-books to illustrate Arctic Sea ice loss. Kids also watched presentations of “Big Green Rabbit,” a television program about conservation.

“I liked that Science On a Sphere®,” Victoria said, “especially how it showed hurricanes.”

Richard Roth, president of Cool Solar, Inc. in Boulder, said he was grateful for the invitation to spend a day at NOAA, displaying products and chatting with employees. Cool Solar installs photovoltaic panels on homes and businesses. “Our company did get some interest,” Roth said, “but it was also interesting and informative for me to just meet some of the people from NOAA. I had extensive discussions about issues relevant to the solar industry.”

Dozens of NOAA employees helped staff children’s activities, inflate balloons, present Science On a Sphere®, and discuss CarbonTracker, a NOAA system that tracks the global release and uptake of carbon dioxide, a critical greenhouse gas.

Beth Powell, outreach coordinator for the city of Boulder’s ClimateSmart Program, set up a table of materials at the fair, including information on a new county-wide loan program to help homeowners purchase solar panels, energy efficient windows, tankless water heaters, etc.

“By the end of the day, all my materials had been taken,” Powell said. Although many NOAA employees study climate change or factors that influence climate and the weather, Powell said, she did not feel like she was “preaching to the choir” when discussing the climate impacts of energy use, transportation choices, and purchasing decisions. “Many of us in our daily, busy lives may not be thinking about how what we do each day affects our atmosphere for decades.”

Victoria said the recycling relay was her favorite part of the day. She and two teammates accurately tossed a plastic fork into the trash bin, a slip of paper into recycling, and a dandelion into the compost bin.

“I didn’t know what compost was before that,” Victoria said.