Science Rising: A celebration of science

Science Rising: A celebration of science

On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, Olympic Climate Action and Feiro Marine Life Center, will host a free, community-oriented celebration of science at Port Angeles City Pier from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

People of all ages and interests are invited to engage with some of our many scientist neighbors at booths, displays, and presentations revealing how we use science, both in our daily lives and to explore beyond today’s boundaries. To put a face on science in the community, a “Wall of Scientists” will display profiles of local active and retired scientists and science educators.

Why celebrate science? “Because science is used to heat our homes, grow our food and take pictures of Mars. It helps us understand why we have wind, tides, fish, and plants. Science has shown us that it’s important to wash our hands and to cover our mouths when we sneeze,” biologist Cathy Lear, an event organizer, said.

Lately, the normally non-partisan world of science has been dragged into the political spotlight. Debates are surfacing about research funding and even the validity of well-established facts. Self-correcting scientific processes and evidence-based models are being misrepresented and sometimes dismissed by some media outlets and policymakers.

These developments have prompted many groups to organize a non-partisan March for Science in Washington, D.C. on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. Hundreds of communities around the world are planning satellite events in alignment with the March for Science mission: “The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. At its core, science is a tool for seeking answers. It can and should influence policy and guide our long-term decision-making.”

The national organizers add that “What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.”

Olympic Climate Action and Feiro Marine Life Center organized this celebration as a March for Science satellite event. Our shared mission is to celebrate the essential role science plays in our daily lives with examples of how local science contributes to our community and quality of life. Organizers invited businesses, tribes, and schools, as well as local, state, and federal scientists to share what science contributes to their fields.

“Scientists are not faceless ivory tower bureaucrats,” said organizing committee member Ed Bowlby, a local marine biologist who recently retired from NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. “We live and work in our communities and want science to inform those concerned about a sustainable future.”

A speaker series of short presentations on topics ranging from salmon restoration to using bacteria and virus genetics to stop foodborne disease outbreaks, will begin at 10 a.m. in the Landing Mall conference room (115 E. Railroad Ave., Room 205, 2nd floor). From noon-4 p.m. everyone is invited to engage with local scientists and science educators at booths and descriptive posters at the Port Angeles City Pier. Dr. Charles Brandt, Director of the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Sequim, will be the closing speaker at 3:30 p.m. on the City Pier.

The Feiro Marine Life Center will have kid’s activities, including a chance to collect and examine plankton under microscopes and meet local intertidal creatures. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Discovery Center in the Landing Mall will also be open for exploration.

To honor the Peninsula’s wealth of retired and active scientists and science educators, a “Wall of Science” will display their profiles. Learn what inspires a scientist to pursue a specific field.

Many Peninsula residents are not aware of the science education, applied science, and interesting research conducted by their neighbors.

During the week leading up to the People’s Climate March on April 29, the public is invited to attend several science presentations called Science Cafés hosted at local restaurants. For details and speaker schedules, go to olyclimate.org or see us on Facebook.

The North Olympic Land Trust, Dungeness River Center and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Discovery Center are also partners for this event.

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