In the 21st century, nothing may be more important than understanding how our planet works, which is why it's essential that the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) and its Museum of the Earth focus on global change education and celebrate Earth Day annually.
In honor of this year's Earth Day, the Museum of the Earth will be celebrating our planet on Saturday, April 18th from 11 am - 3 pm, with fun Earth-centric activities! There will be games and activities for the whole family plus lectures, presentations, and prizes! At noon we'll have a lecture; "Energy and Climate: Flip Sides of the Same Crisis," by Richard W. Allmendinger, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. Allmendinger's talk will focus on the global climate crisis and the rapidly approaching energy challenges that are facing society today. There will also be presentations and activities from Roots and Shoots and Dilmun Farms. Museum visitors will also be able to learn about resources to measure their ecological footprint and help end world hunger. This year's Earth Day is again generously supported by Wegmans.
Earth Day celebrations at Museum of the Earth are part of the Institution's ongoing Global Change Project (GCP), which was developed to increase public understanding of how the Earth is changing and what role humans are playing in it. The GCP consists of a museum exhibit, comprehensive web site, lecture series, educational programming, and research projects. PRI staff collects and synthesizes available information on global change and presents it in a straightforward, unbiased, easily-accessed format for educators, students, and members of the public through its exhibit and website.
As part of the GCP, PRI and its Museum of the Earth was awarded a two-year, $36K grant, on April 1, 2009 to bring informal education on the topics of climate and energy to rural parts of Tompkins County. These issues are expected to affect the future livelihoods of many in rural areas, including climate-sensitive industries such as agriculture and tourism. There may also be new economic opportunities for others in renewable energy from biofuels and wind.
Through this grant, a team from PRI will spend two years undertaking a project during which time a survey of rural public opinion and understanding of climate change will be conducted to understand more thoroughly the current conceptions and motivations of rural audiences. After completion of this survey, an exhibit will be created that uses "green" materials, is modular, and is adaptable to a wide variety of rural venues such as libraries, post offices, fairs, markets, and other public areas. These exhibits will also foster ongoing learning through web-based resources and on-line social networking, bringing state-of-the-art science on local and regional impacts of climate change, as well as practical information on mitigating carbon emissions and reacting to climate change to a broader audience.
"The project will reach under served rural audiences in Tompkins County with information and opportunities for discussion of one of the most important topics of the 21st century," stated Rob Ross, associate director for outreach at PRI. “The Museum of the Earth is all about the history of Earth systems and how they work. We think one of the most important things we can do is increase public awareness about the remarkable rate of today’s human-induced Earth system change.”
For more information on the Global Change Project please visit our website at www.museumoftheearth.org/outreach.php.