Quality and Conservation

Traveling Water Science Exhibit to Launch in Ontario, Canada

A new traveling exhibit on the science of water opens next spring at Science North, an educational science center in Ontario, Canada, proving that industry issues related to water quality and conservation are gaining ground with the public as environmental topics become increasingly popular causes.

“Water as a topic is very top-of-mind for a lot of people, like global warming,” said Julie Moskalyk, sales and business development manager for Sudbury-based Science North.

The $1.8 million (U.S.) exhibit, now in design, will launch at Science North in March 2008 and then kick off a traveling exhibition in the fall at museums, aquariums, zoos, and science centers in the United States. At 6,000 square feet, “WaterWorks: Soak Up the Science” will feature 12 to 15 interactive exhibits and a multimedia theater. The traveling exhibit is the fourth since 2002 that Science North has developed through a combination of Canadian federal and regional funding, corporate sponsorships, and center funds.

“This particular exhibit is about water and its physical properties, how it works. It’s also about water as a resource, freshwater ecosystems, and how we impact those resources. It’s all about exploring and having fun with water,” said Moskalyk.

The exhibits, targeting all ages, are divided into four segments: Physical Properties of Water, Water for Life, Harnessing the Power of Water, and a Water Theatre. In Physical Properties, visitors will be able to capture a rainbow, make a cloud, and find a perfect snowflake. These introductory exhibits deal with the physical properties of water—surface tension, condensation, and refraction. In Water for Life, visitors will learn about worldwide sources of water, their availability, how water quality is measured, and environmental factors affecting freshwater availability and quality.

In the Harnessing the Power of Water section, visitors can play “water pinball” and use water to power a column of lights, create pressure, and lift objects. Other activities in this section will include piloting a miniature submarine into vertical targets, and working a hydraulic system. Participants will explore scientific principles related to water such as transfer of energy, pressure, buoyancy, and hydraulics.

A 10-minute animated film concludes the exhibit experience in the Water Theatre. Viewers will meet Walter, a water molecule, and follow him on a humorous tour through various transformations in the water cycle. The film features interactive effects related to the senses of vision, smell, and touch.

“Walter is all about telling the story of water and the water cycle. It follows Walter the water molecule through a couple of days in his life and it’s hilarious. Crazy stuff happens to him,” said Moskalyk.

In May, a few months after the exhibit opens, Science North will feature an IMAX film in conjunction with the WaterWorks exhibit called “The Wonders of the Great Lakes.”

Although the water exhibit does not feature original center research, Science North does use its own team of scientists to translate the latest available data on water quality, availability, and conservation issues, she added.

“Their job is to take the research from out in the field and convert it or translate it into a piece of information all people can understand and grasp to apply to their daily lives,” Moskalyk explained.

Worldwide, development of permanent or temporary exhibits and museums related to water has captured the public’s interest. (See “Education: History and Hot Buttons,” in the July 2007 issue of Water & Wastewater News, www.wwn-online.com).

For more information about the WaterWorks exhibit at Science North, go to www.sciencenorth.ca/waterworks

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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