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Plus Special Earth Day Activities

We would like to send a special thank you out to the Walmart Foundation for continuing to support our community! Check out pictures from our Walmart Foundation $5 Day and Earth Day Celebration!

With all the fun and savings its no wonder the Walmart sponsored $5 day is a sensation. With a partner so supportive of science learning for life, we are happy to have them as a partner for such a successful event.

Please stay connected to our website and Facebook page for announcements about more Walmart $5 Days.


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Kristen Clayton is a 15-year-old budding scientist at Viera High School in Brevard County. Her inspiration for research comes from her daily drive to school, where she sees first-hand the adverse effects of algae spilling out the parameters of the narrow canals that surround her. These images drove her to create an environmentally friendly solution to excessive algae growth. She discovered the usage of Lemna minor, a rapidly growing aquatic plant, in the removal of nitrogen and phosphate from the water to be used as ethanol fuel.

Her research project determines the ideal amount of nutrients needed for Lemna minor to both relieve the waterways as well as produce an efficient future fuel source. In the future, she hopes to further the study by testing Lemna minor’s ability to transfer its stored energy to an ethanol/gasoline run device. When she’s not in her lab coat Kristen finds joy in ballet dancing, reading, sketching, painting, volunteering and exploring the wonders of nature.

This weekend, Kristen and four other finalists from area high schools will compete for the coveted “Ying Prize” during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition at the Orlando Science Center. The Grand Prize winner receives a $5000 scholarship and an award of $1000 for the student’s science teacher or mentor and another $1,000 for the winner’s school.  To compete in the Ying competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity.

On Friday, April 29, Kristen and her fellow finalists will tour the Minute Maid Laboratories in Apopka and then see the UCF Nanotechnology Department. On Saturday, April 30, they will defend their research before the judges’ panel at the Orlando Science Center and then get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. On Sunday, May 1, the event will culminate in an announcement of the Grand Prize winners on Sunday at an awards luncheon at Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney.

Kristen Clayton


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Try this simple Earth Day craft. This uses simple ingredients and comes out great. This is a great way to start talking to your kids about the importance of sustainability and “Going Green”. Never too early to start recycling!

 

Materials

  • Coffee filter
  • Blue and green washable markers (we used crayola brand)
  • Squirt bottle or small glass of water
  • Black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Optional: white paint, old toothbrush and popsicle stick

Note: You can complete this project using food coloring instead of washable markers. However - I find this option to be very messy so would not do it with young children (if they get food coloring on their clothing you won't be able to get it out). I would only use this option with children over age 10, and even then would want a good amount of supervision and old clothes to be worn.

 

Instructions

  1. Flatten out a coffee filter on a plate.
  2. Scribble the filter with blue and green washable markers.
  3. Use a squirt bottle to spray the coffee filter 2 or 3 times.
  4. Squirt right in the center of the filter and then sit and watch the water wick the colors over the filter (this takes 4 or 5 minutes)
  5. Let dry (this takes about 1/2 an hour, but will take longer if the filter has been soaked by an over-zealous crafter!)
  6. Optional: Splatter paint a piece of black construction paper:
  7. Cover your work area with newspaper
  8. Dip a toothbrush into white paint and tap it off to get rid of the excess.
  9. Hold it over the black paper and lightly rub the edge of the popsicle stick against the toothbrush to splatter dots of white paint onto the paper.
  10. Repeat until your black paper looks like a star filled universe.
  11. Set aside to dry
  12. Glue your earth to a piece of black construction paper (or to a splatter painted piece of black construction paper.

 

Coffee_Filter_4.21.11

 


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Discovery channel put together a series called Prehistoric. It is a graphics intensive series that takes you on a backwards timeline to see the dinosaurs that lived, fought and died in your backyard hundreds, thousands, even millions of years ago. The focus of this series is to show the amazing extinct creatures that once called our cities home.

While many people know that ferocious dinosaurs and large mammals once roamed America, very few realize that these creatures stalked the exact sites where we've built our major cities and most famous landmarks. We are literally walking in the footsteps of these extinct animals every day, without even realizing it.

Here's a link to Prehistoric New York to get you started!


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Cork is a naturally sustainable product and can only add to the quality of the wine. Cork is both biodegradable and recyclable. The production of cork is different than most harvesting products. In order to harvest cork, the cutting down of trees is not necessary. “Unlike its synthetic counterparts, cork is an inherently sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees, which can live 170 to 250 years on average.” (100percentcork.org)

Most winemakers would agree that cork can add to the quality of the wine better than any type of closure. In the Wine Business Monthly 2009 Closure Report, wineries rated closures by perceived consumer acceptance. Natural cork received the highest marks. A more direct study of consumer perception was conducted by the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center. It found that consumers perceived wine finished with cork to have higher quality and price than the same wine finished in alternative closures. (100percentcork.org).

You can learn about all things wine at our first annual Science of Wine event.  If you’re planning a trip to the Science Center before the event, you can guess the amount of corks displayed in the lobby to receive various prizes. Good luck and happy guessing!


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Presenting 12th Annual Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition

Celebrating the Exemplary Achievements of Local Science Students
April 29 - May 1, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - (April 18, 2011) - Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying, local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has partnered with the Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students. From April 29- May 1, five finalists from area high schools will compete for the coveted “Ying Prize” during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. The Grand Prize winner also receives a $5000 scholarship and an award of $1000 for the student’s science teacher or mentor and another $1,000 for the winner’s school.

To compete in the Ying competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity.  Previous entries have investigated treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, faster delivery of mechanisms for medicine, and solutions for beach erosion, just to name a few. Projects reports are submitted and reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges, including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators and Dr. Ying himself.

Read more...


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The first nationally celebrated Earth Day was held in 1970 and next Saturday, April 23rd, we will continue the tradition of recognizing how humans play an important role in the future of our habitat, the Earth. The Orlando Science Center will be celebrating Earth Day looking at how science can help us to conserve energy and protect our environment.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at something very small which has had a big impact on our environment in the last few years: bottled water.

Bottled water can cost anywhere from 1 to 6 cents per ounce, but tap water costs about 5 cents per gallon.  Interestingly enough, many bottling companies get their water from the same place we central Floridians do, the Florida Aquifer. So, what’s the difference between the tap water and bottled water? A bottle.

Some non-Florida natives, like me, will say there is quite a difference and it comes in the form of smell. Florida’s aquifers naturally filter the water so that it is amazingly clean even before it is pumped out. But there are sulfurous mineral deposits which give natural springs a distinctive smell. However OUC, the company which provides water to most of Orlando, has a process specifically designed to remove this sulfur smell by using ozone. Even if there is a little smell left over, it can be easily taken care of with a faucet-attached water filter. This makes it very easy to grab a reusable water bottle and fill it before leaving the house.

So, that leaves us with a plastic bottle. Plastic will takes hundreds of years to biodegrade but can be recycled.  However, even Zephyrhills notes on its packaging that less than 25% of water bottles get recycled. To do our part, the Science Center provides green colored bins outside of each elevator just for recycling.

This Saturday, come celebrate Earth Day with us and learn more about how to reduce, reuse and recycle. And if you’re interested in learning more about bottled water in Florida, check out the original article in the Orlando Sentinel titled “Water Everywhere: Which is for You?” by Kevin Spear.

 

Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in Dino Digs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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