Outreach staff hits the pavement during NC Science Festival
By Edy Ball
NIEHS outreach specialists joined the tens of thousands of people who flocked to downtown Raleigh, N.C., April 20-21 for the grand opening of the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Attended by an estimated 70,000 people, the 24-hour event was part of a 17-day statewide celebration of the North Carolina Science Festival April 13-29.
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Specialists from the NIEHS Office of Science Education and Diversity (OSED), Ericka Reid, Ph.D., and Bono Sen, Ph.D., worked with volunteers from Institute labs to staff an information booth on environmental health. OSED used mechanical lung props, a setup for measuring lung capacity, and a poster, “Lungs, the Environment, and You,” from the NIEHS Citizen Schools project (see story), to underscore the importance of respiratory health.
Leading up to the grand opening ribbon cutting by N.C. Governor Bev Perdue was a parade that included a marching band from Raleigh’s Shaw University. Music and entertainment continued throughout the night and the next day, although most exhibitors worked their displays in shifts on Friday evening and Saturday.
Sen, who arrived well before the action began at 5:00 p.m., was talking with curious visitors even before she’d finished setting up the display. Foot traffic was brisk along the streets, which were closed to vehicles for the event, and the NIEHS team stayed busy interacting with people about environmental health and NIEHS research.