MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Area Science Advocates held a successful kickoff event on June 11th at Anodyne Coffee in Walker’s Point. Approximately 150 members of the Milwaukee community convened at Anodyne to celebrate science with food, music, live demonstrations, and more.

The panel discussion on how climate change impacts science education, public health, and sustainability was a major highlight of the event. Panelists Dr. Mark D. Schwartz, Hillary Olson, Dr. Thalia M. Williams, and Melissa Tashjian provided food for thought. Dr. Mark Schwartz gave an effective and astute description of what we know about our changing climate, and what the scientific community agrees upon. Hillary Olson clarified the importance of distinguishing weather versus climate-and the responsibility of educators to make the distinction. When asked about the public health implications and consequences of climate change, Dr. Williams discussed how extreme weather conditions, like heat waves, can impact population health – and how climate change can disproportionately affect low-income populations. Melissa Tashjian, founder of Compost Crusader, had tips for everyday actions that people can take to reduce their carbon footprint, which included investing in local farmers and agriculture, and being socially conscious about the waste we generate. The panel discussion served as a valuable example of how important it is to acknowledge the wide-ranging impacts of climate change, and highlighted the necessity to have conversations about the changes we can make.

 

The kickoff event wasn’t just for adult science advocates; kids also enjoyed a busy afternoon and evening of jam-packed science fun in the Kids Science Zone! Kids had the opportunity to learn about bees from BeeVangelists, listen to science storytime with Thrive Service Learning, learn about geology from Geologist Kevin, and interact with Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo- a live bug demonstration!

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet with the League of Women voters, who assisted in voter registration and voter change of address. Several science advocates took the pledge to exercise their right to vote! Community members filled out over 50 postcards addressed to their senators and representatives, describing what a healthy Lake Michigan meant to them and urging representatives to take action. Discovery World, American Science and Surplus, Milwaukee Markerspace, MSOE Center for Biomolecular Modeling, and the City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) were all present, providing exhibits and information, and Compost Crusader composted the event. Attendees hungry for more than just science also partook in food from local food trucks Lumpia City and Blue Cow Creperie while listening to music from local bands Coyote and King Courteen.

MASA is actively seeking more volunteers to increase community engagement in science education, public health, and sustainability in Milwaukee. For more information about volunteering for MASA, please visit http://milwaukeescience.org/get-involved/.

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