As the Greece Post reports, The Rochester Museum and Science Center campus is now undergoing a huge sustainability demonstration project called the Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase, set to be completed by the end of the summer.
The new RMSC campus will feature areas to explore green infrastructure and sustainability, including rain gardens and interactive displays. The Environmental Facilities Corporation awarded $525,000 for the installation of a new porous pavement parking lot and bioretention areas on campus to decrease and treat stormwater runoff. The bioretention areas capture and filter stormwater runoff from roadways and parking lots and water several low-maintenance native species plants, many of which are adaptable to high volumes of water.
“We at the RMSC care deeply about our local watershed and are taking action to protect it by creating new landscape campus features,” said Kate Bennett, RMSC president. “One responsibility as the community’s museum is to demonstrate options that create a sustainable future for our region and our ecology.”
Guests will be able to participate in green infrastructure workshops at a learning pavilion. The pavilion includes a green roof complete with plants and a water harvest collection area that captures roof runoff.
Courtesy of RMSC
The stormwater runoff process will be showcased in an artistic educational glass design called “Genesee River Watershed,” created by local artist Nancy Gong and sponsored by the RMSC Women’s Council. The art glass will divert water from the pavilion roof to a rain garden. In another exhibit area, downspouts will transfer water from roofs to rain barrels. A treadle pump, a human-powered suction pump, will offer guests an opportunity for physical activity in understanding the irrigation process. Other areas with porous pavers and concrete will reduce runoff and winter salting requirements. For every tree that was removed during construction, two new ones will be planted on the campus.
RMSC exhibition components include a rain garden puppet theater, explanations on how porous pavements works and various interactions with the Water Education Collaborative’s H2O Hero. RMSC’s new campus will be incorporated into the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County’s ongoing series of Green Infrastructure Trainings and Workshops, as a green infrastructure tour stop and as a location for workshops.
Also, Rochester Institute of Technology students are including the campus transformation as their environmental science senior capstone with the objectives of designing and implementing a monitoring plan to establish the effectiveness of the various green infrastructure areas and to provide scientific information to support exhibit development.
Here is a recap of the PIC Green Events at AAM 2016 Conference and Expo. First, all the events and sessions were an overwhelming success! So, it shows there is a definite growing interest to learn how to make your institution more sustainable.
We had the following sessions:
1. Energy Efficient Cold Storage
2. Future Choices – Best Practices for Profession
3. Environmental Sustainability – Power, Influence and Responsibility
4. Stages of Sustainability
5. Sustainability Sins
Our winners for the SEA (Sustainability Excellence Awards) for the following categories: Facilities, Programs and Exhibits were as follows:
- Large Museums, Facilities: Exploratorium Pier 15/17, San Francisco, CA
- Small Museum, Facilities: The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MN
- Large Museum, Programs: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, IL
- Large Museum, Exhibits: San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA
- Honorable Mentions, Exhibits: DesertSol at Springs Preserve, NV
- Honorable Mentions, Programs: PROBEA, Smart Schools, Baja Peninsula, CA
And the field trip to the US Botanic Garden was educational and bursting with sustainable initiatives, we even received our very own instruction manual for teaching. Check out the Sustainable SITES Initiative!
The Expo had a few highlights, but I have to mention the Virtual Reality Booth by SimWave Consulting in Canada. If you are an interactive museum, then you are going to want to keep an eye on their technology.
And a huge thank you to the Natural History Museum for letting us use their booth and partnering up in many ways moving forward!
Until next year in St. Louis…..keep up the green momentum!
The Natural History Museum in LA County just launched the Urban Nature Research Center to promote the study of wildlife in densely populated Southern California. This is a new twist for the 103 year old institution and it is the first project of its kind in the United States.
The new initiative will combine the work of NHM’s Nature Garden and Nature Lab, which focus on plants and animals on museum property, with its various citizen-science projects and animal surveys, all with a budget of $250,000 a year.
The ultimate goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of the ecosystems in L.A.’s mountains, parks, streets, backyards and even medians.
There have been many exciting new species discoveries right in LA, including 43 new species of fly. And with this new program the ability to catalog and use that data increases immensely.
NHM will also have the ability to utilize the “citizen science” program. Basically, every day people get to participate in plant and animal surveys and submit that data using their smartphones to platforms like iNaturalist. Although many aren’t familiar with the program, Lila Higgins, NHM’s manager of citizen science “is working to change that by reaching out to communities across the region and asking them to look at the animals around them.”
NHM is also launching what it’s calling the world’s largest biodiversity project, dubbed the SuperProject, that will examine 200 urban-nature sites from the coast to the desert.
All in all, NHM’s new focus is part of a larger shift from museums and how they are setting about redefining their role in the community and beyond.
Lila Higgins says, “we’re really trying to push it forward and see how we can work with our communities […] and I think the Urban Nature Research Center is the perfect example of that.”
Credit Brooklyn Museum
The free ASK Brooklyn Museum app has been in testing this past year and it just launched on iOS and became available on Android last month. The innovative technology is unique to the museum, said Shelley Bernstein, the vice director of digital engagement and technology at the museum, and was implemented to help visitors better engage with and make connections between the works in the 560,000-square-foot museum.
The app only works in the museum but it allows visitors to ask questions and share photos of objects on display in real time. On average, a member of the six-person Audience Engagement Team will respond within 45 seconds. The exchange is as anonymous as the user wants it to be.
It is important to note that the Museum wants to promote engagement and not have people getting sucked into their phones.” Audience Engagement Team member Andrew Hawkes says, “they’re looking more closely at the art, they’re noticing things, they’re thinking more critically about the work and learning more. That’s a really great feeling.”
Since its launch, there have been about 4,000 conversations through the app. The museum is using data pulled from those exchanges to improve collection installations and exhibition design. It expects about 1% of visitors overall to use the app.
As, Bernstein says, “there’s lots of information in the building, and some want this experience, some want a guided experience. It fits within that framework.”
We are definitely excited to see how ASK will promote audience engagement and get visitors to look at the artwork in new creative ways.