Science

UK science museum and centre events increase climate change awareness

30,000 visitors to a series of UK events on environmental science and research overwhelmingly say that the events have improved their interest in the subject.

Organised as part of The Operation Earth Programme, the events began in October 2021 and concluded last month, with the majority of activities being directly linked to COP26 in November 2021.

Events took place at the likes of the Natural History Museum, National Space Centre, and Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

The project, run by the Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) and in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) aimed to bring the relevance of NERC’s climate and environmental science and research to life among children and families.

Following the conclusion of the project, ASDC reports that 85% of attendees said they had increased interest in climate and environmental science after attending the events. 92% said they are now able to see a connection between climate and environmental sciences and their own lives.

The activities provided children and families with the opportunity to find out what environmental scientists are working on, and to practice these skills for themselves.

Attendees took part in hands-on activities including using a leaf blower to collect air samples and investigate air quality, looking at the carbon footprint of popular foods and learning how pollination works, as well as meeting NERC scientists.

Shaaron Leverment, CEO of ASDC, said the project demonstrates “the crucial role that science and discovery centres, museums and eco-attractions play in delivering accessible, hands-on and place-based climate and environmental science engagement activities.”

A total of 13 science museums and centres were involved in the project: Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum; Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh; Glasgow Science Centre; National Space Centre, Leicester; Natural History Museum, London; Oxford University Museum of Natural History; Techniquest, Cardiff; Thinktank, Birmingham; W5, Belfast; Exeter Science Centre; Life Science centre, Newcastle; Science Oxford and Xplore!, Wrexham.

Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham who visited Xplore! said: “It was a wonderful opportunity to see the engagement that Xplore! is facilitating within the local Wrexham community. It really highlighted the importance of engaging whole families around such a crucial issue for the modern world.”

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