The onset of springtime brings not only warmer weather, but yet another Maryland Day, an annual University of Maryland event allowing students and families to explore what the campus has to offer across its many academic fields.
As the April 25 event approaches, the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center is gearing up for its 15th year of participation, bringing back old favorites such as The Magic Planet and the rain gage game.
The Magic Planet is essentially an interactive globe. Through a computer-driven touchscreen interface, users can display various types of animated weather and climate data across the surface of the globe.
The rain gage game, one of several water-based activities outside The Magic Planet tent parked in front of the Jeong H. Kim engineering building, allows participants to fill up a gage using sponges and water, and then measure the amount of “rain” captured.
“It’s not just kids,” said Maureen Cribb, who has helped run ESSIC’s participation at Maryland Day since 2001. “The adults get into it, too.”
Throughout the day, the ESSIC group will hand out informational pamphlets and prizes, and several members of its research staff will drop in to make an appearance.
Also bringing its own activities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will once again join ESSIC. NOAA will provide information on lightning safety awareness and bring other water games to demonstrate climate and weather patterns.
“NOAA comes with a … landscape and they pour water into it to show how flash floods develop,” said Andrew Negri, assistant director of ESSIC and co-organizer of its Maryland Day activities.
ESSIC will also bring in a new group this year- Climate Central, a non-profit organization that reports on climate change and its impacts.
“Climate Central is very good at publicizing earth and climate science,” said Negri, “so they’re invited.”
Aside from hosting activities, the tables will also engage passers-by in conversation, discussing weather and climate-related information and research as well as promoting ESSIC. Negri and Cribb agreed that with the many families, wandering teachers and curious individuals in attendance, the event will provide the Center with another excellent opportunity to raise awareness about earth and atmospheric sciences.