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A Traveling Science Center!



In conjunction with the visiting Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit at “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Oct. 28 through Dec. 8, 2016, WaterVentures Florida’s Learning Lab will make a one-day stop on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

The 53-foot traveling science center features engaging activities that offer a hands-on look at Florida’s diverse watersheds, water conservation, and recycling, with the goal of inspiring critical thinking and empowering kids and adults to make a difference in the world around them. The WaterVentures vehicle visits schools, fairs, festivals, and events throughout Florida.

“The experience ties in nicely with our Water/Ways exhibit,” said Sarah Lathrop, associate director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), the nonprofit that is funding the exhibit’s visit. Lathrop oversees the exhibit with supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. “The six-week exhibit will take a global look at water relative to the environment, culture, history, and religion, but will also examine the issues and context facing our liquid assets here at home through collaborative programming we are creating internally.”

DDWS will be showing a water-related film series, sponsored by LCEC, on Wednesdays during the duration of the exhibit. On Fridays, a related lecture series will include nationally acclaimed speakers including environmental authors Ellen Prager and Cynthia Barnett and nature photographer Mac Stone. A panel of local water conservation experts will discuss the water issues facing the refuge and Southwest Florida today.

Other special Saturday family programs, giveaways, an interactive watershed table, and other activities are in the planning stages. On Nov. 26, a Kids Fishing Derby will take place on the Sanibel Causeway in conjunction with the exhibit.

The Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild is planning an artful water and nature exhibition titled “Engulfed” during the event. Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreation concession, will soon be announcing special tours and programming.

“The excellent, state-of the-art Smithosonian Water/Ways exhibit lies at the heart of an exciting, engaging six weeks of programming for kids and adults that we hope will ultimately send the message that we all need to work together to preserve our valuable water resources,” said Ranger Westland. “We are honored to be among the select venues hosting the exhibit.”

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