Earth Night celebrates science at RiverPark
The Daily Reflector
Friday, April 21, 2017
Avanni Richardson, 7, discovered that science is “actually pretty cool.”
“I’ve seen some neat things tonight,” he said Thursday during Family Earth Sciences Night at River Park North, 1000 Mumford Road. “This is a lot of fun.”
Staff at the Walter L. Stasavich Science & Nature Center hosted an evening of hands-on science experiments and demonstrations for participants to celebrate Earth Week.
"We've been doing this for a few years now,” said Andrew Wimsatt, a park attendant at River Park North. "We also do a similar event in the fall each year."
Park staff had several stations set up in the center on Thursday, each one representing a different aspect of Earth science.
"We have one for water, one for air and one that deals more with nature," Wimsatt said. "This just gives families a chance to get out and have some fun and explore science a little."
Children in attendance learned how to make an ocean in a jar using water, food coloring and baby oil; a non-Newtonian fluid using cornstarch and water; invisible ink; homemade bouncy balls; and rockets propelled by air pressure.
Scarlett Goodwin, 13, said she enjoyed learning about how to make the projects so she could do them at home with her younger brother, Eli.
“I loved making the bouncy ball,” Goodwin said. “The ocean in a jar and invisible ink were really cool too. What I really liked about them is that they are easy to make and most of the stuff we already have at home.
“I like coming to things like this that make learning fun,” she said.
Rachel Goodman, an intern at the facility, said the earlier a child is exposed to science the better.
“Their brains are developing and they want to drink in all the knowledge that they can,” Goodman said. “If you can expose a kid to things like this at an early age there is a good chance that it will spark a lifelong interest in science and nature.”
Goodman, an ecology major at East Carolina University, also gave visitors sunflower seedlings that she grew specifically for Thursday’s event.
“I wanted the kids to have something they could take home and watch it grow,” Goodman said. “I’m really into botany and I wanted to share that with them ... I’ve been really excited about this event.”
Richardson said he was most excited about learning how to make a non-Newtonian fluid, which he simply referred to as “slime.”
“The slime was my favorite thing,” he said. “I think I’m going to make some of my own at home.”
Avanni’s mother, Alma Richardson, was not as excited as her son about non-Newtonian fluids.
“I’m not so sure about that,” she said laughing. “He better sneak off and make that while I’m sleeping or something.”
Contact Shannon Keith at email@example.com and 329-9575.