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Science, sustainability show set for Saturday

GREENFIELD — At the Pioneer Valley’s second annual Science and Sustainability Expo, on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., young people from 8 to 18 will display their ideas on developing a more sustainable environment.

The expo, to be held at Greenfield Community College, “gives young people free rein to explore and develop visions for a sustainable future,” said Susan Reyes, event organizer. “It provides a locally-based opportunity for kids to develop and share sustainability projects of their own. These projects can lead the way toward solutions and materials that have yet to be developed.”

Reyes hopes that the expo will help train youngsters to negotiate an information-rich world. “Technology is out there in the forefront of sustainability” said Reyes, “but it’s also critical to understand the local environment and ecology.” The expo, she said, gives kids experience in working with this kind of complex mix.

The event, says Reyes includes a KidWind Competition, a Green Dollhouse Challenge, and a sustainability project showcase. The showcase and Green Dollhouse Challenge begin at 9, with showcase participants presenting on topics that include “The $20 Greenhouse Challenge,” and “Harnessing the Wind With Salvaged Materials. “We’ll also have a model timberframe that anyone who comes can work on retrofitting, right there,” said Reyes.

The KidWind competition, in which participants strive to build the most efficient, powerful turbine starts at 12:30. The contestants have all designed their own turbines, which will be tested in a wind tunnel. “Judges will evaluate each turbine, including its blades and drive train, for innovation, materials choices, design, and construction, and will interview each team and review any documents they have, such as engineers’ notebooks,” said Reyes. The judging will be done by experts with backgrounds in wind engineering and physics, including engineers from The Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts.

Students from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Chemistry Club will perform live demonstrations between 11:30 and 12:30. The club encourages an interest in chemistry and the practices of science, which enable people to understand natural phenomena, evaluate information and solve problems.

For more information, contact Susan Reyes at 413-259-1658, or sreyes7@mac.com.

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