Climate change is a global problem, and will take global collaboration between nations and innovative “green” technologies. But what can we do about it as individuals in our own homes, schools, and communities? This summer, Digital WAVE students have been figuring that out. The goal was to create a 3D virtual house that would be the “greenest house in Miami,” powered by renewable energy sources like water, wind and the Sun. First, students had to learn more about energy, and where better to do that then with the Energy Tracker exhibits at the Museum? After interacting with Museum exhibits about wind turbines, hydroelectricity, and solar power, students investigated these energy sources more, by building their own Snap Circucits with batteries, voltmeters, and mini windmills, water wheels, and solar panels. How much power can you get from these energy sources? How can using these technologies make our lives better and our future cleaner? Based on their experience with Museum exhibits, the circuits they built, and their own research, groups of students decided what they wanted to build in their 3D virtual house to make the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient in Miami (even if it’s virtual Miami).
We recently heard the fantastic news that some of our previous Digital Wave students had been finalists for some prestigious scholarships. Now we are so proud to report that we officially have 2 winners of the Dell Scholars Program, and 1 winner for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program! These are not your everyday scholarships. These are like hitting-the-jackpot type scholarships. The Dell scholarship includes: $20,000 towards college expenses, technology equipment, a private scholar networking community, and mentoring support throughout college. The Gates Millennium scholarship provides a full ride for all college expenses, opportunities to renew the scholarship if academic progress is maintained, leadership development programs, and even funding for graduate school in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, and science. So who are the academic all-stars who earned the jackpot?
Gregory Hyppolite, winner of the Dell Scholars program, plans to attend the University of West Florida. At the Museum, he has participated in Digital Wave as well as the Upward Bound program since ninth grade. He is a member of the Museum’s Youth Advisory Board and holds a position as Explainer to help supplement his family’s income. At school, he is a member of the Leadership Team and has earned an internship position with the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County, Alberto M. Carvalho. Greg is a natural leader, ambitious, and as any other student will tell you, is always willing to lend assistance to anyone in need.
David Green, believe it or not, has earned both the Dell AND the Gates scholarships! David has also been a participant in the Museum’s Digital Wave and Upward Bound programs. Graduating as valedictorian this year, he plans to attend the University of Florida. He has been actively involved in his school’s robotics team, tutors other students, has helped develop the Overtown Cookbook, all while holding a steady part-time job. Quick, thoughtful, and encouraging to his peers, he believes that “education is my refuge in adversity.”
On Saturday February 4 we kicked off the spring Digital WAVE Saturday Design Studio. This semester, groups will develop 3D virtual world exhibits of south Florida’s waterways, from the Kissimmee River and the Upper Chain of Lakes, through Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades, mangrove coasts, and out to sea and the coral reefs. The class will focus on how these systems are connected, and how climate change might impact them in the future. This week, we started off by creating models of aquifers, which are natural underground water reservoirs. We learned that the Biscayne Aquifer in south Florida is an example of an unconfined aquifer – the top portion is the water table and it merges with Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the water supply can be easily contaminated. It also means that the more water we use, and the higher the sea levels rise, the more salt water will intrude into the wells which provide us with fresh water. So who’s on board with us to conserve water?
April 16, 2011
Everyone makes their home on the Earth, so everyone has a responsibility to do their part to keep it clean, right? Today we participated in Baynanza, which is a county-wide effort, including dozens of events, to make sure that we do what we can to save Biscayne Bay. The Bay is so important to the ecology of south Florida, and pollution over the years has caused serious problems for the environment.
Last year, thousands of volunteers removed over 40 tons of garbage from the shores all around the Bay. We’ll try to beat that record this year – it’s sad to think that people don’t realize what pollution does to the environment, but it’s awesome that people are working to take better care of our Biscayne Bay.
We were assigned to Oleta River State Park. While picking up trash on the beach, we noticed these colonies of brilliantly colored bugs, a testament to the biodiversity that we’re trying to protect. These look like shield or milkweed bugs in the Lygaeidae family, but we cannot identify them. Can you?
Click image to view hi-res version.