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January 27, 2010 | Hundreds of schoolkids got a taste of atmospheric science with the help of EO staff and SOARS protégés at the American Meteorological Society's WeatherFest event in Atlanta on January 17. Held at the start of each AMS annual meeting, WeatherFest brings weather and climate science to people of all ages through games, displays, and hands-on demonstrations.
Lumari Pardo, who recently completed a master's degree in climate and society at Columbia University, explains the workings of microbursts using a small-scale version of the Mesa Lab exhibit.
The protégés' energy and enthusiasm served as a big boost to UCAR's presence at the four-hour WeatherFest, which drew a record 5,000 attendees. "It was heaven," says EO's Teri Eastburn. "Several of the protégés stayed from start to finish. They relate so well to the kids, and they know the science. The girls really look up to the 20-year-old women." According to Teri, elementary students don't get exposed to a lot of science in their first years of school: "If you can give them a few hours, that's huge."
EO and the SOARS protégés shared an extended booth this year with the Center for Multiscale Modeling Program, based at Colorado State University, and CSU's Little Shop of Physics. "It's a nice example of major outreach and institutional collaboration," says EO's Susan Foster.
Alex Gonzales (CSU) demonstrates the creation of a tornado/vortex using an activity from UCAR's Web Weather for Kids.