Grant to help fund Tahoe Science Center interactive exhibit | SierraSun.com

Grant to help fund Tahoe Science Center interactive exhibit

Special to the Sun

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently awarded $150,000 to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center to create an interactive public exhibit at the Tahoe Science Center.

The exhibit will merge the results of citizen science with TERC’s new, real-time monitoring network that is being installed around the lake to understand and improve the clarity and health of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.

The exhibit, scheduled to open in 2015, will encourage visitors and residents to participate in hands-on learning about the lake and other watersheds, resulting in increased awareness and active environmental stewardship.

“We are grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their vision to inspire hands-on learning and civic engagement in the Tahoe Basin. This will benefit both the residents and the three million visitors that come each year to enjoy the lake’s extraordinary beauty,” said UC Davis TERC director Geoffrey Schladow. “This generous award builds on our philanthropically funded Nearshore Network and demonstrates the power of collaboration and leverage.

“It opens the door to a new era of broad-scale citizen science that can lead to Lake Tahoe becoming the clearest and ‘smartest’ large lake in the world.”

NEARSHORE MONITORING

The exhibit will rely upon data collected via TERC’s new nearshore monitoring network — the first of its kind — that is measuring changes to water quality in the area of the lake people experience most. Collected data will include water temperature, cloudiness and algal concentration.

This information will be coupled with TERC’s existing research related to weather and water clarity to provide insight into how climate change, invasive species and other factors impact the lake.

It will also incorporate data from a novel citizen science program that uses a new mobile application. For example, members of the public will be able to go to places such as Kings Beach and use their phone to easily send TERC data and photos of nearshore conditions.

Moments later, those citizen scientists can visit TERC’s Tahoe Science Center, where the new exhibit displays the results collected both from citizens and the nearshore monitoring network.

IMLS museum grants support a variety of projects that create learning experiences, strengthen communities, care for collections and provide broad public access.

HIGHLY COMPETITIVE GRANT

“Our grants are highly competitive,” said IMLS director Susan H. Hildreth. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services enlists hundreds of library and museum professionals throughout the United States to review grant applications and make recommendations on projects most worthy of funding. Receiving a grant from IMLS is a significant achievement, and we congratulate UC Davis TERC for being among the 2014 IMLS museum grantees.”

A complete list of museum recipients is available on the IMLS website at http://www.imls.gov/2014MuseumList.

This article was submitted by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, which works to educate the next generation of environmental leaders and inspires stewardship of freshwater ecosystems for thousands of students, community members and visitors annually through its two science centers in Incline Village (on the campus of Sierra Nevada College) and Tahoe City (at 2400 Lake Forest Road). Visit terc.ucdavis.edu to learn more.