Monday, April 4, 2016

Exhibit Opening: How's The Air Up There? - Saturday, April 9th

This year's exhibit is opening this Saturday, April 9th at 12 PM! The focus this year has been on air quality and its effects on nature, humans, and the Pittsburgh region.  In particular, we looked at Pittsburgh's current and past air quality with an eye on Pittsburgh's prospects for the future.

We are planning to illustrate the history of air quality in Pittsburgh with a mural and timeline highlighting major events in Pittsburgh's air quality history. To coincide with the mural, we will also be including video interviews from multiple generations of Pittsburghers who will share their experiences with the city's air quality. Another part of the exhibit will illustrate acid rain and the effects it has on plants, animals, and ecosystems as a whole. There will also be a pH game, a time-lapse video, and much more!  Please join us for the final Energy-Net exhibit opening, it is sure to be a fantastic time for people of all ages.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 8: Powdermill Nature Reserve Field Trip!!!

April 2nd

On Saturday, April 2nd, we took a field trip with some of the high school students down to the Carnegie Museum's Powdermill Nature Reserve in Rector, PA! A former Powdermill employee, Joe Stavish met us down at the reserve in order to give us a tour as we hiked through the woods. We learned how to differentiate different native trees in the Appalachian Plateau Province and also learned about how to tell whether an ecosystem is healthy or not. 

The Powdermill Nature Reserve grounds in Rector, PA.

We also headed down to the stream on the grounds and searched for some salamanders. We learned that some of the grounds on the nature reserve are located in a floodplain and we learned how to tell where the end of the floodplain was based on the landscape. 

A salamander found beneath a rock near the stream.

The stream found at the Powdermill Nature Reserve. 

We finished off the tour by exploring a bird-banding station located on the reserve grounds. Joe explained that scientists at the nature reserve put nets up and capture birds, band them with a metal bracelet in order to look at migratory paths, and release them back into the wild. We then explored the center for a little longer and hopped back on the bus to go back to Pittsburgh. We had a great time down at Powdermill Nature Reserve, it's always fun to be in nature!

Joe Stavish explains to the students how bird banding happens at the nature reserve and its importance in scientific studies of migratory birds.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Week 8: March 29th & 31th

After a week off for spring break, we came back this week and spent most of our time working on our exhibits.  The teens split up into smaller groups to each work on different exhibits.  We planned out the supplies needed, and gathered everything necessary to make the exhibits a success.  The teens have been working this week getting everything built and prepared according to their plan.   The environmental interns have worked hard as well in giving insight and a helping hand to the teens wherever needed.  We are all excited to show everyone what we have been working on!
Shelly working on her game to teach people about pH

One of our Environmental Interns, Grace (right), and a student, Alexus (left), priming an exhibit piece

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week 7: March 15th and 17th

On Tuesday March 15th, we had the privilege to work with local documentary filmmaker, Kirsi Jansa, in a video workshop. Kirsi gave an informative and helpful presentation on the basics of shooting film by discussing film composition, shot types, variations in angles and depth, the flow of a video, importance of audio, and lastly editing tips. 

After Kirsi's presentation, the group split into two. The first group went to the Green Room to work on their projects while the second put Kirsi's lesson into practice. The teens who worked with Kirsi practiced shooting different interview styles and experimented with angles, lighting, depth and the other components of film that Kirsi introduced to the group. Each teen was able to create their own masterpieces by playing the role of director and cameraman. The teens did a great job honing the new skills learned in today's session. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Week 6: March 8th & 10th

March 8th and 10th

This week the teens worked really hard on finalizing their project proposals. They worked on their proposal revisions and started determining the process of creating their exhibits through materials lists, blue prints and overall timelines. They also established an exhibit space in the museum. This week created the foundation for the coming weeks. The teens are really excited to get started and create their museum exhibits!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Week 5: March 1st and March 3rd

On March 1st we were visited by a special guest Becca Shreckengast, Director of Exhibition Experience atCarnegieMuseum of Natural History. She talked with us about what makes a good exhibit/layout and how to develop an exhibition that involves the audience. We came up with a sample exhibition about the 'History of Shoes' and she demonstrated a plan for the layout of the made-up exhibition. The rest of the time was used to work on the Exhibit Proposal drafts. 

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Becca Shreckengast demonstrates how to plan an exhibit on History of Shoes  
On March 3rd, a presenter named Olivia Hric from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Distance Learning Lab (DLL) brought in animals for the teens to meet. They brought in a baby alligator named Albert, a leopard tortoise named Betty, and a blue-tongued skink named Miley. The teens got to touch the animals and interact with them. The impact of air quality on animals is something that Energy-Net is very interested in. The rest of time was spent finishing the Exhibit Proposal drafts. 

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A presenter from the DLL brought in a spotted tortoise for the teens to meet