Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Explorit at 30: A celebration of 1 million minds touched by science

explorit1W

Lewis Williams creates a tornado in a bottle at one of Explorit's summer camp sessions this year. The science center is celebrating 30 years of inspiring young minds with hands-on science. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

Help us celebrate

What: “Touched by Science” fundraiser, featuring food, wine and speakers

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19

Where: Explorit Science Center, 3141 Fifth St.

Tickets: $75 general; discounts are available for Explorit members, members of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, students age 18 and older and teachers; call 530-756-0191 pr visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/437033

By Lars Anderson

In 1983, the founding board of what was then the Davis Science Center probably hadn’t dreamed that what they started would have blossomed and sustained its hands-on, inquiry-based and informal science discovery approach for 30 years!

Yet, as the science center’s evolving on-site and traveling programs expanded to a regional school classroom reach into 15 counties, what is now Explorit continues to inspire young children, their parents and the public with the wonders of science and nature.

What’s even more remarkable is that over those past three decades, Explorit has engaged more than 1 million children and adults in facets of science ranging from the nano scale to ecosystems and space and recently to the intrigue of “Spiders in Your World.”

As Explorit celebrates this amazing achievement on the evening of Oct. 19 at our Mace Ranch Park home base, it’s just as important to reflect on how this was possible, and how Explorit can continue its important contributions. The quality of life in the community —indeed, in the region — depends on the future of young children and their success in a continually increasing science- and technology-driven society.

Explorit’s success in the 1980s and 1990s developed from a need for supplementary science experiences beyond the formal classroom setting and, importantly, using a different model: open-ended activities that incorporate familiar objects and pose interesting questions that pertain to a given subject.

But the crucial component is an emphasis on doing the inquiry-based activity, where the outcome isn’t always known or expected. (Does that sound like real life?) That approach creates interest, and leads to discovery, critical thinking and an ability to develop problem-solving skills. In fact, our mission encompasses this well: “To ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through inquiry and discovery.”

As effective and valuable as this approach is, Explorit could not have been successful in delivering programs without the support of far-sighted and generous personal donors, corporate donations, grants and fundraising. Fees for services alone could not have sustained Explorit, especially when we strive to include underserved communities as well.

In its early years, Explorit also was provided with space by the Davis Joint Unified School District and later through a formal memorandum of understanding and lease with the city of Davis at Mace Ranch Park. In fact, the demand for programs and the booming economy in the early 2000s prompted our expansion to a facility on Second Street. Then the economic downturn hit.

In 2008, nearly every type of support for virtually all nonprofit organizations dropped precipitously, including Explorit’s. To sustain programming and continue our mission, we made difficult but necessary choices by leaving Second Street, reducing staff and regrouping at our Mace Ranch home. Last year, we reached more than 12,000 people with our on-site programs and with our traveling programs in 80-plus schools.

However, the hard reality is that contributions (all donations, grants and even memberships) to nonprofits are still 30 to 40 percent lower than pre-2008 levels and Explorit struggles as well. Ironically, the need for Explorit’s programs — indeed for many services provided by nonprofit groups — grows while resources have declined.

How can this problem be solved? There are some potential solutions that will take some new strategies and approaches.

First, there is a convergence in national and state standards for science and the need for improvement in approaches to teaching science.

Second, there is a growing recognition that informal science should be integrated into the overall science learning experiences and this also can be coupled with direct public involvement through citizen science. (Explorit launched its first citizen science program as part of our Community Science Project: “Spiders in Your World”.)

Third, there are several nonprofit organizations, and UC Davis, within our region that have shared goals with Explorit where each group’s activity and resources could be enhanced by carefully planned collaborative projects. As we move into the next several years, it is clear that science and nature-based groups will need to join in more formal arrangements to increase their effectiveness and the reliability of funding. Explorit is committed to supporting these collaborations and will host a series of discussion and planning sessions over the next several months.

Our upcoming “Touched by Science” event not only celebrates Explorit’s 30 years, it will raise funds to help sustain our work as well. We have an inviting program with some delicious food, wine and some entertaining events. We also have invited a group of speakers who will provide their perspectives on new directions in science education and the role of Explorit.

For those who have enjoyed our programs and whose children have benefited from both on-site and traveling programs, and those who value quality science and nature experiences for all, I invite you join us on Oct. 19 and lend your support.

Explorit has been here for you and your families for more than 30 years. Let’s work together to start securing the next 30 years! Visit us at www.explorit.org to buy your tickets for “Touched by Science.”

— Lars Anderson is president of the Explorit Science Center board of trustees.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Going green at church, school, everywhere

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

UCD to host Global Health Day event

By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Online K-12 school holds info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Schwenger lawn signs available

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Volunteers needed for Grad Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis grad makes rain collection a business

By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

A few spots left on history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event to provide nature scholarship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Students have new options on leasing front

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Groups join for a day of service

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Food for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Dad makes mom look bad

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Early help is a great investment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

More tax money? Answer the question

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
UCD IS responsible for students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

In search of great ideas

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Please keep the nursery open

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Acacia at Huntington Square

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Suzanne Kimmel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Andrew Dowling

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Sheryl Patterson

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Don Guthrie

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Partain & Dick Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Team Traverso

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tim Harrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Lori Prizmich

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20