BAR HARBOR, MAINE – Children of all ages and their families will have an opportunity to experience science in a way that stimulates children’s interest and encourages parental involvement in science education at the MDI Biological Laboratory’s annual Family Science Night on Thursday, July 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Family Science Night provides a fun setting and structure in which families can explore, experiment and talk about science. Activities will include more than a dozen hands-on science stations guided by scientists and students. The program is developed and produced by the laboratory’s summer fellows under the direction of faculty mentors.
MDI Biological Laboratory science outreach coordinator, Robert L. Morris, Ph.D., who leads the Family Science Night program, is an example of the interest in science the event can inspire. He owes his career in science to a MDI Biological Laboratory family science night he attended as a 12-year-old in 1976 — more than 40 years ago.
“My mother could see how excited I was by it,” he says. He recalls her telling him, in a statement that would prove prescient: “‘You know Bobby, if you like it here maybe you could become a scientist here some day.’”
The revelation that it was possible to make a career out of examining life in tide pools — Morris’ favorite summertime activity — eventually led him to pursue a doctorate in biology at Harvard University. In addition to his outreach activities, he is a professor at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and a visiting scientist at the MDI Biological Laboratory.
Family Science Night is also an important part of the curriculum for the more than 40 high school and undergraduate participants in the MDI Biological Laboratory’s summer fellowship programs. Participation enhances their skills in communicating and presenting scientific ideas and helps them gain a greater appreciation for the value of building scientific literacy.
The festive outdoor event is a favorite among residents of and visitors to the Mount Desert Island region and has become a summer tradition for many. More than 200 participants typically engage in the science activities on the laboratory’s lower campus, which is set against the spectacular backdrop of Frenchman Bay.
“Science education is often criticized for its failure to make science interesting and relevant,” says Jane E. Disney, Ph.D., the laboratory’s director of education. “Family Science Night is an important part of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and generate excitement in science by bringing it to life.”
For your convenience, please pre-register at https://mdibl.org/events/. Healthy snacks will be available and there is no admission charge.
About the MDI Biological Laboratory
Our scientists are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on drugs that activate our natural ability to heal, and that slow age-related degenerative changes. Our unique approach has identified new drugs with the potential to treat major diseases, demonstrating that regeneration could be as simple as taking a pill. As innovators and entrepreneurs, we also teach what we know. Our Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation prepares students for 21st century careers and equips entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to turn great ideas into successful products. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.