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Mobile Science Lab launches in Cochise Co.

MOBILE LAB SETUP 4.jpg
Posted at 7:09 AM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 10:19:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A new way of exploring science kicks off Tuesday in Cochise County.

The Bisbee Science Lab's "Sky Island STEAM Express" is holding its first, new mobile science lab.

BSL says the idea all started with a grant awarded to Arizona State University six years ago. It was to help bring STEM infrastructure to rural communities. "Thanks to funding from the Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and a vehicle from Freeport McMoRan, Sky Island STEAM Express will be able to bring hands-on science enrichment to even the most rural corners of the county."

"So, it's called 'Your Hip Bone's Connected to a Whale's Bone!' and it's a lot about comparative anatomy and marine creatures. It has to do with a Minke Whale skeleton that we actually got a few months ago, says Amie Esteves, the Bisbee Science Lab Program Coordinator. "We wanted to design an exhibit that had to do with that whale that could kind of bring home some of the scientific ideas around anatomy and biological structures and functions."

The outdoor exhibit will be separated into 5 different parts.

Esteves says, "each one has different activities associated with it so some of them have puzzles or drawing activities or just an activity where you can all get together and answer some questions. There's a lot of different activities associated with each section and it's divided into different age groups too so that we can reach as wide of an audience as possible."

Social distancing and other COVID-19 Safety Protocols will be in place.

BSL says it was all designed by two PhD students at the University of Arizona.

The BSL Board President, Etta Kralovec, says this is something positive for the community. "We're excited because we think locally-grown exhibits and exhibits that people in the community want to build are much more powerful than package stuff, even from the Arizona Science Center. So, that's part of our theory of change, if you will, is that this locally developed. It's like a DIY or a Farmer's Market."

The Mobile Science Lab will be traveling throughout Cochise County over the next year and a half. Click here to see the next stops.

The next scientific topic, "Agrivoltaics," is already being planned and the community is invited to get involved. Those chosen to design the exhibit will receive up to $4,000 in funding. The unique exhibit will need to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between solar energy and food production.

If you or someone you know would like to help bring Sky Island STEAM Express to your Cochise County community, you can contact BSL at bisbeesciencelab@gmail.com.