Local Youth Inspired by
The Nantucket Science Festival
The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association and the Nantucket Community School hosted the Third Annual Nantucket Science Festival on March 18, 2017 at the Cyrus Pierce Middle School. Over 375 island children and adults explored science through hands-on activities in robotics, renewable energy and electricity, magnetism, potential energy in engineering, space exploration, sensory crafts, and more. Many organizations across the island also supported this year’s event including the Nantucket High School Tech Club, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, ACK Smart, SmartPower, and the Exploration Station. All worked hard to create this important event for our island’s budding scientists.
The event was started in 2015 to focus on science education for the students living year-round on Nantucket. The steady crowd at this year’s festival demonstrates an immense interest in science education within our community.
“The Nantucket Science Festival provides a fun and engaging opportunity to encourage island children and teenagers’ interest in science. It inspires some to consider careers in science, and others to volunteer for the many science focused organizations on the island. We look to young people to be the innovators that will solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems. It was wonderful to see so many of Nantucket’s young problem solvers talking, working, and playing with island scientists at the Third Annual Science Festival. This is truly an inspirational event,” said MMA Executive Director, David Gagnon. Kim Botelho, MMA’s Director of Education was excited to learn that SmartPower was able to enroll forty families in their home energy assessment program. “Not only does this event provide out-of-school-time opportunities in science, it will actually result in saving energy for Nantucket too!”
The Nantucket Science Festival was completely free-of-charge thanks to generous funding provided by: Dr. David and Beverly Barlow, the Nantucket Land Council, Nantucket Golf Club Foundation, The Nantucket Fund, and a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant from the Department of Early Education and Care.
Door prizes for the event were provided by the Maria Mitchell Association, the Nantucket Community School, the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Dan’s Pharmacy, the Dreamland Theater, Ginger Andrews, Kitty Murtagh’s, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, Mitchell’s Book Corner, the Nantucket Bake Shop, Nantucket Coffee Roasters, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, ACK Smart, the Nantucket Historical Association, The Green, the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum, and Thai House. Food donations were provided by Stop & Shop, Espresso To Go, the Nantucket Bake Shop, and the Handlebar Café.
The Maria Mitchell Association is named after America’s first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell. She is known for discovering a comet over Nantucket in October 1847. She went on to become the first professor at Vassar College. The Maria Mitchell Association was founded in 1902 to preserve her legacy of scientific achievement and to carry on her passion for hands-on learning. Today, the Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories (Loines and the Maria Mitchell Observatory), as well as the MMA Aquarium, the Natural Science Museum, and the birthplace of Maria Mitchell. More information about the Maria Mitchell Association can be found at www.mariamitchell.org.
The Nantucket Community School is a community organization that reaches all pockets of Nantucket Island’s diverse community. Established during Town meeting in 1989, the Nantucket Community School was originally created to utilize the public school facilities “outside of school time” to offer adult education classes and a community pool program. The role of the Nantucket Community School has expanded to include offering educational and enrichment activities to all Nantucket islanders and visitors of all ages. More information about the Nantucket Community School can be found at www.nantucketcommunityschool.org.