ISCSMD at The Franklin Institute

By Rachel Valletta, Ph.D., Environmental Scientist, The Franklin Institute, and Larry Dubinski, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute, Board Chair, Association of Science and Technology Centers

This year for International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD), The Franklin Institute is crafting our celebration around sustainability and environmental sciences. It’s an ideal opportunity to kick off some new and exciting efforts as we gear up for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.

People visiting a museum exhibit showing a large map of Earth.

Visitors at the Changing Earth exhibit at The Franklin Institute.

On November 10 we will unveil hands-on activities related to food systems, a crucial aspect of sustainable cities and communities. These activities are made possible by a new partnership with FMC Corporation, a Philadelphia-based global agricultural sciences company. Through collaboration between our educators and FMC scientists, we can expand our reach to inspire public audiences in the museum, at our annual Philadelphia Science Festival, and around the community to think critically about and take action towards a more sustainable future.

Public outreach enabled through this new partnership will employ best practices of community engagement and empowerment learned through our Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) project. In conjunction with the ISCSMD celebration, the Institute will host an educational workshop on plastic pollution that engages CUSP network partners and other community stakeholders to envision a future built on more responsible consumption and production.

Children watching a science demonstration.

Participants at a Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) project event.

As we look beyond ISCSMD, the Franklin Institute’s commitment to sustainability and environmental concerns extends outside the walls of the museum. We have leveraged CUSP collaborations to create an annual professional development program in climate change and sustainability science that unites formal and informal educators around the Philadelphia region. This month, we became a signatory to the Climate Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia, a first-of-its-kind working group of large Philadelphia institutions dedicated to climate action planning. With this working group, the Institute has committed to create a public-facing climate action goal, connecting our focus on sustainability education to long-term institutional practice.