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The Wisconsin Science Festival’s statewide celebration is back, featuring a full week of in-person and virtual activities October 10-16.
Join in on the festivities with more than 300 events in communities throughout Wisconsin. All are welcome to drop in and explore dozens of offerings, including hands-on activities, talks with scientists and authors, films, performances, nature hikes, take-home science kits and so much more.
This year, both Superintendent Jill Underly of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Governor Tony Evers have issued proclamations that officially declare October 10-16 as Wisconsin Science Week to highlight the importance of Wisconsin citizens engaging with science in all aspects of their lives.
“The festival creates a truly unique gathering of events that celebrate science, art and technology across our entire state, highlighting the vast amount of expertise and curiosity we can be proud of as Wisconsinites,” says Sam Mulrooney, incoming director of the 2023 festival.
Each year, the Wisconsin Science Festival highlights a specific aspect of the world around us. This year, as a nod to the International Year of Glass, we’re focusing on glass and the many ways it impacts science, art and technology.
Laura Heisler, co-founder and outgoing director of the Wisconsin Science Festival, says, “Glass is something that we all use, in ways that are both ordinary and surprising. From Platteville to Sussex, Marshfield to Madison, we’re holding a number of events around the state that highlight the importance of glass in science, industry, art, medicine and more.”
Discover an interesting twist on a museum tour October 11-16 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. The self-guided experience focuses on the different ways galleries use glass to present and protect art.
Did you know that humans have been making glass for more than 6,000 years? Or that certain types of glass glow under a blacklight? On October 13, stumble into science with the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass at Holiday’s Pub & Grill in Neenah and dive into the science behind glass. Or, head to the museum on October 16 for an informative and entertaining look at what glass is, how it behaves at high temperatures and how people manipulate glass to create beautiful works of art. The live glass blowing demonstrations are suitable for ages 5 and up.
A popular returning activity is Science in a Bag, which debuted at last year’s festival. Stop by one of the 50 participating library locations October 10-16 during regular library hours to get a free Science in a Bag STEM kit (while supplies last).
The bags include activities appropriate for K-12 youth that highlight science and research happening in Wisconsin. Among the activities featured in assorted kits is a science mini-mural project. Participants can submit their creations to inspire a larger installation that will be on display at the Discovery Building in Madison.
Nearby pickup locations include the Brown County Library, Lester Public Library, Brillion Public Library and Gillett Public Library.
Local children’s museums and science centers, including the Children’s Museum of Green Bay, the Building for Kids Children’s Museum and the Atlas Science Center, are getting in on the festival fun with a variety of events (free with museum admission). All are invited to participate in hands-on activities that help us explore the world around – and above – us.
Nature enthusiasts are welcome to explore Wisconsin’s biodiversity through our statewide BioBlitz. Have you ever wondered how many species exist in our environment? From the shores of Lake Michigan to the forests of the Northwoods or the soil in your backyard, Wisconsin is teeming with life – and the Wisconsin Science Festival is holding a statewide BioBlitz project to learn more! During the week of the festival, people throughout Wisconsin will be finding species in the environment around them and adding their observations to our iNaturalist project.
Enjoy reading and the outdoors at the fun science-themed StoryWalk® at Upper Lake Park in Port Washington. The illustrated children’s book Big Storm will be displayed page by page along a walking path.
And online events like virtual field trips for K-12 youth on October 13 and Maker Faire Milwaukee’s NASA Day on October 14 offer opportunities to connect with science enthusiasts across the state.
“The beauty of the festival is seeing our networks blossoms and grow each year to create newfound community connections or bolster existing relationships throughout Wisconsin,” says Mulrooney, who is also a program manager for WARF and the Discovery Connections team. “Libraries connect to nearby companies, pub owners engage with local scientists, and campus organizations take nature hikes with community groups.”
Check the Wisconsin Science Festival website for the full festival schedule.