Destrehan is only library in state where kids can ‘Discover Earth’ through unique exhibit

Offers magic globe, animal specimens and games for free

October 25, 2013 at 9:11 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Games,a magic globe and animal specimens will be on display throughout the East Regional Library in Destrehan.
Games,a magic globe and animal specimens will be on display throughout the East Regional Library in Destrehan.
A traveling science exhibit that includes an interactive magic globe, 42-inch multi-touch computer, animal specimens and educational games opened at the East Regional Library last weekend and will run until the end of the year.

The St. Charles Parish library system was one of 10 in the country chosen to host the exhibit, which focuses on local earth science topics and  gives children a global view of the changing planet. East Regional Librarian Lauren Campo Pitz said St. Charles had to submit an application outlining the public events that would be held in conjunction with the exhibit in order to be chosen.

“They must have liked our ideas because we were one of only 10 libraries chosen,” she said.

One of the highlights of the exhibit, called “Discover Earth,” is an 18-inch diameter magic planet globe. Pitz said the globe is a remarkable piece of technology.

“You stand across from the globe at a touchscreen computer. From the computer, you can choose a number of different things to be reflected on the globe: visualizations of hurricanes, locations of volcanoes and earthquakes, electricity usage, varying ocean and surface temperatures and information about coral reefs,” she said. “When you choose something, the globe rotates and allows you to see a three-dimensional representation about what you chose.”

There is also a 42-inch multi-touch computer that highlights people who conduct science research in difficult places, such as the poles and deep in the ocean. A video on the touchscreen computer will also illustrate stories told by people who live in regions that are going through rapid changes, such as Alaska and some coastal areas.

Discover Earth is broken down into three broad areas that include Our Changing Planet, Ecosystem: The Web of Life and Environmental Change. Each exhibit is filled with videos and animations that can be found on touchscreen computers located throughout the library.

“As you’re walking through, you’re able to choose what to watch,” Pitz said. “Topics include how to be a citizen scientist, local weather, weather predictions, the impact humans have on the environment and more.”

Animal artifacts on display at the library will include a dead baby seal that died of natural causes, a wing from a night hawk, an eastern yellow bellied racer snake and snow goose feet.

“These items show how animals can adapt to their surroundings and circumstances,” Pitz said. “There is also a display of old weather artifacts like a 1900 Farmer’s Almanac, a rain gauge and thermometer from the 1920s and a wind vane from the 1940s.”

One of the educational games offered is called You Decide. It puts you in charge of making decisions while showing you the effects those decisions have on the Earth and the environment. Another game tests your knowledge of each exhibit in the library.

“The Discover Earth exhibit will help everyone explore global issues affecting our planet as well as local environmental changes,” Pitz said. “It’s really like an exhibit you’d see in a science center, and it’s going to be here in St. Charles Parish. We are the only library in Louisiana to have the exhibit and one of only 10 libraries across the entire country. That’s really exciting to me.”

The exhibit will remain on view in the library through the end of the year. Several special events are planned in conjunction with the exhibit, including special planetarium shows at the West Regional Library in Luling.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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