Hands-on education at Science Central
Aug28

Hands-on education at Science Central

Northeast Indiana is home to many great nonprofits that engage with the community at-large to address issues vital to making Fort Wayne a desirable place to live, work, learn, and play. We start off this week with one of Fort Wayne’s most visible institutions, Science Central, “a regional resource that provides inspiring and hands-on science education for people of all ages.” Background Although Science Central opened in 1995, its story as a nonprofit organization actually begins earlier than that. In 1987, community leaders came together to start working towards the goal of developing a hands-on science center for northeast Indiana. As the Science Collective of Northeast Indiana, the organization developed a presence in the community by developing off-site programming at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and with schools across the area. Innovative programming, community engagement, and outreach continue to play significant roles in Science Central’s operations as a nonprofit. The organization is currently in the first year of its new three-year strategic plan, which includes infrastructure improvements, plans for new permanent exhibits, and a possible goal to soon initiate a silent fundraising campaign to develop and install a new $1-1.5 million exhibit in a now undeveloped part of the building. The science of storytelling Two successful recent developments have enhanced the organization’s ability to share its mission. The organization’s new logo and marketing materials and the Science On a Sphere exhibit, which features a three dimensional research tool designed to educate visitors about earth and space systems have both received positive feedback from the community. Science Central plans to have two-to-four traveling exhibits per year with the next one being Marvelous Molecules: The Secret of Life, tentatively scheduled for September 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015. The exhibit will feature a series of stations, computer interactives, and hands-on models for visitors to learn about the similarities and differences among molecules of different species. In addition to this, Science Central continues to offer traveling labs, demonstrations, assemblies, and festivals at schools and other off site locations via The Outreach (Science4U) program. Getting involved As a nonprofit organization, funding for operations is an expected challenge. Eighty-five percent of similar science institutions receive annual public/government funds for general operations, but Science Central does not and relies on funds, grants, and the generosity of the community to fund its growth. If you or your organization are interested in getting involved with Science Central, there are numerous ways to do so through the organization’s ongoing membership, volunteering, sponsorship, community partnership, and fundraising opportunities. Individual and corporate memberships are available on their website. Basic individual membership provides numerous benefits such as free admission for two adults at the same address and any six...

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