By David Dore
If you’re looking for airplanes, bees, or maybe robots, you’ll probably find it at the Central Massachusetts Science Festival.
The second edition of the Science Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster.
“It is a celebration of STEAM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics,” said festival coordinator Rebecca Cyganiewicz, the Boys & Girls Club’s volunteer resources coordinator. “It’s a free family event, and we’ll be showcasing a lot of the programs we run here are the club.”
The Club will be partnering with groups and businesses for the festival, such as Mount Wachusett Community College, the Leominster Police Department, the Blue Star Planetarium, Growing Places, Solid Works, Amethyst Software Technologies, STEM Beginnings and Happy Tonics. Digital Federal Credit Union, Omnova Solutions and Workers’ Credit Union are Diamond Sponsors.
“It’s an event where kids and families can do hands-on science activities,”Rebecca Cyganiewicz said. “So it’s different than a typical science fair. We call it a festival because the kids can actually learn and experience these things on their own.”
Among the activities to be offered and the displays scheduled to be at the Science Festival are computer coding, seed starting and seed saving, a Wetlands Trail Walk, geological displays, 3-D printing demonstrations, magnetism, fingerprinting, origami, wind tunnels, beekeeping, a humanoid robot, planes and archery.
The Blue Star Planetarium will offer six shows throughout the day: A program for pre-kindergarten through Grade 2 on what can be seen from backyards at 10:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., a program for Grade 2 and older on where water exists in the galaxy at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and a program on black holes for Grade 6 and up at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
This year’s Science Festival, like last year, will have a passport program where attendees visit different areas, get their passports stamped and then pass in completed passports for prize drawings.
“It’s to get the kids to get through everything,” Cyganiewicz said.
There will be items for sale, such as lab coats for children, T-shirts and tote bags.
The Central Massachusetts Science Festival is considered part of the Cambridge Science Festival. The club worked with the Cambridge festival to set up last year’s inaugural event.
“It was very successful last year, so this year we’re anticipating a much larger event,” Cyganiewicz said. “It’s really an incredible event. It’s a lot of fun.”
People at the club thought it was important to have an event like this “because of the kind of club we are,” Cyganiewicz said, and to share with the community what they’re doing at the club. The club has a robotics program, plenty of science and art programs, sports and recreation programs, homework help, leadership groups, gardening, a teen beekeeping program, a Junior Aviation Program for teenagers, and more.
The Boys & Girls Club sees itself as an extension of school, Cyganiewicz said, providing educational and fun opportunities that children can’t get anywhere else and that expand on what they learn at school.
For more information on the Central Massachusetts Science Festival, visit its website at www.centralmasciencefestival.org.