Science festival returns to Boys & Girls Club in Leominster

By Amanda Roberge
The Leominster Champion
April 8, 2016

Jonathan Arel of Fitchburg is shown the queen honeybee of a hive by Max Weagle of Leominster at a previous Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster's Science Festival.

Jonathan Arel of Fitchburg is shown the queen honeybee of a hive by Max Weagle of Leominster at a previous Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Science Festival. T&G File Photo/Paul Connors

LEOMINSTER – When the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster experienced a major renovation in 2012, leaders determined that the organization would be largely a STEAM-focused club. That intentional decision to spotlight science, technology, engineering, arts and math evolved, naturally, into the club’s sponsorship of an annual science fair.

This year, the third annual Central Mass. Science Festival, which has grown steadily each year, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 16 at the club, 365 Lindell Ave. The event is free.
“What we hear from people is that it’s just a really, really fun day,” said BGCFL Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Cyganiewicz.

Having brought in 200-250 people in the first year, that number more than doubled at the second annual festival. This year, the staff of volunteers is ready for anything. But knowing what they know – regarding the dozens of amazing exhibits, demonstrations and experiences awaiting festival-goers – they expect a healthy crowd.
In addition to robotics and LEGO robotics on display, there are also geological exhibits that allow kids to get hands-on with rocks and meteors.
The Blue Star Planetarium, an inflatable planetarium that visits schools and libraries across New England with its curator Marc Rouleau at the helm, will offer six shows at various times throughout the day.
There is a 3-D Mars experience, a humanoid robot exhibit and an origami demonstration, said Ms. Cyganiewicz.
But this year, she added, there is new focus on natural sciences, with a beekeeping exhibit and The Caterpillar Lab out of Keene, N.H., making a stop at the festival. The Massachusetts Audubon Society will also be on hand.
In addition to a 3-D printing exhibit, visitors should expect to be wowed by an Augmented Reality Sandbox.
“I’m not even going to try to explain what that is,” Ms. Cyganiewicz said with a laugh. “People can come and see it with their own eyes.”
The event is affiliated with the Cambridge Science Festival, held as a “satellite” event sometime during Cambridge’s 10-day long science event. But rather than bring in exhibitors and organizations from the city, Ms. Cyganiewicz said the focus at BGCFL is to focus on all the wonderful offerings that lay claim to territory “west of Route 495.”
“We have so much to offer out this way and it’s our chance to spotlight all of the great things happening in this area in the STEAM realm,” she said.
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