STEM in Park takes flight by combining with air show


For the first time, STEM in the Park and the Wood County Air Fair will combine their events to make one large, multi-site event on Sept. 29 in Bowling Green.

STEM in the Park, a free family day of hands-on fun at Bowling Green State University, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Perry Field House, with free parking available. Meanwhile, all aspects of flight will be explored at the Wood County Regional Airport, with shuttle service available to transport families to both locations. The Wood County Air Fair will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

STEM in the Park will feature interactive displays and activities created by community partners, local businesses and area universities to engage children of all ages in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields. More than 175 unique, hands-on STEM activity stations will be offered.

The new Flight Zone, located at the Wood County Air Fair, will feature:

  • C47, 825 and TBM Avenger aircraft displays
  • Helicopter rides by Intrepid Helicopters (for a fee)
  • Hot air balloon rides (weather permitting)
  • Free airplane rides with the EAA Young Eagle Flight Program (ages 8-17)
  • FAA Aviation Pilot and Aircraft Maintenance seminars (hosted by the Bowling Green Flight Center)
  • Many hands-on activities

“We like to have the event stay current with fresh ideas and themes,” said Event Coordinator Jenna Pollock. “My son has been into flying drones lately and this is what sparked our new Flight Zone idea. Plus, we love to partner with other community organizations and the Wood County Air Fair is a great fit.”

Other activity zones back by popular demand for the ninth annual event are the Robotics Zone, Food Science Zone, Digital Media Zone, Science of Sports Zone and the H20 Zone, which explores the science behind all of water’s amazing uses. A Roots to STEM Pre-K-2 Zone is also back this year, featuring activities that cater specifically to younger children.

The STEM stage will once again feature super-sized demonstrations from the Imagination Station and the Toledo Zoo.

Activity station hosts include BGSU’s Marine Lab and Herpetarium, SSOE, Verizon, Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West, Nature’s Nursery, and more than 80 other institutions and organizations.

STEM in the Park is the brainchild of Drs. Emilio and Lena Duran, both faculty members in BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development. The event seeks to increase public engagement in the STEM disciplines in a family-friendly atmosphere.
The event offers hands-on activities that allow participants to dabble in robotics, launch pop rockets, pet lizards, explore virtual goggles and more. Attendees will receive free take-home STEM materials, STEM activity ideas and a complimentary catered lunch from Tony Packo’s.

NWO, the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at BGSU, organizes this free event and is committed to increasing attendance among underrepresented students. For the fifth consecutive year, transportation will be provided for elementary students, and in some cases their families, from several school districts in urban and low-income neighborhoods. Nearly 5,600 people attended last year’s event.

NWO is a partnership among area universities, K-12 schools and community partners with a shared mission to advance STEM education while promoting positive attitudes toward STEM teaching and learning.

STEM in the Park Presenting Sponsors for 2018 includes BGSU, BP, Lubrizol, PPG and Verizon. In addition to NWO, Community Sponsors include First Solar, SSOE, Thayer Family Dealerships, Wal-Mart and The Andersons. General Sponsors include AR Marketing, Biggby Coffee, Bostdorff’s, Cooper Tires, Environmental Water Treatment Specialists, Glass City Federal Credit Union, NAMSA and Tony Packo’s.

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