2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


CAMPBELL, Karen1, MARR, Jeff1, HAMILTON, Patrick2, ROE, Jim3, MORIN, Paul4, PAOLA, Chris5, PARKER, Gary6, KORNACK, Ken7, VOLLER, Vaughan1 and FOUFOULA, Efi8, (1)National Ctr for Earth-surface Dynamics, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, 2 Third Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, (2)Sci Museum of Minnesota, 120 West Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102, (3)Sci Museum of Minnesota, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102, (4)Department of Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (5)Geology & Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Room 108, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (6)NCED and Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ Minnesota, 2 3rd Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (7)Sci Museum of Minnesota, 120 West Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102, (8)National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, 2 3rd Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, jroe@umn.edu

The National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED), an NSF Science and Technology Center, has created a 1.2 acre exhibit to teach earth surface dynamics at the Science Museum of Minnesota. This outdoor exhibit space, called the Big Back Yard uses miniature golf, interactive exhibits and elements of landscape design to introduce casual visitors and school groups to surface process science, sustainable land management and how the earth’s surface changes over time. Together with the Museum’s Mississippi River Gallery and the National Park Service’s Mississippi River National Center, housed in the Museum lobby, visitors can now explore one of the greatest concentrations of river- and earth science-related educational opportunities available anywhere in the nation.

Organized around a theme of “source-to-sink”, each golf hole and interactive exhibit in the Big Back Yard is designed around research experiences of NCED PIs. Extensive use is made of existing geoscience databases including NASA and USGS remote sensing imagery and maps, and topographic data from multiple sources. Many of the interactive exhibits are based on experimental facilities at NCED’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. The park is also the focal point for several related programs for K-12 students and teachers. This presentation will visually introduce the Park and describe the collaborative process used by NCED museum and research staff to design and build an intensely research and data-based outdoor learning environment.