Joint 52nd Northeastern Annual Section / 51st North-Central Annual Section Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 22-5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


KONIECZNY, Catherine, Center for Learning and Interpretation, Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humbolt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211,

As a non-for-profit cultural institution the Buffalo Museum of Science accepts many charitable donations in the form of public grants to help meet our mission of inspiring curiosity through exploration. One of our partners is National Fuel, a Gas Distribution Corporation that sells and transports natural gas to more than 740,000 customers throughout the western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania region. The goal of the partnership between the Buffalo Museum of Science and National Fuel is to educate the public [our customers and clients] to the benefits of using natural gas and the potential risks associated with this resource. In the past, areas of focus included practical in-home application of using natural gas and more importantly, recognition of any immediate dangers that come with a gas leak.

This was done by exposing students through a series of Fun Festivals, Theme Days, and classroom outreaches at ten neighboring school districts, which were in “underserved” communities within the National Fuel Servicing District, to natural gas with a scratch-and-sniff card. These scratch-and-sniff cards demonstrated National Fuel’s intent to make the public aware that naturally occurring gas is colorless and odorless, and that the rotten egg, or sulfur, scent we sense is the result of an additive. The overall mission of distinguishing the differences in natural gas was a good introduction to the States of Matter, through informal lectures as well as hands on activities. With renewed funding for the upcoming academic year, the Buffalo Museum of Science and its informal educators have decided to switch their focus in terms of education and outreach.

The institution had decided to go deeper in terms of its educational and scientific outreach. Focusing on the geologic research of the rock unit where natural gas is found in conjunction with the science and technology needed to extract this non-renewable resource. The museum concentrates on remaining unbiased in its community engagement in order to correctly and effectively communicate National Fuel’s goals of public awareness in a factual scientific manner. The museum is grateful for the opportunities National Fuel has given them to teach students, informally in the K-12 setting, on the many importances associated with climate and energy in today’s ever changing world and society.

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