Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Hanford Display at Richland Public Library

by Heather John, education & community outreach specialist, Nuclear Waste Program

As a new hire to Ecology’s public involvement team, I was certainly excited to get my feet wet in the education outreach pool. But not being a native to Tri-Cities, I definitely had a lot to learn about Hanford before I could start finding creative ways to teach others. Everything from local history and legends to the science of radioactivity and the history of the Cold War was on my agenda. Because I was new to all of this, I thought the best method to learn was to start from the beginning and collect all the facts I could.

I believe that the way to get people excited about Hanford is to open a variety of windows onto things the public might not know. For example, did you know that a Waste Treatment Plant (commonly referred to as WTP or the “Vit” plant) is still being designed and built to treat the 56 million gallons of waste remaining in underground tanks?

Or, on a more playful note, did you know that a popular local comic strip here in the 1940s featured a goofy Richland character named Dupus Boomer? There’s just so much to learn and explore!

That’s why Ecology makes it a goal to create new ways to communicate all the fascinating history, nature, and science of Hanford. Everything from games to slideshows to posters can reach a wide range of audiences and get people excited about technology jobs, natural habitat, and Hanford history.

Reaching out to the community in Richland

In fact, our most recent outreach project is on display right now at the Richland Public Library!
The lobby case features a wide variety of materials—everything from animal photos and factoids, historical and modern Hanford equipment on loan from the Department of Health, and even a detailed slideshow outlining the history and cleanup efforts at the Hanford site. Curious about Geiger counters, air and water sampling equipment, or vitrified glass simulant? We’ve got it all on display!

Next to the display case in the lobby we have set up a table with plenty of Ecology-related takeaways for all ages. Patrons will find bookmarks, brochures, magnets, pens, animal photos, and information on how to contact our public involvement team for class and community presentations.
So if, like me, you’re always eager to get the inside scoop on Hanford, please go check out the Ecology exhibit at the Richland Library. Your public library may have books and documentaries on the subject of Hanford too, and if not they can likely get them through interlibrary loan. Be sure to consult one of the librarians and they’ll lead you right to all the resources.

Knowledge is power and there’s something for everyone. If you live in or happen to visit Richland, the Ecology display is up through the end of September 2014. Can’t make it to Richland this month? No problem. Just follow Ecology’s Twitter and Facebook sites to keep up on Hanford-related news, events, and activities.

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