EDWARDSVILLE - The public is invited to engage in exciting, educational and authentic science activities that benefit the local environment by participating in the new community-based collaborative program, DANCES (Day and Night Citizen Environmental Science).

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DANCES is hosted by the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Center and the Watershed Nature Center, and is partially funded by the SIUE Meridian Society. Throughout the coming year, three citizen science programs will build community awareness and understanding of the critical relationship between humans and their environment.

Due to inclement weather, the first program, Globe at Night, has been rescheduled for 6-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Watershed Nature Center. The cost is $5 for adults and $2 for kids, ages 12 and under. Register online at watershednaturecenter.org/ calendar/.

“During Globe at Night, individuals and families will become citizen scientists as they learn about and monitor the amount of light pollution in the night sky,” said Georgia Bracey, research associate in the SIUE STEM Center. “Participants will learn about key fall constellations, and then go outside to view them, using the stars they see to gauge the darkness of the night sky.”

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After collecting and sharing their data, the participants will have time to look through telescopes provided by the River Bend Astronomy Club.

“Participants will also learn how to continue the activities at home and school,” said Sarah Palermo, executive director of the Nature Preserve Foundation, which operates the Watershed Nature Center. “They will be inspired to make a difference in our community and in the local environment by helping scientists with their research.”

“We are excited for local community members to leave this event with a better appreciation of the awe-inspiring beauty of a dark night sky, and its importance to the well-being of humans and wildlife,” Bracey added. “These individuals will also become part of a world-wide community of citizen scientists, working to increase awareness about light pollution and its impacts.”

The next two DANCES programs will be The Great Backyard Bird Count and FrogWatch. Both will take place at the Watershed Nature Center in spring 2018.

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach comprises an independent group of researchers and educators, innovating ways to engage students and the public in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Within the SIUE Graduate School, the Center brings together research faculty, graduate students and practitioners to conduct education research. The Center contributes educational expertise to SIUE undergraduate classes and provides professional development for K-12 teachers. The Center boasts a significant library of equipment and resources, which are available for loan at no cost to campus and regional instructors. For more information, visit https://www.siue.edu/stem/ about.shtml or contact STEM Center Director Sharon Locke at (618) 650-3065 or stemcenter@siue.edu.

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