Mad Science at Mill Park

Written by Sara Volk

We were lucky for a sunny day as we closed out summer with a mad day of fun at Mill Park in Clackamas County. Kids and adults gathered near Johnson Creek to learn from the local STEM program, Mad Science, about H2O and how we can use water wisely. Keeping with the theme, we watched water move from liquid to ice and vapor without the use of a freezer. Kids were able to enjoy hands-on science by experimenting with oil and water mixing to understand the importance of  “only rain down the drain” and the life cycles and habitats of fish and insects. 

Exploring the life cycle and habitats of fish and insects with one of the scientists from Mad Science.

When not interacting at the Mad Science tables, Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) and our partners provided science activities throughout the park. Using their awesome interactive model, Depave demonstrated how green spaces filter pollution from rainwater runoff before entering waterways. Depave works hard to bring climate change sustainability by re-greening over-paved spaces in Portland area disenfranchised communities impacted by social and environmental injustices. 

Depave demonstrating how vegetation filters out contaminants in water.

Clackamas County Children’s Commission (CCCC) frisbees were a hit with the kids. In addition to early learning programs, CCCC provides parent education opportunities and offers resource connections in the Clackamas community. Families explored the park trying to find all the items on the scavenger hunt that North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District had at their table. When the skulls and pelts weren’t being examined, water was splashed while hunting for macroinvertebrates at the JCWC table. 

It was a perfectly, warm September day that made a little splashing with macros even more fun by all of the junior scientists.

Many thanks to our partners, including North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District for co-hosting this event and Clackamas Water Environment Services for funding this great event. Johnson Creek Watershed Council wouldn’t be able to bring these types of events into the community with out the support of our partners and a huge thank you to those that attended to make this year’s Science in the Park a success. 

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