VICKSBURG, Miss.,— In celebration of Earth Day, more than 100 local eighth-graders made their way to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for hands-on science demonstrations on Thursday, April 20, 2023.
The event was aimed at giving students the opportunity to see innovative research and development happening at ERDC that makes our world a safer and better place.
“Our researchers are known worldwide as experts in their fields of study, and this is a great opportunity for our local students to see the incredible work that happens here,” said Bobby McComas, a chemical engineer and environmental protection manager at ERDC. “We hope this event might inspire young people to be interested in science and teach them that they can make a difference.”
The Army’s 2023 Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet,” and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a mission to plan, design, build and operate projects and facilities with safety and sustainability at the forefront of our actions. As the research and development arm for USACE, ERDC is creating innovative solutions to some of the world’s toughest environmental challenges.
From studies on invasive fish species to how robotics are used in wildlife management, students saw more than 10 demonstrations of real projects that are being studied and technologies that are being developed at ERDC.
“We had everything from a robotic dredge to 3D printed technologies on display,” McComas said. “We made this a very hands-on, interactive event for the students.”
The first ERDC Earth Day event for local eighth-graders was held in 2019, but this is the first year the event has come back since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.