EL’s organisms popular at the National Sustainable Design Expo

Published May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With live specimens and unique displays, the ERDC Environmental Laboratory (EL) booth caught the eye of many patrons as they visited the National Sustainable Design Expo Earth Day exhibits April 21-23 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The booth exhibited a wide array of sediment and soil dwelling organisms typically used in environmental toxicology work, including freshwater and marine invertebrates, earthworms, and isopods (aka “roly polys”).  In addition to the live organisms, the Biopolymer, winner of the Corps of Engineers Sustainability Award in Green Innovation, was also on display, allowing participants to view the material’s transformation from liquid to solid stages.

EL Research Biologists Ashley Harmon and Jessica Coleman, along with ERDC-Resource Management Accountant Cheryl Boyd, joined headquarters personnel to staff the Earth Day booth.  Dr. Sandra Brasfield, EL, organized booth coordination and staffing arrangements.

The expo was a great opportunity to showcase environmental work performed by the Corps of Engineers in a fun, interactive way.  The live specimens interested people of all ages, giving staffers a chance to talk about the importance of environmental research.

Staffers promoted ERDC’s research capabilities to visiting dignitaries as well, including Dr. Christine Altendorf, chief of the USACE Environmental Division; Jo Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works; Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; and Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

In addition to discussing ERDC’s capabilities with those visiting the booth, staffers also shared information on the Army’s eCYBERMISSION program with parents and students.  The eCYBERMISSION is a Web-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics competition free for students in sixth through ninth grades.  Student teams compete for state, regional and national awards while working to solve problems in their community.

“My daughter and three of her friends formed a team this year, Flood Stoppers, to compete in the competition,” Boyd said.  “They won the state level and were awaiting the results of the regional judging at the time of Earth Day.  I wanted to share with all parents and students about the eCYBERMISSION competition, having seen first-hand the excitement and level of learning the competition fostered in our students.”

For more information about eCYBERMISSION and an example of a project from this year, visit https://www.ecybermission.com/ and http://www.floodstoppers.org/Flood_Stoppers/Welcome.html.