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Robinson Nature Center Investigating their Air

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Submitted by Danny on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:41


The Robinson Nature Center is an 18-acre, publicly-owned nature center that hosts 420 groups every year in Maryland in their 23,000 ft2 platinum LEED-certified facility. It was founded in 2009 following the wishes of James and Anne Robinson--who had previously lived on the land. They now have a new activity, which features the PocketLab Air, called Air Quality Outreach.

Air Quality Outreach

The activity focuses on poor air quality seen in places, such as China in the form of their extremely high particulate matter levels. The main reason for this is largely due to the use of coal-fired power plants to meet China’s electricity demands. China’s current situation is presented as the path of quick profit which forfeits environmental protection and law for economic progress. To give air pollution in China a sense of scale data is provided showing the worst ten cities for particulate matter in China and the US as seen below. This clearly shows that air pollution in China is on a much different scale than that in the US. 

Particulate Matter data from the ten worst cities in China compared to the ten worst in the US

Participants are then provided with data, taken using a PocketLab Air to make the topic local. Two data sets are given one from an urban location and the other rural which included carbon dioxide, particulate matter less than 1 micrometer in diameter, and ozone data. From this data, participants are challenged to determine which data set is from either the urban or rural environment which is then discussed.

Urban and Rural data produced by the Robinson Nature Center
a) Urban data                                                     b) Rural data

This activity makes students aware of air pollution both on a global scale, as well as locally.

The Robinson Nature Center