The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 19th annual Family Weatherfest and Science Spectacular is April 6 at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.
The free public event is part of the Weather Ready Nation Ambassador program organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program prepares communities for extremes in weather, water and climate events.
“Our goal is to create more resilient communities by helping the public be better prepared to make fast and smart decisions to save lives and property and enhance livelihoods,” said Ken Dewey, climatologist and the event’s organizer. “Many of our 60-plus exhibits will have informational brochures and activities for the public.”
Participants can interact with emergency managers and government agencies at the state and local levels. Outdoor exhibits will include agencies such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Lincoln Electric Company, Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, with display vehicles for the public to explore.
“Visitors can learn more about how these agencies help the public prepare for extremes in weather and to assist when disasters impact our area,” said Dewey, professor of geography.
In addition to many of the hands-on activities from past years, there will be new exhibits and activities for people of all ages. For example, former Nebraska State Sen. Ken Haar will give two of the four “Climate Change 101” talks designed to help the public learn more about changing climate.
“We have responded to public requests and have expanded our outdoor exhibits to include electric vehicles, such as Teslas, this year,” Dewey said. “The public will get to learn more about electric vehicles by talking to their owners.”
The schedule includes:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Exhibits, demonstrations and experiments
10 a.m. to noon: “Meet the Weathercasters,” local TV weathercasters from Lincoln and Omaha
Climate Change 101:
10 to 10:30 a.m.: “Climate Change in 10 Words,” Ken Haar, former Nebraska state senator
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.: “Climate Change: There is Hope,” Ken Haar
11:30 a.m. to noon: “Climate Change and Nebraskans’ Health,” Dr. Jesse Bell, University of Nebraska Medical Center Public Health
12:15 to 12:45 p.m.: “Wildlife in a Warming World,” Matt Gregory, Nebraska Wildlife Federation
Severe Weather Symposium:
Noon to 12:30 p.m.: Time-lapse videos of storms and tornadoes
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: “Deciphering Weather Information in the Complex and Ever-Changing World of Social Media,” Zach Sharpe, Iowa Storm Chasing Network; Ben McMillan, field reporter, Weather Nation TV
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: “Capturing Extreme Weather in Photography,” Mike Olbinski Photography
2:30 to 4:30 p.m.: “Storm-Spotter Training,” a workshop geared toward preparing the public to better survive severe storms
Admission is free due to support from State Farm Insurance. Parking is also free.
The event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the geography program, the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Nebraska Extension.