To answer the age-old question of what makes our waters ebb and flow, the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center will host a free educational program in August about the moon and its effect on tides.
The August events are part of the Water Works’ Science Saturdays program, in which staff teach children and families about a different water-related topic each month.
“We’ve never done the moon and tides [at Science Saturdays] before … but it seemed like a perfect fit for us,” said Meg Malloy, an environmental educator at the water works. “We are right next to a tidal river, and a lot of people don’t know that the Schuylkill River is tidal up to the Fairmount Dam.”
“So, the moon and tides theme was a nice way to talk about something that’s very relevant outside of our doors and still make our Science Saturdays interesting,” Malloy said.
Events will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday in August at the Water Works, and attendees will move through the science center at half-hour intervals.
Malloy said a co-op student from Drexel University dreamed up the tidal theme for this month’s programming.
“I’ve always had an interest in space, the solar system and the universe,” said Shannon Armstrong, a junior working as an educational assistant at the Water Works as part of her co-op at Drexel. “So, I really wanted to tie that into a fun science activity that the students could do.”
Visitors will view a short presentation about tides and make moon dials and calendars to track tides and moon phases at home.
“I’m excited, especially since it’s something that I have so much interest in,” Armstrong said of running her first event at the Water Works. “I just thought it was so fun to research it and put it together. Hopefully I’ll be successful and somebody can learn something.”
The Water Works, built in 1812 to pump drinking water to the city, encourages attendees of all ages to visit Science Saturdays and learn more about the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers and environmental stewardship.
“I always see Science Saturdays as a little window of science and fun crammed into a small amount of time,” Malloy said. “It’s always about different topics. People should feel free to pop in because we change it every month.”
In addition to Science Saturdays, the Water Works will have more family fun in the form of Rango, an animated comedy staring the voice of Johnny Depp that will be screened in the center’s underground theater.
Of course, there is water-themed educational aspect here too — the movie tells the tale of chameleon struggling to survive in the bone-dry town of Dirt. The film will be aired each Sunday in August at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center is located at 640 Waterworks Drive, directly behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For more information call 215-685-0723 or visit www.fairmountwaterworks.com.••