Folks can see the stars, find ways to attract pollinators to their yards and explore the work of naturalists in Reynoldsburg as part of the four-day COSI Science Festival May 1-4.
“The first three days of our festival are not the traditional tented event – they are exclusively within the communities around central Ohio,” said Chelsie Webster, director of education programs at COSI.
Two events are a partnership between COSI and Blacklick Woods Metro Park, 6975 E. Livingston Ave.
Visitors can learn what it takes to be a naturalist from 7 to 8 p.m, May 1 at the park’s nature center.
Visitors will be able to go “behind the scenes” of an average day in the life of a naturalist, said Cody Berkebile, senior naturalist at Blacklick Woods. The free program includes a guided nature walk and is open to all ages.
“You get to see the day-to-day life as a naturalist from being in the nature center to out in the park,” Berkebile said. “We go around and talk about the park and the plant and animals in here and how the ecosystem works.”
COSI also is partnering with Metro Parks to host more than a dozen parties under the night sky at parks throughout central Ohio, including Blacklick Woods, Webster said.
Slated from 7 to 10 p.m. May 3, the Blacklick Woods Star Party will feature astronomers and telescopes to teach about the night sky, plus a visit from nocturnal creatures, thanks to the Ohio Wildlife Center.
In addition, special red lights will illuminate feeding stations outside the nature center’s large observation windows, Berkebile said.
“We’ll take a look at the animals that folks don’t normally get to see since they are active at nighttime,” he said.
The Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department is teaming with COSI to encourage people to plant pollinator gardens. The free event from 6 to 7 p.m. May 1 at JFK Park, 7232 E. Main St., is aimed at teaching residents of all ages how to attract pollinating insects to their lawns and gardens, said Donna Bauman, the city’s parks and recreation director.
Participants will receive a packet of seeds to take home and plant, she said.
Parking is available adjacent to the park; the pollinator garden is located near the park entrance.
The Reynoldsburg branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library will play host to Be a Scientist with COSI from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 3 at the library, 1402 Brice Road.
Limited to the first 50 registrants, the event will be held at the homework help center.
COSI President and CEO Frederic Bentley said organizing the science festival has been a collaborative effort.
“COSI cannot put on this festival of four days of events ... by ourselves,” he said. “We don’t have the staff or the capacity. The key to make this work is through partnerships. That includes the 12 city mayors that have agreed to work with us.
“Putting this on at this scale has been possible through the partnerships we’ve been able to set up, and those partnerships helped us pick the sites.”
There will be no events where “someone is just going to hand you a flyer,” he said. “These are all hands-on, interactive, participatory events.”