Recently, the MakerLab received a request from iSWOOP, a program that helps national park managers aid researchers in their quest to explain their studies to the public. This makes sure that the public understands the research going on and the significance of the results found. One such program currently going on at Acadia National Park is What can we learn from pollen in a tree. Researchers Jacquelyn Gill, George Jacobson, Molly Shauffler, colleagues from the University of Maine have spent many hours researching how the history of landscape change can be found by inspecting the pollen in sediment cores. The Illinois MakerLab is helping these researchers explain their findings to the public by 3D printing bright yellow pollen grain that could be held in the palm of your hands. The researchers can then use these hand held pollen grains to explain to kids and adults alike how the pollen shows changes in the landscape. Researches studying the pollen hope to show that what we learn of past conditions can influence our decisions and shape our expectations for life in Maine and elsewhere in the coming century. Funded by the National Science Foundation, iSWOOP is currently active at Acadia National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
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