CSU, Chico News

Gateway Science Museum Hosts Statewide Conversation About Environmental Sustainability and Museums

Date: 10-05-2011

Joe Wills, Public Affairs Director
Cheyenne King, Marketing Intern
Dr. Rachel Teasdale, Acting Executive Director

The Gateway Science Museum at California State University, Chico and six other cultural organizations, all representing distinct bioregions across California, will engage museum, environmental and community leaders in roundtable discussions as part of a statewide initiative, titled “Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability” on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. The goals are to explore the fundamental ecological issues facing each region and to seek ways in which museums can be partners in finding solutions to these challenges.

The seven concurrent discussions will be connected virtually, beginning with environmentalist, entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken (www.paulhawken.com) giving the keynote address. For more information, see www.calmuseums.org/ignite. On-site discussions will consider the top environmental challenges for our region, who is addressing these challenges, and how museums can be involved. Discussions will also consider how museums can inform their communities about environmental challenges and inspire action.

“Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability” is spearheaded by the Green Museums Initiative, a program supported by the California Association of Museums. The regional roundtables will take place concurrently at seven host institutions: the Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage; San Diego Zoo; Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach; University of California, Merced Library; California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco; Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences; and Gateway Science Museum in Chico. Each site is convening museum leaders, scientists, environmentalists, community stakeholders and artists to discuss how to preserve ecosystems and promote healthy communities in their region. Artists participating in the regional roundtable discussions will create artworks for a statewide traveling exhibition by Exhibit Envoy (www.exhibitenvoy.org).

The mission of the Gateway Science Museum is to create a life-long learning environment that enables people to explore, interpret and celebrate the magnificent natural heritage of our region through science, research and education. GSM strives to combine the resources of California State University, Chico and the entire region to provide an educational and culturally enriching site where families, school classes, clubs and friends can gather for a variety of activities.

The purpose of GMI is to inspire California museums to develop green business practices, eco-friendly facility management and sustainable programming. GMI is embarking on this new initiative to look outwardly at what is happening locally and regionally to solve environmental challenges and support the civic engagement of museums with the needs and interests of their communities. For additional information, see www.greenmuseums.info.

CAM, founded in 1979, is a nonprofit service organization formed to represent the interests of California museums. CAM’s mission is to “Lead California Museums to the Future,” and core programs focus on developing relevant and effective organizations for the benefit of our state’s citizens. There are over 1,400 museums in the state of California, with CAM institutional members in almost every county. California’s museums are as diverse as the communities in which they are found and include historical societies, cultural centers, art museums, botanical gardens, science centers, tribal museums, zoos, aquariums and children’s museums. For additional information, see www.calmuseums.org.

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