ECHO's ACTION LAB, which opens May 18, 2013, is located on the top floor of ECHO on the Lake side of the building. There are several "stations" throughout this space, each designed to introduce visitors to new ways of "seeing" our environmental world.
Shaping Watersheds: Augmented Reality Sandbox :
See with your hands. Explore how water moves down mountains into streams and through a watershed using the new Shaping Watersheds interactive exhibit. Build mountains, lakes, rivers and other landforms and make it "virtually" rain! Watch the water flow through the watershed that you created. This component uses state-of-the-art technology and your imagination to illustrate how our landscape is connected by the water that flows over it.
This exhibit was created by the LakeViz3D project - UC Davis KeckCAVES, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Lawrence Hall of Science, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and Audience Viewpoints.
Lake Expedition Station:
See through time. Go on virtual adventures to exciting destinations around Lake Champlain as you move up and down the lake as a "guest" on University of Vermont's research vessel, the Melosira. Spin a dial to voyage almost 120 miles as quickly or slowly as you want and wander on land and get an up-close tour of spectacular places along the Lake such as Ausable Chasm, Fort Montgomery, Fort Ticonderoga and the Otter Creek to the waterfalls in Vergennes, to name a few. Join the dive team as they explore the General Butler, one of Burlington Bay's four shipwrecks. And you can check out the view from ECHO as it changes through time, by viewing a year's worth of weather, captured and saved by ECHO's lakefront citizen science camera.
Spiny Softshell Turtle Viewing Station:
See with your heart. Join ECHO's Animal Care team and gather data on behavior and growth of threatened spiny soft shelled turtles in our collection. Learn the patterns of recognition between each turtle, fine-tune your abilities as a scientific observer, and contribute your findings and observations to our data collection of our spiny soft shelled turtles. The Turtle-Cam, provides a one-of-a-kind view of these turtles to assist in your observations.
Citizen Science Station:
See the difference you can make. Any visitor to ECHO ought to be able to participate in ongoing, scientific research projects. This station highlights opportunities to hone your observation skills and data collection techniques. Additionally, the Citizen Science Station changes regularly, emphasizing new and seasonal science projects in which the general public can participate. This station offers teens and adults access to new community-based tools and technology as well as guidance on ways to contribute to ongoing local, regional and national scientific research, assisting the broader scientific community.
Runoff Video Game
Located in the Action Lab, the Runoff video game invites players to use a rain barrel to catch rain before it enters city storm drains. When the barrel is full, players empty it in a garden, which filters the water before it soaks into the aquifer or reaches our rivers and lakes. Burlington-based Birnam Wood Games developed the classic, 8-bit-inspired video game for independent newsweekly Seven Days and its monthly parenting publication, Kids VT. Runoff is also playable for free online, in a web or mobile browser, at playrunoff.com.
ECHO Lake Quest
Two mobile tablets are installed in the Into the Lake exhibit on the first floor and the Action Lab on the top floor showcasing “Lake Quest.” Students at the Emergent Media Center (EMC) at Champlain College developed the interactive digital experience in partnership with ECHO. Visitors can launch their own “Lake Quest” journal that includes activities such as games, trivia and collecting badges, and use it as they travel throughout the museum. Currently, two games are available: “Lake Invaders” designed to teach children ages 6 to 8 years old how to identify invasive species in Lake Champlain and “Algae Officer”which challenges older players, ages 10 and up, to manage resources so their cities and towns can grow, while keeping blue-green algae from taking over the lake.