Opportunity for Community Members to Immerse Themselves in “Green” on Transformed Rochester Museum & Science Center Campus
Partners come together to strengthen stewardship of water resources
ROCHESTER, NY—The Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) campus is undergoing a huge sustainability demonstration project called the Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase (RGIS). Community members, visitors and passersby will soon be able to view several green infrastructure practices in action throughout the campus. Green infrastructure practices help local water quality by reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the storm drains by collecting runoff and soaking it back into the ground. The RMSC is one of the first locations in the Rochester area to install these innovative and eco-friendly practices. The project is made possible by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s (EFC) Green Infrastructure Grant Program (GIGP), through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. Construction has begun, and is projected to be complete in September.
“We at the RMSC care deeply about our local watershed and are taking action to protect it by creating new landscape campus features,” said Kate Bennett, president, RMSC. “One responsibility as the community’s museum is to demonstrate options that create a sustainable future for our region and our ecology. We are happy to provide exhibits and ongoing program opportunities to help enrich our community.” RMSC is becoming a destination for demonstrating green infrastructure practices in action. Green infrastructure practices contribute to enhanced water quality, community sustainability and urban ecology.
Key partners include New York State, Monroe County, the Water Education Collaborative (WEC), the Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as several designers and contractors.
The EFC awarded RMSC more than $1.2 million for the RGIS project. The green infrastructure practices used in this project include a new porous asphalt parking lot, porous concrete sidewalks, porous pavers, bioretention, rain gardens, a green roof, rain barrels and stormwater tree pits. The porous pavement (asphalt, concrete and pavers), installed on campus reduce stormwater runoff by infiltrating the water. This reduces the formation of ice on the surface in the winter, thus reducing the need for salt. The new bioretention areas and rain gardens on campus collect and filter the stormwater runoff from roadways and parking lots. The water is filtered by low-maintenance native plants and soil before soaking it into the ground. At the education pavilion, guests will discover a green roof and will be able to participate in green infrastructure workshops. An artistic educational glass design, called “Genesee River Watershed,” created by local artist Nancy Gong and sponsored by the RMSC Women’s Council, depicts the water cycle and how stormwater runoff ends up in the Lake. The colorful art glass also functions as a scupper that will divert water from the pavilion roof to a rain garden. In another part of the campus, disconnected downspouts will transfer rainwater from rooftops to rain barrels. A treadle pump, a human-powered suction pump, will offer guests an opportunity for physical activity to pump the collected water out of the rain barrels onto a rain garden. New stormwater tree pits are also being planted as part of the project, whereby stormwater runoff is directed to the tree roots through flexible porous concrete. In addition, for every tree that was removed, two new ones will be planted on the campus.
The green infrastructure exhibits at RMSC highlight the interconnections between science, technology, engineering and math through real-world problem-solving applications while bringing awareness to the ongoing societal impacts of stormwater runoff in the Rochester region. Exhibition components inside the Museum’s walls demonstrate and explain how the green infrastructure practices featured outside on the RMSC campus work. Exhibits include a rain garden puppet theater, a porous pavement demonstration and various interactions with the WEC’s H2O Hero. RMSC’s new campus will be incorporated into the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County’s on-going series of Green Infrastructure Trainings and Workshops, as a green infrastructure tour stop and as an ideal location for workshops.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) students and faculty are an important partner on the RGIS project. RIT students are including the campus transformation as the focus of their environmental science senior capstone class. Their objectives are to assist with exhibit development and design and implement a monitoring plan to collect and analyze data showing the effectiveness of the green infrastructure practices at reducing stormwater runoff and reducing water pollution. Exploration of RMSC’s outdoor campus is free to the public.
Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit www.rmsc.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Photo Credit: Christopher Maggio