2011 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards announced

The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented annually to ASTC members and/or their employees in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments that not only enhance the performance of their own institutions, but also significantly advance the mission of science-technology centers and museums. This following awards were presented at the 2011 ASTC Annual Conference in Baltimore on Saturday, October 15.

Leading Edge Award for Business Practice

The International Centre for Life, Sustainability Through Diversity
The Centre for Life has rendered itself sustainable for the foreseeable future by developing a business portfolio that provides funds for the center’s dual missions of public science engagement and support for world-class scientific research. The science centre runs on revenue generated from two onsite cafés, a parking garage, a conference and banqueting business, and leases not only to university laboratories, but also to popular bars and nightclubs.

Philippine Science Centrum, Typhoon Ondoy: Rapid Response & Recovery

On September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy sent nine-foot-high flood waters into the science center, submerging its exhibits and traveling exhibitions. Within 24 hours, the center’s staff and trustees met and immediately started the first steps of rebuilding, launching a fundraising campaign called Project 926 with the goal of raising 9 million Philippine pesos (about USD 210,000) in two ways (cash and in-kind assistance) within six months. The center reopened to the public less than six weeks after the typhoon hit, and was fully restored after four and a half months.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (small center)

Amazement Square, Amazing Adventures of Scorpy Bug
The Amazing Adventures of Scorpy Bug is a curriculum-based cartoon series designed to help educators take an interactive and interdisciplinary approach to teaching challenging concepts. The series has been made available free-of-charge to teachers and families through publication in the regional newspaper and through a comic book series that addresses specific scientific topics. Scorpy is integrated across all museum platforms: exhibitions, outreach programs, website, and community and school partnerships.

Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, Wetland Outreach
Migratory birds depend on wetlands, and many species are endangered due to wetland destruction. In the past three years, the center fostered public awareness among students and educators across a vast geographic area on the value of wetlands through several outreach programs. The “Wetlands On-the-Go” team delivered programs to 56,000 students in 2,500 classrooms in over 100 communities in three Canadian provinces. The center also held eight workshops for teachers in six Caribbean locations and provided educational resources to underserved communities.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (large center)

Chabot Space & Science Center, Bill Nye’s Climate Lab
Bill Nye’s Climate Lab is a media-rich, hands-on exhibition that explores the effects of climate change on Earth’s interconnected systems and offers activities that increase climate and energy literacy. Each visitor receives a “Climate Scout ID”—an RFID card that is automatically detected as the visitor moves from station to station, achieving solutions to climate challenges and earning points. Exhibit activity is stored on the ID, which can be taken home and used to log in on

Museum of Science & Industry, Science Storms
Science Storms, a 26,000-square-foot (2,400-square-meter) permanent exhibition, features dynamic large-scale experiments that explore nature’s most powerful phenomena. Visitors can manipulate the vortex variables of a 40-foot tornado, unleash a tsunami in a 30-foot wave tank, trigger an avalanche, and pit fire versus water to see how flame reacts to different conditions. The more than 50 hands-on exhibits are joined by 200 important artifacts that help visitors to further understand the basic science behind the forces of nature.

Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field
Clarence Sirisena, Assistant Chief Executive in Projects and Exhibitions of Science Centre Singapore
For his research on newest approaches in traveling exhibitions and sharing his discoveries with other science centers.

To see all the Leading Edge Award nominees, visit the ASTC YouTube channel.