As a team, we have done substantial community outreach, including meeting key stakeholders and gaining more knowledge about our the recycling industry and our community. These outreach experiences overall helped us to enhance our project’s idea.
Bow Valley Regional Science Fair
Our first step into the outreach world was going to the Bow Valley Regional Science Fair, where we set up an interactive “Bio-Painting” kiosk, using the Amino Lab kit materials. We let students and parents use coloured bacteria (pre-transformed and prepared in “painting kits”) to draw on agar plates. The team did this in order to help the public better understand synthetic biology and to alleviate concerns around its safety and applicability.
Meeting with Bow Valley Waste Management
Months later, we had the idea of working with plastics. We talked with the Head of Waste Management in the Bow Valley, Peter Duck, who explained to us that the recycling of plastics is relatively easy and efficient. Rather, it is the sorting of plastics that proves challenging, and mis-sorted plastic cannot be recycled (therefore ending up in landfills). This critical meeting led to an entire pivot of our project, changing our direction completely.
Visiting Recycling & Sorting Facilities and Alberta Recycling Conference
We visited both our local bottle depot and recycling sorting facility to watch the process of sorting and even attempted to sort plastic ourselves. Some of our team members also attended the Alberta Recycling conference in Lake Louise to gain more contacts, and a first-hand appreciation for how plastics are sorted and recycled in our own community, as well as around our province, country, and the world.
Reaching Out To The Local Newspaper
In the spring of 2018 we were interviewed by our local newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Outlook. This amazing experience allowed some of our members to spread the word of our project and to inform our own community. This article explained and answered any ethical concerns or questions, along with giving us an outlet, in which we could ask for support of the community.
|Excerpt from our local newspaper (online).|
Reaching Out To Businesses & Financial Groups
Some of our members reached out to our local Bow Valley Credit Union where we had an opportunity to pitch our project in hopes of gaining some financial support for bringing our project to Boston to share with the synthetic biology community.
OLS iGEM has created a team run Instagram page, through which we have been able to reach out to the people of Canmore. This page was not only used to engage with the community, but for learning about other teams and their progress and achievements. We also have posted updates on our team and many of our own achievements. Our team has each had an individual photo and brief introduction of themselves.