Okanagan Science Centre appeals to schools

Agency wants increased field trips from local students

With programs ranging from Electrifying Electricity to Insect Mania, the Okanagan Science Centre offers hands-on school programs for students of all ages.

At a recent Vernon School District board meeting, OSC executive director Sandi Dixon outlined the centre’s mission and vision.

“We envision a centre that is a culture where scientific inquiry, discovery and innovation is embraced by all members of the community,” she said. “We’re lucky because Vernon is the smallest community in Canada to have a science centre.”

With programs appealing to all ages in the community, from toddlers to seniors, the OSC is part of the city’s cultural fabric, said Dixon.

“We really want to increase enrolment in secondary and post-secondary science programs and we would like the school district to be part of that.

“We’ve had 15 travelling exhibits in eight years, and other centres are amazed at what we do with our limited resources.”

Dixon is on a mission to appeal to district teachers to bring their students to the OSC for field trips. This year, only one school from this district has brought classes to the centre, while 48 have attended from other districts in the area.

“Last year, more than 6,000 students visited, and we do what we can to offer free programs and subsidized busing.”

Last year, the centre resurrected the science fair and will once again sponsor the North Okanagan/Shuswap Regional Science Fair, April 21 and 22.

“We feel we need to have more celebration of science in the community as we do of scholars and athletes.”

The OSC receives no core funding, relying instead on earned revenue through admissions and memberships as well as annual fundraisers.