For the first time in recorded history, science beds raced down Broadway to promote science. Science-A-Peel, Inc., a 501c public charity, and local and national companies, sponsored The Great Greenlawn Sciencebed Race and Parade 2011" in Greenlawn on May 1st.
A bed race is comprised of teams of two or more people that ride on and are pushing a structure that resembles a twin size bed with mattress. The bed has a head board and foot board, and is supported by wheels. The beds, and their team, are decorated and costumed to reflect a theme of science. For example, one bed was decorated to resemble the periodic table of elements and another the solar system. Lisa O'Keefe, President of Science-A-Peel, Inc, said this event was a success in connecting science with community and with fun. She added that the "New York State Department of Education Science Initiative was started because of low scholastic ratings of the NYS students in the sciences. Part of the initiative was to have the local community involved in addressing these needs. What better way for community and kids to 'get involved' with the sciences than a sciencebed race. By getting the public to think about the sciences when either designing a sciencebed or viewing them, will start to motivate".
Kevin O'Keefe, the project manager for the event said that local businesses, elected officials, organizations and the general public were extremely supportive of the event. Nicole Crowley, Event Coordinator, said the commitment to show support for science through this event was comprised of teams from local families, the Greenlawn Fire Department, Boy Scout Troop 174 in Elwood, the Huntington Manor Fire Department Explorers Post 1650, and Town Council members Susan Berland and Mark Cuthbertson. Nicole said in total 13 science themed beds were paraded down Broadway, which was our goal to keep it manageable and to keep the road closure to a minimum. Approximately 500 people attended the event. A DJ service donated their time to entertain the crowd with music and then by announcing a short bio of each group in the parade as they marched down Broadway. The event was led by the American Legion Post 1244 in Greenlawn and followed up by the active military from the United States Marine Corp and the United States Air Force. Following after was State Assemblyman Andrew Raia and Greenlawn Civic Association President Walter Rabe. The parade even had an electric DeLorean in it. And then came the bed teams. The teams raced down Broadway to the finish line. At the mid-point in their run, the rider of the bed had to jump out and successfully make it under the limbo bar and then jump back in so the team could make it to the finish line".
The winner of the $600 fastest bed was Greenlawn Engine #1 with their Solar System bed. For best decorated the Huntington Manor Explorers Post 1650 won $400 for their fire science bed.
Every team went home with a trophy and a certificate of appreciation. And each team went home with a gift ranging from robot kits and science kits, to a flight suit to local and national gift certificates from businesses.
Because the goal was to link science with community, a volunteer from Science-A-Peel, Inc. passed out free tickets to the crowd. At the end of the awards ceremony the elected officials took turns reading off winning numbers and the person with the matching ticket won gifts certificates to local food and restaurant establishments. Overwhelmingly, national businesses as well as the businesses in this community, especially those along Broadway, were most generous in their support of this event either through product donations or through local event booklet advertising.
This event proved that science is for everyone. John F. Kennedy may have expressed it best when on October 22 1963 he addressed the National Academy of Science and stated "science contributes to our culture in many ways, as a creative intellectual activity in its' own right, as the light which has served to illuminate man's place in the universe, and as the source of understanding of man's own nature". Far too important and all encompassing is the field of science to rest its' knowledge securely wrapped in the hands of the intellects and far above the grasp of the average man.
To learn more about the event go to bedrace.intuitwebsites.com. Photos and videos from that event will be posted beginning 5/11/11. To learn more about Science-A-Peel,Inc. go to www.scienceapeel.com.