17 Oct 2011
Milwaukee’s Discovery World Recognised as an Innovating Centre.

In recognition of its contribution to the research and education in the field of freshwater sustainability Milwaukee’s Discovery World has been invited to become the UN Compact Cities Programme inaugural Innovating Center.

Innovating Centres are organisations that work on urban issues as a key dimension of their research and/or public engagement. They contribute practically and theoretically to questions of urban sustainability across the domains of economics, ecology, politics and culture.

“A group is chosen by the Cities Programme to be an Innovating Centre on the basis of research excellence, public communication and the depth of their practical engagement,” says Paul James Director of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme. “Discovery World excels in all of these categories and sets a high standard for all future centres to follow.”

In 2009 Milwaukee became a UN Global Compact Innovating City. In alliance with Milwaukee City, the Great Lakes Water Institute and the Milwaukee Water Council, Discovery World is educating regional and national residents about both the fragility and the economic potential of the freshwater in the Great Lakes region.

Through their THIRST For the Future program Discovery World staff, along with select local partners and key stakeholders, work to expand public education by providing a hub for public dialogue on freshwater issues. The Program is supervised by Discovery World’s Executive Director Paul Krajniak and has extensive partnerships within the private, government and civil sectors.

With its objective to build a stronger foundation of knowledge regarding freshwater, the THIRST For the Future program offers a platform to educate school age youth and adult audiences with the viewpoint that in order to be able to meet the challenges surrounding freshwater issues people must first be aware of the issues surrounding water and what they can do to protect and use the resource sustainably.

With over 300,000 people visiting the THIRST For the Future freshwater exhibitions in 2010 alone and 59,256 school age children participating in the educational programs  Discovery World, situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, is well placed and  prepared to enhance and reflect this public education and discourse.

Programs engage students in investigations of water resources and introduces them to the issues surrounding  the equitable and sustainable management of freshwater. This is particularly relevant for communities, such as Milwaukee which sits by the largest system of fresh water on the planet.

Activities focus on water’s chemical and physical properties, quality and quantity, availability and distribution, uses and history, as well as examine human impacts on freshwater systems highlighting issues facing the Great Lakes. Programs help students build a strong understanding of the dynamic role of water in their lives and the life of their community.

In September 2011 Discovery World hosted the fifth annual Water Summit in partnership with the Milwaukee 7 Water Council. This conference worked to address creating harmony with the energy-environment-economic nexus through a focus on problem solving and conflict resolution.

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