Cleveland is becoming a powerhouse for scientific discovery and research thanks to its world-class universities and medical facilities as well as a growing tech industry. What better way to celebrate the innovative leaps happening here than with a parade? ask Northeast Ohio's science proponents.
That question will be answered during the March for Science taking place at Public Square on April 22. The collaboration among a coalition of local foundations and science-based organizations is expected to draw thousands of supporters downtown, and will act as a satellite event to the national March for Science held the same day in Washington, D.C.
"Cleveland is a science town and that's something we should appreciate and showcase," says Dr. Evalyn Gates, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, one of the sponsors for the march.
The free event begins at 9 a.m. and includes activities and speakers that underscore the influence of science on the world. While the speaker lineup is still to be determined, attendees can choose banners displaying beer, bald eagles and other elements of our planet that are impacted by science.
"People can carry these banners during the march," says Gates. "There are so many ways science undergirds our lives."
The list of local advocates is emblematic of Cleveland's scientific strengths, adds Gates: Along with the natural history museum, Cleveland State University, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Great Lakes Science Center, Holden Forests & Gardens, The MetroHealth System and West Creek Conservancy are just a few partner organizations on the march.
"Cleveland is a global leader in medical research and other fields," Gates says. "Then you have companies like Sherwin-Williams and General Electric employing a science-based workforce."
A march championing this work is especially critical in the face of proposed budget cuts to some federal science agencies, notes Gates. Among the projects at risk is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since its inception, the program has funded 3,400 projects targeting everything from the control of invasive Asian carp to pollution cleanup.
Marching in support of these endeavors sends a message to the nation's capital, and also serves as a strong message for future generations interested in the pursuit of science.
"We want this event to be a catalyst for people to talk to each other," says Gates. "It's a good starting point for conversation on science-related matters."