News / Grantmaking Opportunities + Updates

Hive Chicago Members Launch the "Working at S.C.A.L.E." Program

Hive Chicago Network member, Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), is excited to announce the launch of the Working Through S.C.A.L.E. (Sustainable Collaborations Across Living Ecologies) program in partnership with the Chicago Academy of Sciences/ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (Nature Museum). The S.C.A.L.E. program will identify and integrate open science hardware for environmental and ecological monitoring into existing teen programs to create collaborative, teen-driven investigations of the urban environment across the city. Teens will also work closely with the Nature Museum's biology staff to restore a prairie at SWF’s site that will become a core site for ongoing monitoring.

The Working Through S.C.A.L.E. program launched in early April with planning meetings at Sweet Water Foundation’s Perry Ave Commons. Program staff from both organizations and the Nature Museum's biology staff and scientists toured the site, conducted a planning session, tinkered with tools and hardware, and identified the site for prairie restoration. In mid-April, teens from the Nature Museum's TEENS Program visited the Perry Ave Commons for the first of many joint programming sessions.

Read on below for more information on the Working Through S.C.A.L.E. program, which will run through summer 2018.

Program Overview

Working Through S.C.A.L.E is a collaboration between Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) and the Nature Museum that emerged from the Chicago Learning Exchange’s Hive Chicago Network with funding from the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning. The idea for S.C.A.L.E. was sparked during a previous Hive Chicago project, the Hive Mapping Cooperative, on which both SWF and the Nature Museum were engaged. S.C.A.L.E. builds upon the open-source mapping and data-sharing platforms work of the Hive Mapping Cooperative and applies similar tools and the lessons learned to the realm of environment science and urban ecology.

SWF and the Nature Museum will integrate their respective Apprenticeship and Citizen Science programming to create a platform for open-source urban ecological inquiry. The project will enlist teens from across the city in citizen sensing, participatory research whereby they will use smartphones and networked devices to engage with modes of environmental observation and data collection. Youth will engage in a series of cross-program workshops that will investigate the use of open-source environmental sensors in citizen-sensing projects to explore the fundamentals of citizen sensing as the basis for civic action. Between workshop sessions, teens will engage in collaborative ecological and environmental monitoring across program sites. Teens will also work closely with the Nature Museum's biology staff to restore a prairie at SWF’s site that will become a core site for ongoing monitoring.

Participants will use a range of hardware to explore the development of related monitoring systems, and a variety of tools and media (e.g. Google docs, photography, etc.) to document and share their experiences. Final work products will be presented at SWF and the Nature Museum showcase events open to the public.