MILLBURY, Mass. — A Millbury fifth-grader Megan Dunne is teaching the public about climate change as part of an UMass Lowell project that features her artwork on Lowell Regional Transit Authority buses.
Dunne, a Raymond E. Shaw Elementary School student, designed the campaign “What Can You Do?” for UMass Lowell’s Cool Science contest, which asked students in kindergarten through college to create artwork that educates the public about climate-change issues. Megan’s work can be seen on 9-foot-long placards on LRTA buses and displayed inside buses throughout February.
Dunne was notified by her teacher Mrs. Lacey that her artwork was chosen among the finalists and then her family received a letter saying that her artwork was chosen. “It was really cool,” she said of her trip up to Lowell this weekend with her family to see the buses. “I tried to add in solar panels, turbines and riding a bike to work for my project,” she added.
The Cool Science project includes research to gauge what students throughout Massachusetts know about climate change and measures how the campaign affects public awareness of the topic. The project is headed by David Lustick of Nashua, N.H. and Jill Hendrickson Lohmeier of Westford, both professors of curriculum and instruction in the UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education, along with Professor Robert Chen of UMass Boston.
Megan is the second of six first-place winners who will see their artwork displayed on LRTA buses through June.
“Climate change is the single greatest challenge to our generation. Cool Science aims to engage teachers, parents and students in climate-change science. Showcasing winning student artwork on city buses fosters informal learning about science among the riding public. Using children’s artwork to communicate complex scientific issues is a powerful learning experience for both the artist and the audience,” Lustick said.
Winning entries were selected for their clarity of message, scientific accuracy, creativity and artistic appeal. Among entries from elementary-school students, Megan’s was deemed a winner because her engaging artwork conveys sound climate-change science, according to Lustick. The contest received nearly 600 entries from more than 25 schools across the state, involving students and teachers in elementary through high school.