Celebrating Earth Day the STEM Way

Women in STEM officers Mae Cano, Maeve McNamee and Joelle Khandji turn plastic grocery bags into mats for the homeless.

It was a day of fun with STEM, at Mt. Lebanon Public Library’s Matt’s Maker Earth Day Extravaganza on Tuesday.

STEM stations were set up throughout the library for parents and kids to try their hand at filtering water; test what makes something biodegradable; learn about fast fashion and its effects on the climate; learn how to reuse materials through upcycling; and discuss why trees and bees are so important to the environment.

The event was made possible by the support of Matt’s Maker Space, which has annually supported STEM programming at Mt. Lebanon Public Library since 2018.

“We receive funding from the Matt’s Maker organization each year and we use that to bring in outside groups to enhance the offerings that we can provide to the community to learn about STEM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We also use that funding to purchase supplies that we use to support that here at the library,” said Connie Mathews, senior children’s librarian.

Officers of Mt. Lebanon High School’s Women in STEM group ran one of the stations, where plastic grocery bags were woven into mats for the homeless.

“There is a gender gap in STEM in terms of occupation, for sure,” said Susan Gillette Meer, faculty sponsor. “I actually read a few articles that stated that girls in high school that do activities to help younger children learn about STEM are more likely to feel that they belong in the STEM areas and pursue it,” she added.

When the Women in STEM group formed in September there were 40 students in attendance. The group hopes to extend the program in the future by traveling to elementary schools to teach younger children about STEM topics. 

Children’s librarian Scott Buchanan explains water purification to library visitors to Matt’s Maker Earth Day Extravaganza.