Environmental center hosts fire discussion tonight, open house Tuesday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Environmental center hosts fire discussion tonight, open house Tuesday

The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences is offering the community a chance to educate themselves on fire impacts tonight, as well as giving residents and educators an opportunity to visit the UC Davis Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center during an open house on Tuesday.

The Incline Village-based Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences opened a year ago as a multi-state cooperative between Sierra Nevada College, University of California Davis, the Desert Research Institute and University of Nevada, Reno. It has been a community resource with various informational lectures and a museum which is open to the public and hosts tours for school classes. The 45,000-square-foot building also houses state-of-the-art laboratories, exhibits, offices and classrooms for research and education.

The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences is located on the campus of Sierra Nevada College.

Tonight from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the center opens its doors to the public for an informative evening discussing fire, fuels and their impact on the Lake Tahoe Basin.

It will be held in Assembly Rooms A and B of the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. and the cost is a $5 donation. A no-host bar is included.

Local experts will give three short presentations and lead a discussion on fire science. Following the presentations participants will have an opportunity to discuss the inter-related issues concerning wildfires and their impact and ask questions of a panel of experts.

Professor Wally Miller, from the University of Nevada, Reno presents the effects of wildfire and prescribed fire on soils, forest carbon and nutrient budgets and the resulting impacts on water quality and food webs. How do thinning and prescribed fire affect the forest floor fuels?

Jeff Brown, station manager at the UC Berkeley, Sagehen Creek Field Station presents recent research on SPLATs and their use as a tool designed to modify forest fire behavior.

Norb Szczurek, division chief of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, presents practical information about how to protect property from wildfire. The audience will learn what is being done in this community.

The new UC Davis Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center inside the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences will host an open house from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officials hope the open house can also educate teachers and other educators interested in using the Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center with student and other groups. There will be interactive displays; and teachers can learn how to utilize the education center as a field trip destination; samples of hands-on lessons; curriculum and project ideas and a guided Green Tour of the facility, which was recently awarded Platinum LEED certification.

Topics covered include: Environmental science, earth science, language arts, data analysis, water cycle, endangered and native species.

The U.S. Green Building Council gave the building its top Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating. To achieve “platinum” status, the building had to meet or exceed 52 criteria for construction and operation. The building earned a score of 56. In order to receive the certification, the building was designed emphasizing state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials selection and indoor environmental quality, a joint release from the schools read.

The 45,000-square-foot building features a pair of 25,000-gallon cold water storage tanks chilled by night temperatures, a pair of solar panels to heat water, and a 3,000-gallon tank to hold rainwater and snowmelt which is then filtered and sterilized for the building’s toilets.

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