Penn Research Team Hosts Interactive Exhibit on Climate Change and Urban Space for “Parking Day”

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | | 215-573-6604September 14, 2011

WHO:    University of Pennsylvania faculty, graduate and undergraduate members of Partnerships for International Research and Education Mongolia and School of Arts and Sciences staff

WHAT:    Scientists transform a parking space into an interactive exhibit on Mongolian climate change research

WHEN:    Sept. 16, 2011
                9 a.m to 3 p.m.

WHERE:    36th and Walnut streets, in front of the Penn Bookstore

Members of a University of Pennsylvania research team will take part in “Parking Day,” a worldwide event where groups transform parking spaces into public parks. The goal is to highlight issues of communal space and sustainability in an increasingly urban world.

The Penn group is PIRE Mongolia, a team of biologists and environmental scientists who have recently returned from a three-month trip to the Mongolian steppes where they studied the effects of climate change on local plant and human communities.

“Parking day is all about increasing access to open space in urban areas. One of the reasons for that is that open spaces have a cooling effect; they help combat the urban heat island phenomenon,” said Daniel Brickley, PIRE Mongolia’s project coordinator. “Planting trees and grass also helps absorb carbon dioxide, which helps fight climate change. “

Visitors will have the opportunity to drill core samples from a tree stump and will be shown how to analyze those samples for evidence of historic climate change.  The space will also feature a miniature greenhouse the team uses to simulate the effects of climate change and an exhibit of photographs documenting nomadic life in Mongolia.