By Tim Hauserman
Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest and most beautiful lakes in the world. Would you like to find out more about the science of this unique and complicated place? Then head on over to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village, NV. You can stop by on your own, or join a docent led tour of the facility and it’s science exhibits.
Science exhibits include:
-A replica of the John Le Conte Research Boat which departs from it’s berth in Tahoe City almost every day to study the lake. You can climb aboard and find out about what type of experiments they conduct and what they are finding out about the lake.
-A 3D sand box that allows you to playfully discover the impact of water on the landscape.
-The 3D Visualization theater where you can virtually fly under the water and over the watershed, see inside the earth to determine where Tahoe’s past earthquakes have occurred, and watch the award winning 3d movie, “Lake Tahoe in depth,”
-A virtual laboratory which allows you to watch scientists at work, and even take a look at the small creatures found in Lake Tahoe that can only be seen via a microscope.
In addition to it’s focus on the environment of Lake Tahoe, the Center is a LEED Platinum certified building, stocked full of interesting examples of how to save water and energy in the design and construction of a commercial building. Green building tours are available.
The Science Center is located at 291 Country Club Drive, on the edge of the Sierra Nevada College Campus. Limited parking is available at the center. If Center spaces are full, you can obtain a permit to park at other places on the campus.
The Tahoe Environmental Research Center is open from Tuesday-Friday from 1-5 pm, and during the summer months on Saturday’s from 1-5 pm. The facility is frequently used for field trips supporting a kid-friendly science curriculum for 4th through 6th graders. It might be a good idea to call ahead to see if a field trip is in progress before arriving at the Center.