In case you miss it at the Earth Day Festival, E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center's new exhibit will make you look at the Earth differently.
W.O.W. (World of Wonder) is a six-foot interactive sphere placed in a completely blacked-out room. Illuminated by four projectors from each corner of the room, the sphere — which represents Earth — was developed by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to help illustrate earth system science to all ages.
"Our planet can be seen in ways that have never been achieved before," said Paul Arthur, director of E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center.
This year, NOAA will have installed 100 W.O.W. exhibits around the world, Arthur said. Before he helped bring the exhibit to Walton County, Arthur traveled to five different locations to check out W.O.W. for himself.
"When I saw these exhibits, I truly did say 'Wow,'" Arthur said.
Arthur was in charge of researching and installing the sphere in the Biophilia Center. Most of the information used in W.O.W. comes from NOAA and NASA. The exhibit uses real-time views of the Earth's climate, sea surface temperatures, current earthquakes as well as non real-time information such as reefs at risk and cropland yields.
"The Biophilia Center prides itself as being an outdoor extension of the science classroom for our visiting students," Arthur said. "With today's generation, if it is possible to incorporate cutting edge technology along with our effective hands-on approach to STEM subjects, then our mission of making naturalists can and will be achieved," Arthur said.
W.O.W. is customizable and can be made more specific to the local area, which enhances the curriculum of the center, Arthur said.
"The possibilities are endless."