BiG Fab Lab Newsroom

Uncategorized

THE POWER OF INTERGENERATIONAL COLLABORATION

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

BiG Fab lab invites seniors to join, teach, and share their knowledge – and it’s powerful!

Because of advances in medicine, people are living longer than ever before. This gives us more opportunities to tap into the wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom that resides in the older generations. But one Northwest Ohio business owner says this won’t automatically happen. “We need to be intentional about this, says Mark Bowlus, Founder and Director of The BiG Fab Lab. “We need planned approaches to creating opportunities for different generations to interact with one another. And we need the natural collaboration that comes with spending time together.”

There are organizations creating intergenerational programming already. Teachers inviting seniors to elementary schools and libraries to read to children. Senior Centers inviting kids and teens in for combined activities. Even some businesses are jumping in.

Senior Citizen Interns – not just in the movies.

The Intern, a recent movie starring Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNero, has opened new possibilities for generations to interact. In the movie, a 70-year-old business veteran (DeNero) interns at a hip internet sales company. While there, he shares his wisdom about interpersonal relationships, patience, commitment, and business. In reality, such arrangements are unusual, but do exist. One example is 71-year-old advertising veteran Doug McKinlay who interned at The Richards Group in 2013, claiming that he was most likely the world’s oldest intern at the time. McKinlay’s internship was largely an experiment to see if what he was teaching as an advertising professor was still relevant in today’s business culture. But you can bet he shared a pearl or two of wisdom with his co-workers.

Intergenerational collaboration – naturally.

The way that makerspaces like The BiG Fab Lab are setup, collaboration becomes a natural byproduct. As members work on projects, they talk. They share about what they’re working on. And they help each other solve problems. It just happens.

One of the most exciting aspects of the collaboration Bowlus says he’s seen at the Lab is the interaction between different generations. Several members are retired engineers, business people, artists and teachers. And they love to help younger members with their projects.

A Bicycle, an engineering student and a retired machinist.

Bowlus tells the story of a young engineering student with a new product idea for serious cyclists, like himself. He joined the BiG Fab Lab to access the tools and equipment, including the metal shop, 3D printers, and woodshop. What he didn’t know when he joined, is that he’d also be accessing the experience, knowledge and experience of a retired machinist who is also a member.

Together, the 80+ year-old and the 21-year-old created an aluminum working prototype that could never have happened with the student working alone in his garage. The retired machinist had the chance to demonstrate, use and share is knowledge. He was highly valued and truly contributing to the project. Bowlus adds, “And he’d probably tell you that he learned a thing or two from his young friend!”

Collaboration. Good for communities.

Bowlus points out that interaction between generations brings much to the table for communities. “By bringing together diverse groups and networks, each group feels more connected and valued. Resources are multiplied. New products and ideas are developed more quickly and more effectively. And businesses are started. Plus, traditions and values are passed down from older to younger generations.”

By bringing seniors together with kids, teens and young adults, Bowlus says the BiG Fab Lab has helped to create fun and meaningful relationships with rewards for individuals that overflow into the community. “And that’s a win-win if I’ve ever seen one!”

About BiG Fab Lab: BiG Fab Lab, LLC is a full-service makerspace providing a fully-equipped creative space for engineers, artists, students, inventors and businesses in Northwest Ohio. Located in Bowling Green, Ohio, BiG Fab Lab provides equipment, classes, storage and studio space, plus personal assistance for a variety of crafting, design, manufacturing areas, and business incubation for its member community. To learn more about the BiG Fab Lab, call 419-971-4244 or visit www.BiGFabLab.com

#  #  #

* For photos, please contact Mary@BiGFabLab.com

HYDROPONICS GARDEN BRINGS COMMUNITY TOGETHER

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

BiG Fab Lab Hosts Hydroponics Project Meetup

Bowling Green, OH – September 29, 2016 – What happens when you combine a highly innovative scientific gardening approach with a creative community of innovators who meet in a space designed to empower creativity and innovation? Mark Bowlus, Director of the BiG Fab Lab in Bowling Green, Ohio, is hoping the answer to this questions is: Great things! This fall and winter, the BiG Fab Lab is hosting what it hopes will become an annual hydroponics community garden project.

You may be wondering, “What in the world is hydroponics?”. Simply put, Hydroponics is the science – and art – of growing plants without soil. “Hydroponics operates under one fundamental principle,” explains Bowlus. “If you give plants exactly what they need, when they need it, in the amount they need, the plants will be as healthy as is genetically possible.” With hydroponics this is an easy task; in soil it is far more difficult.

According to Simplyhydro.com, with the hydroponics approach, plants are grown in an inert growing medium, and a perfectly balanced, pH-adjusted nutrient solution is delivered to the roots in a highly soluble form. The growing medium is the material in which the roots of the plant are growing. Possible media include Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand and many more. All the nutrition comes from the nutrient solution (water and fertilizer combined). You can therefore, easily control everything the plants receive. The strength and pH of the nutrient solution is easy to adjust so that the plants receive just the right amount of food. The watering/feeding cycles can be controlled so that the plants get watered on schedule, as needed.

Through this increasingly popular, indoor-friendly growing method, the BiG Fab Lab hopes to bring together a diverse group of community volunteers who will meet at the Lab on Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m. The project is free and open to the public. “Participants can just show up at the Lab on Thursday evenings and join the fun,” explains Bowlus. “We’re hoping for a diverse group of Northwest Ohioans that includes students, families, professionals, science buffs, gardeners and chefs.”

Bowlus says the meetups begin on Thursday September 29th and will continue through winter. “This is an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in innovative growing techniques to contribute to the project and learn as they participate with a diverse group of people,” he explains. “And as we design, build and install the hydroponics garden, we’ll be creating a community resource for healthy, fresh produce – right here in the Woodland Mall.”

The group will begin by discussing design concepts and the needs of the desired plants. Together they will draw up plans, build, install and plant the garden. The garden will be installed in the Woodland Mall atrium just outside the BiG Fab Lab doors, next to the Cinemark Theater. “We’re hoping that other mall vendors, families, business and other community members will participate in any way they can,” adds Bowlus. “That might be as part of the design and build, or maybe in helping with maintaining the garden and harvesting the plants.”

In addition to meeting at the BiG Fab Lab, the group will be using many of the Lab’s tools to complete the project, including: electronics, wood shop, metal shop, 3D printers and scanners and laser engraver.

You can join this fun and free community project on Thursdays beginning Sept. 29th from 6-9pm at the BiG Fab Lab. Interested parties can simply show up any Thursday that they’re available. Much of the produce will be donated to area food banks. Some produce will be used by Woodland Mall restaurants. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those wanting to support this innovative community project

About BiG Fab Lab: BiG Fab Lab, LLC is a full service makerspace providing a fully-equipped creative space for engineers, artists, students, inventors and businesses in Northwest Ohio. Located in Bowling Green, Ohio, BiG Fab Lab provides equipment, classes, storage and studio space, plus personal assistance for a variety of crafting, design, manufacturing areas, and business incubation for its member community. To learn more about the BiG Fab Lab, call 419-971-4244 or visit www.BiGFabLab.com.

 #  #  #

* For photos, please contact Mary@BiGFabLab.com