press & News

Opportunity for Community Members to Immerse Themselves in “Green” on Transformed Rochester Museum & Science Center Campus

    Partners come together to strengthen stewardship of water resources

    ROCHESTER, NY – The Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) campus is undergoing a huge sustainability demonstration project called the Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase (RGIS). Community members, visitors and passersby will soon enjoy several functional green education features throughout the campus as well as a new porous pavement parking lot, which reduces stormwater runoff. The RMSC is one of the first locations in the Rochester area to install these types of innovative and eco-friendly parking lot features. The project is made possible by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s (EFC) Green Infrastructure Grant Program (GIGP), through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. Construction has begun and is projected to be complete at the end of the summer.

    “We at the RMSC care deeply about our local watershed and are taking action to protect it by creating new landscape campus features,” said Kate Bennett, president, RMSC. “One responsibility as the community’s museum is to demonstrate options that create a sustainable future for our region and our ecology. We are happy to provide exhibits and ongoing program opportunities to help enrich our community.” RMSC is becoming a destination for demonstrating green infrastructure practices in action. Green infrastructure practices contribute to enhanced water quality, community sustainability and urban ecology.

    Key partners include New York State, Monroe County and the Rochester Institute of Technology as well as several designers and contractors.

    The new RMSC campus will feature several unique areas to explore green infrastructure and sustainability, including rain gardens and interactive displays. The EFC awarded RMSC more than $525,000 for the installation of a new porous pavement parking lot as well as bioretention areas on campus to decrease and treat stormwater runoff. The bioretention areas capture and filter stormwater runoff from roadways and parking lots and water several low-maintenance native species plants, many of which are adaptable to high volumes of water. At a learning pavilion, guests will discover green building techniques and will be able to participate in green infrastructure workshops. The pavilion includes a green roof complete with plants and a water harvest collection area that captures roof runoff. The stormwater runoff process will also be showcased in an artistic educational glass design, called “Genesee River Watershed,” created by local artist Nancy Gong and sponsored by the RMSC Women’s Council. The colorful art glass will divert water from the pavilion roof to a rain garden. In another exhibit area, interactive downspouts will transfer water from roofs to rain barrels. A treadle pump, a human-powered suction pump, will offer guests an opportunity for physical activity in understanding the irrigation process. Other areas with porous pavers and porous concrete reduce runoff and winter salting requirements. New trees are being planted as part of the project. For every tree that was removed, two new ones will be planted on the campus.

    The green infrastructure exhibits at RMSC highlight the interconnections between science, technology, engineering and math through real-world problem-solving applications while bringing awareness to the ongoing societal impacts of stormwater management in the Rochester region. Exhibition components inside the Museum’s walls complement and reflect on green infrastructure practices and exhibits featured outside on the RMSC campus. Components include a rain garden puppet theater, explanations on how porous pavements works and various interactions with the Water Education Collaborative’s (WEC) H2O Hero. RMSC’s new campus will be incorporated into the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County’s on-going series of Green Infrastructure Trainings and Workshops, as a green infrastructure tour stop and as an ideal location for workshops.

    Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) students and faculty are an important partner on the RGIS project. RIT students are including the campus transformation as their environmental science senior capstone with the objectives of designing and implementing a monitoring plan to establish the effectiveness of the various green infrastructure areas and to provide scientific information to support exhibit development.

    Exploration of RMSC’s outdoor campus is free to the public.

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Amanda Bayer, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC at 585.697.1962 or or visit the Press / News section of our website at
    About Rochester Museum & Science Center
    Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.