Updated May 26, 2020
Science has never mattered more.
Epidemiologists were the ones who identified the urgent need to take action to prevent the coronavirus spreading.
And the science community is now leading the way out of this global emergency.
Spark is CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC until further notice to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
COMMUNITY NEEDS SURVEY
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spark spent four months asking the community what it needed from its science centre.
We would like to understand how you would prioritize the need to refresh in the current context.
The health and safety of Spark's employees, visitors, volunteers, families and students are a top priority. Spark is closely monitoring regular updates about COVID-19 and following guidelines from the Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
REFUNDS AND DONATIONS
All programs, tickets, and events that have been purchased through the duration of Spark's closure can be held for future use, refunded or donated. We are grateful for all support during these extraordinary times. A science-informed world is a safer world.
For inquiries on event postponements, refunds, and donations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please follow the guidelines regarding hygiene and social distancing, as per the recommendations of Alberta Health Services.
Be kind and supportive to one another during this time.
So live your science crush online!
Watch this site for new programs, talks and activities that you can enjoy from home.
May 5, 2020
Message from the CEO
What global conditions made this pandemic possible?
Take two years to discuss. Hand in your paper online.
As we settle into at least one and probably two years of living on guard, we have an obligation to do some soul-searching as a species. There have been plagues and pandemics before this and thus there may be more.
With re-opening of the economy on the horizon, we are reminded of the competing pressures of physical health, mental well-being and material needs. While we may not always agree on the tradeoffs we need to make, we can all agree that action is required. To state the obvious: the global conditions that made this pandemic possible require attention.
As a science centre, we want to play a role in hosting these conversations. What are the trade-offs? What are the new opportunities? Will we embrace some technologies but keep others in check?
This is not a purely technical question. Far from it.
As this pandemic was starting, we reached out to the dean of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary, Baljit Singh, about some programming ideas.
“Are you worried about the fact that a tiger in a zoo has tested positive for COVID-19?”
Dr Singh was not jittery like me about how this virus appears to cross species barriers with relative ease. He was just asserting something that at the scientific community has been concerned with for years.
Homo sapiens have been relentless about expansion, and certain envelopes have been pushed to the breaking point. Human-animal-environment relationships are losing their integrity. It’s not just the flow of infection between humans and other animals that is a worry. Toxicologists are concerned about the relationship between pollution and human susceptibility to infection by both viruses and bacteria. The whole complex picture is showing problematic fissures, and we are living with one right now. We have our work cut out for us to heal the frayed interfaces between animal, human and environmental health.
Science and technology can help us navigate a safe path, often in beautiful harmony with other ways of knowing. But it is a massive collective undertaking that takes time and a respect for method.
In that mix of methods, only data can help us take safe actions.
That’s why you are going to see the Calgary science centre opening with great care –- slowly, partially, maybe even periodically. When it eventually does, it will look and feel different. Spark is ready to do some heavy lifting for Calgary when it comes to shaping our future. And that means re-opening with data in the lead and long-term safety and prosperity in our sights. It will still be terrifically engaging. Science centres specialize in provoking positive and entertaining conversations with science at the core.
We support the easing of restrictions in the most careful of ways. We are in this for the long haul and need to learn to live together safely with a harmful virus in our midst –- balancing human health, economy and mental well-being. So while we strive to ease the latter two, please remember what frontline workers are telling us about this virus -– it can wreak havoc on bodies of any age.
Thank you for your patience as Spark collects data and prepares for a new safe normal. It may take months before we can securely welcome visitors again onsite. Science centres are notoriously hands-on and we have adjustments to make.
In the meantime, we have been given our assignment as a species. The Calgary science centre has no answers, but will enthusiastically support the research.Mary Anne Moser
President & CEO
How can I protect myself and my family from COVID-19?
To help protect against all respiratory illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19, you should:
- Stay home. Now is the time to stay home and avoid social and other outings that are not essential.
- Wash your hands often and well. Refer to hand-washing guidance here
- Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
- When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands. Refer to respiratory etiquette guidance
- You can download the AHS FAQ here
At times like this, it's especially important for us to stay connected even at a distance. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, feel free to use the resources provided by the federal or provincial government including:
Alberta Health Services Mental Help Line: 1-877-303-2642
Kids Help Phone for Kids and Teens: 1-800-668-6868
This page will be regularly updated as scientists continue to learn more about COVID-19.
Feel free to reach out with any questions to: