EnviroScape® User Tips
We welcome your participation in supporting
other EnviroScape users. By sharing your personal tips and
techniques, you will help make a better experience for everyone using
EnviroScape models all over the world.
Here are several of the best tips we've already received. We're looking forward to receiving yours! Please e-mail
your tip or fax us at: 703-631-6558.
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- Here are some tips for cleaning up the Coastal model:
- Use a extra large soft absorbent sponge (like the kind they
sell at autoparts stores for washing cars) To clean out the base,
insert sponge let it fill with water, then squeeze into bucket.
REPEAT until base is empty
- If you have one demo after another and still have sand on your
shoreline leave it there--chances are it will stick and you can
reuse it for your next demo.
- Use cotton cosmetic pads (round, flat cotton) for cleaning top
of model, this is the fastest, and most effective way to get the
- Put all your accessories (houses, etc) into a Tupperware container
with water, they will soak and it will prevent staining. When
you get to the office take them out and dry them.
- Last fall I did 26 presentations over a 3 and 1/2 day period, each
20 minutes long. Needless to say, I had to clean up quickly in between
the presentations. I had a gallon jug of water each day to see me
through, and I used some of it to clean. Most importantly (and accidentally!)
I had a dark brown hand towel, which didn't show cocoa stains I could
quickly swipe off the Enviroscape and be ready for the next group
of 8th graders.
- Showing motor oil: A college student in a Project Learning Tree
training said she had seen soy sauce used to demonstrate motor oil
on the roads.
- The way that we have presented the Enviroscape with great success
is to "brain storm" with students before using the Enviroscape about
issues concerning non point solution. We brain storm with the question,
"What are some of the ways/things we have done to impact our water
systems/water ways?" After brain storming this question and listing
on poster paper these (usually one word) statements, we then move
to the Enviroscape and have the "students" begin to discuss these
issues and have the students demonstrate the issues. In most every
case that we have brain stormed and then demonstrated on the unit,
we have found that the questions and examples can be matched up very
well on the Enviroscape. (takes about 45 minutes when time is a factor).
- Tips for Short Programs (20 minutes) for Models: With all the models
you can pick and choose what elements (from the Users Guide and your
experience) to focus on, depending on time frame, audience, key points.
For example, you may pick a handful of areas/activities that represent
the conservation principles or safe management practices and just
focus on those to fit your time constraints.
- If you have larger groups, here are some suggestions also:
- Perhaps a lower table with a semi-circle with different height
chairs (row sitting on floor, row sitting on chairs, row sitting
on tables!?!) - or if possible, ask that sessions be in a science
lab if graduated seating.
- Another idea would be to have a large mirror to reflect what
was happening on the table from a higher place - this has been
done in presentations to large groups at conferences - but may
be too cumbersome/difficult to do in the schools.
- Of course, you can always rotate the front line - I have used
4 kids at once apply something on different areas of the landscape
- each saying what they had done, then 4 others add water - this
cycle gives 8 at a time the chance to interact - but you would
need teacher support to make it work. And, pre or post info to
reinforce the ideas.
- To keep felt strips from sticking, take the backing off and soak
in clean water to get it wet. Also remove some of the stickiness by
repeating sticking it to your hand and removing it. It take some of
the stickiness off. Goo gone works wonders to remove sticky!!!!!!!
- Showing nonformal teachers how to be more successful in the classroom. Last fall we did a day long training showing nonformal teachers how
to be more successful in the classroom. One way is to ask open ended
questions and let the audience "brainstorm" discussion questions,
ideas and solutions. A question we used for discussion was from middle
school science on earth science, "Human activities change the earth's
land, water and atmosphere. Some of these changes decreased the capacity
of the environment to support life forms." From this statement we
brainstormed and wrote the comments on an easel. We then went to the
nonpoint source EnviroScape and discussed these issues. It was amazing
that all the brainstorming and issues that were printed on the board
by these nonformal natural resource educators was able to be demonstrated
on the EnviroScape model.
- To show the chemical reaction that can occur when different types
of pesticides and fertilizers are mixed from various uses on land.
. . Take a small amount of baking soda and sprinkle on the landscape
(primarily on the agricultural area but could use residential or industrial
area, too). Add a drop or two of standard vinegar. A REACTION OCCURS.
The baking soda and vinegar mixture bubbles up and represents a compounded
chemical reaction. Add rain to the landscape and, if you care to,
even test the pH factor as an added experiment. The emphasis of this
activity is to show the cumulative effects of mixing unknown chemicals,
the reaction that can occur and its effect on the watershed. Remember,
this mixture is great to replace oven cleaners and other toxic household
products! (Don' worry -- the materials are non-toxic!)
- To show plastic litter and marine debris in waterways . . . use
multi-colored candy sprinkles, which float and look like mini-plastic
bottles. In addition, Maureen suggests using chocolate jimmies to
represent animal waste. What a combination.
- Ever wonder how to get the pinkish tint out of your landfill collection
pipes and tubes? Try soaking them in Formula 409 cleaner. It works
like a charm and your pipes will look brand new. It also works on
the Landfill trays.
- Straw bales along roadways are easy to make and are often used
for erosion control. Just get out a magnifying glass and sew the bales
together using thread and small pieces of straw. Then place and reuse
on the landscape as a BMP.
To show integrated methods for solid waste management,
you can create management areas at your modern landfill for bulky
materials, tires, composting windrows, etc. to represent the recovery
programs you are operating. You can also move the recycling drop-off
center to the landfill area if you would like to show a transfer
site in its place. And, for home composting, use toothpicks to build
a mini-composter for behind the residence and fill with real leafy
To show air borne pollution, bring along a small battery-powered
fan when you are doing an EnviroScape demonstration. Use the fan
to blow particles of drink mix or cocoa when applying to landscape.
(Added note: baby power can also be applied from above with or without
a fan to create a glossy-type residue on the surface of the model
to emulate smog).
To make trash for your hazardous waste landfill,
tear up bits of an old egg carton or styrofoam.
Wet items: Following a demonstration, place the
very wet items in a well-ventilated laundry or hosiery bag for them
to dry. An onion bag works well, too!
- A rubber band will hold the storm drain.
- For a working storm drain: Punch a hole in the
plastic stoppers that come in your Nonpoint Source model, insert
one in the vinyl tubing opening and you have a working storm drain
that holds the storm pipe in place.
- Use chocolate syrup for oil.
- Use instant coffee for sewage.
Use Cocoa Krispies for manure and oatmeal for crop
- Use bits of plastic and paper for trash.
- Use powdered Gatorade to demonstrate fertilizer or chemicals. It burns bright green when it gets wet therefore making it easier to follow the path of the pollution flow through the waterways.
Use real snow in the winter months.
Use a toothbrush to clean your buildings.
Cut your own felt pieces.
Use a Rubbermaid salt & pepper shaker for the
cocoa and drink mixes.
Use sugarless Kool-Aid outside to avoid flies,
yellow jackets, and clumps. You can also use water with food coloring
to avoid insect problems.
Use sand or real soil for sediment instead of cocoa.
For carrying more than one model, use the nylon
carrying bag for the different molded plastic landscapes and the
heavy duty carrying case for the base(s), Groundwater Component
and accessories -- you may even have room for handouts!
Use benzine (found in most hardware stores) on
a rag to remove any sticky adhesive from felt pieces left on your
model too long.
Use a rag instead of a sponge for faster clean-up.
Use 35 mm film canisters to hold the drink mixes.
Recycle your onion bags and use them to carry your
A few drops of blue food coloring in the rain and if using food coloring, use rubber gloves!
Clay is a wonderful thing...you can use it to cover
the groundwater holes in the Nonpoint Source model, to plant trees
in various places, to hold the train more securely on its tracks
-- and you can even use it to plug up any holes or crevices on vehicles
that may leak.
For those times when you don't have enough staff
resources at an exhibit, create a static exhibit with your EnviroScape
by using photos to show the model and numbers to identify the text
with the nonpoint sources on the model.
Use mini chocolate chips for manure.
Cut cotton swabs in half for Wetlands root demonstration
so that it's more realistic and uses fewer swabs!
Make small clay rolls (logs) for a base to hold
fence pieces. You can also make clay bases for animals so they stand
Use model railroad landscaping material - Life-Like
brand Grass (Model #1107), and Earth (Model #1109) for a realistic
representation of soil and grass clippings. When the material reaches
the lake as pollutants, it floats.
Recycle punch hole circles -- sprinkle them on
EnviroScape for trash or use in landfill on Hazardous Materials
Become a house painter and spray paint your houses
if they become dull after repeated use.
Try cinnamon instead of cocoa -- when purchased
in bulk, cinnamon may be less expensive than cocoa.
Use rubber bands for holding in wells as well as
for storm drain.
Use two EnviroScape models at the same time - one
showing pollution and the other with BMPs in place.
Affix a PVC pipe to your EnviroScape model to drain
the lake into a 5-gallon bucket.
You can build a light-weight stand with an overhead
mirror out of PVC pipe as a stand-alone demonstration table.
Use a "Moisture Magnet," similar to a chamois,
instead of a sponge. These can also be cut to a smaller size. (For
ordering information contact Ken Burnell, P.O. Box 9671, Sugar Creek,
Patent Number 5,427,530 * JT&A, inc.© 2013
EnviroScape® is a registered trademark of JT&A, inc. Should
you reference the product name in any publicity of your programs,
websites or publications, etc., we request you add the registered
trademark to is name (EnviroScape®). Thank you.