The “Tahoe’s Plastic Problem” exhibit was fully installed in January at the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center in Incline Village, Nevada. The exhibit explores plastic pollution at Lake Tahoe through a series of wall panels and hands-on activities. The exhibit features a large five-panel wall display and three tables of hands-on activities aimed to engage visitors in both the science of plastics as well as the solutions to the current global plastic crisis. 

The panels across the wall tell the story of “A Day at the Beach,” with a large photo of a Lake Tahoe scene laden with everyday, single-use plastics.  The exhibit then follows those plastics as they break apart into tiny pieces and shows how they impact the food web and the ecosystem. The activity tables allow visitors to engage in hands-on activities, investigate different sizes of plastic, and learn about their impacts on the environment. These science activities model the same methods used to conduct microplastics research by UC Davis TERC. 

The exhibit wraps up with a call to action. It is not enough to change our habits of buying and disposing of single-use plastics. We must also stop the production of non-essential, single-use plastics in the first place. The Tahoe Science Center will reopen to the public on June 15 for scheduled tours of small groups of visitors. To schedule your guided tour, visit