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Creating a Puzzle Room at the Museum

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Traveling exhibit teaches the Facts on Composting

Facts on Composting, a traveling exhibition developed by the Institute for Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders (INND) in Seattle, is on display for the month of April at the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University.

Steven Gilbert, toxicologist and founder of INND, said the exhibit was developed to educate people about the benefits of composting. “We believe it is here to stay, but we know that there are downsides to living near facilities that are dealing with mass quantities of organic waste,” Gilbert said. “We wanted to give people a way to get involved—to know their rights as Washington citizens and who to talk to in order to help facilities be good neighbors.”

Composting is the act of recycling food waste and yard waste. It reduces the amount of refuse in landfills and produces soil supplement, which helps plants grow and prevents erosion. Facts on Composting explains the science of composting and shows how compost is produced at a commercial facility.

“We are excited to display this important, user-friendly show, which helps visitors of all ages appreciate the fascinating science behind composting,” said Mark Auslander, director of the CWU museum.

The exhibit also provides practical tools for the civically engaged. Although beneficial on a broad scale, commercial composting facilities can pose challenges in their communities, such as odor, bioaerosols, and volatile organic compounds. Viewers can learn about the anatomy of odor and how to report nuisance odor to local health authorities, among other things.

As part of the exhibit, which runs through April 30, Gilbert will give a talk called "Composting: Making Dirt for Earth Week,” at 5:30 p.m. April 23. The museum is on the first floor of Dean Hall. It is open 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

INND is a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about toxic chemicals and environmental health. The Facts on Composting exhibit is the result of a Public Participation Grant from the state Department of Ecology. For more information abut compositing and INND, visit

Media contact: Mark Auslander, CWU Museum Director, 509-963-3209,

April 6, 2015

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