Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

How Digital Harbor Foundation’s FabSLAM tackled environmental issues

The program is expanding beyond Baltimore this year.

Federal Hill Preparatory School students show off their project.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The toxic unfurling of environmental issues around Baltimore was the source material for students competing in the Digital Harbor Foundation’s FabSLAM competition this spring.
Consider the top three prizewinners in the six-week digital fabrication competition:

  • To address the Chesapeake Bay’s dwindling oyster population, Team Digital Oyster Foundation created a wetland using 3D printing.
  • Team Home Grown hatched plans to turn abandoned houses into scenes of new growth for plants, complete with solar panels and irrigation.
  • Storm drains that feed polluted water into the harbor get a filter courtesy of Team Amasek.

The solutions on display last week at the DHF Tech Center in Federal Hill were an example of what happens when students get knowledge of problems, and access to tools that solve them. This year, DHF is putting tools in the hands of students beyond Baltimore. Through a partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers, FabSLAM competitions are also running in Idaho and Pittsburgh.
The state and city governments, respectively, raised money for the programs. DHF traveled to provide 3D printing training for educators, and provided additional support, said DHF Director of Education Steph Grimes. The org has also seen interest from other areas, Grimes said, and hopes to expand further.

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