– mobilizing community art & science.

BioBuggy, a mobile art and science laboratory on wheels, was designed and envisioned by media artist, Stephen Bradley, and scientist, Dr. Eric Schott. Other key contributors to the development and use of the BioBuggy include Charmaine Dahlenburg, Director of Field Conservation, National Aquarium, and many Brooklyn, Curtis Bay, and Middle Branch (southeast Baltimore City) community members

The big-picture goal of BioBuggy is to increase the connection that urban residents feel for the living resources in nearby estuaries that they both enjoy and affect. We seek to accomplish this connection by inviting them to observe and listen to the small, sessile organisms in the estuary (harbor) with the aid of a mobile microscope, video screen, and hydrophone (underwater) listening device.  Once drawn to the cart, a passer-by is invited by estuarine science and art students who will staff the device to follow their curiosity about what is in the harbor by interacting with the video-microscope, listening device, and estuarian science. The buggy will also serve as a scientific platform to collect video data on the biodiversity of the estuary. The data collection function is intended to enhance public engagement and invite their participation in the science of estuary. It is also a catalyst for discussions about all kinds of human-nature interactions, such as the effect of stormwater runoff on estuarine life, and how these inconspicuous organisms reciprocally enhance the water quality.

BioBuggy w/ UMBC engineering team In front of IMET, Baltimore Inner Harbor. Lefthand side, Eli Ankri, Diane Stonestreet, Riley Spice, and David Vigerin. Righthand; Natan Ankri, artist/photographer.

This project would not have been possible without the support of UMBC’s CIRCA – IMET AiR award from 2021, and the smart and enthusiastic UMBC Engineering Capstone design and fabrication team; Diane Stonestreet, David Vigerin, Riley Spice, and Eli Ankri who collectively built BioBuggy last Spring, 2022. Thanks to Dr. Jamie Gurganus, who supervised the engineering students through the process.

BioBuggy public launch was scheduled September 17, 2022, 1-3:00 PM(Saturday). What is under our Water?Brooklyn Boosters, 646 E Patapsco Ave, Baltimore, MD 21225. Friends of Garrett Park (FoGP) with partners will be introducing BioBuggy to the community, seeking input for content and methods for how to best use the buggy for community art & science.

We were awarded a Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement and Restoration Mini-Grant Award in 2022 that assisted with updates to BioBuggy and the development of a mobile curriculum that is distributed to the communities of southeast Baltimore City.

For more information, please contact, Stephen Bradley – sbradley(at)umbc(dot)edu

For more information about BB’s involvement with the Baltimore biodiversity study visit here. Documentation of underwater sounds of the Harbor can be found here.