BASF, LASM continue to create chemistry with local schools and community

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
BASF and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) provided BASF Kids’ Lab classes to area schools and the community.

BATON ROUGE and GEISMAR -- BASF and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) will again provide BASF Kids’ Lab classes to area schools and the community. BASF is funding the award winning Kids’ Lab chemistry program and offering new class experiments in 2014.

“BASF has a strong focus on science education,” said Tom Yura, Senior Vice President and Manager of the BASF site in Geismar. “Our goal is to have kids interact with the basics of chemistry and the products that surround them daily so that they can explore the connections to chemistry in their world. By offering Kids’ Lab at LASM, we are helping to cultivate the innovators and leaders of tomorrow and inspiring local students to pursue successful careers in the chemical industry.”

Support of the museum is part of the company’s ongoing effort to promote and enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the region.

“BASF has supported LASM in many ways, from sponsoring our First Sunday free programs for the public, to showcasing experiments at our new Engineering Day on March 29. But our Kids’ Lab initiative is truly where BASF shines,” said Carol Gikas, Executive Director of LASM.

BASF approached the museum in 2011 to present the company’s Kids’ Lab chemistry program to students at no cost. The program is extremely popular with educators, with nearly 4,000 fourth-graders from East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes attending in the past three years. It has also been well received by museum visitors, with more than 2,400 participants since the addition of weekend presentations at LASM in 2012.

In each instructor-led Kids’ Lab workshop at LASM, participants explore chemistry through safe and engaging experiments, coupled with interactive demonstrations. Each Kids’ Lab participant receives a lab apron, a certificate of participation and a pouch filled with other takeaway items. 

“By combining the resources and subject matter expertise of BASF and the fun, informal learning environment of the museum, we have seen whole families take interest in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math concepts,” said Gikas. “Studies about preparing our future workforce for STEM careers confirm what LASM and BASF have already witnessed – schools cannot do it alone. It takes communities, families and good corporate citizens to cultivate a culture for the love of life-long learning.”

BASF developed its global Kids’ Lab program to encourage children ages 6 -12 to gain a better appreciation of and interest in the dynamic world of chemistry. Kids’ Lab is designed to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience for children, teachers and caregivers. Participants learn how chemistry is all around them and how BASF creates chemistry.

In North America, BASF’s aim is to foster science literacy. The company supports several programs that encourage students to enjoy and pursue their interest in science and explore career possibilities in the fields of science, math and technology.  In 2013, the Baton Rouge chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized BASF as Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for the Kids’ Lab program.

Louisiana Art & Science Museum

Housed on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum enhances the understanding and appreciation of art and science for general audiences and students by presenting unique, educational and entertaining experiences that encourage discovery, inspire creativity, and foster the pursuit of knowledge. More information on LASM is available on the Internet at www.lasm.org.

BASF - The Chemical Company

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $19.3 billion in 2013. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.us.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.