Free Ice Cream Anyone?

Hanford Challenge hosted its third annual summer Ice Cream in the Park event on July 10th in Capitol Hill. It was a beautiful sunny day- perfect for a cold, creamy treat! We set up our tables under a shady park tree and greeted people, binders in hand, as they arrived for FREE ICE CREAM, drawn by the signs posted on phone poles and events boards around Seattle neighborhoods.  The Capitol Hill Blog even picked up wind of our event and headlined “Free Ice Cream Party—and nuclear safety awareness—in Volunteer Park” on Tuesday, which drew a big number of visitors.

Before sending everyone on their way with a delicious scoop of Half Pint Ice Cream, we made them work for it! First, people had to learn about Hanford, second, take a survey, third, pick their top three Hanford issues, and then choose an ice cream flavor. Even kids joined in on the fun, learning a fact or two about Hanford before eagerly licking their ice cream cones, getting their faces painted by Marina, and kicking balls around in the grass.

Another aspect of the Ice Cream Social was an interactive “Speak Up!” Poster assembled by the Department of Ecology to gage interest on the different issues at Hanford. Valerie put on a show for the children, explaining poster terms like “High Level Waste Repositories” and “Government Accountability and Transparency” in a dramatic, theatrical fashion that kept the kids amazingly engaged. “Protecting the Columbia River” and “Long Term Stewardship/Institutional Controls” were the most important issues at Hanford, as voted by our attendees.

Talking with people one on one and learning about their interests and experiences with Hanford was constantly engaging. Some came with a great deal of prior knowledge and others were learning about Hanford for the first time. This aspect of the Ice Cream Social was especially interesting for me; having only interned at Hanford Challenge for a few weeks, the questions people asked consistently tested and expanded my own knowledge of the Hanford Site.

It seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves while lying in the sun, listening to Mike and Tom play live music, and eating ice cream. The crowd was mostly Seattleites but we also managed to garner national and international opinions from as far as India!

If you missed the event but are still interested in sharing your input on Hanford and related involvement opportunities, please take our survey so your voice is heard! Additional educational info is also available HERE.

By: Fiona Weeks

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