Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Recreational Recyclables


    Kids, while you were enjoying the outdoors this summer, we hope that you were on the lookout for recreational products made from recycled materials. If not, try it during your free time this fall! Here are just a few examples. 

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    (1) A major athletic shoe company is recycling rubber from the soles of defective shoes into an ingredient used in the surfaces of running tracks and basketball courts.
    (2) A company in Oregon is using recycled materials to make lightweight hiking shoes that are sold through mail order outlets. These shoes contain materials left over from making coffee filters, wetsuits and gaskets, as well as recycled tires, plastic milk jugs, ground-up shoe soles, and old magazines.
    (3) A nature walkway was made on a small wetlands area near a high school in Schoharie County, NY. This nature walk was built entirely of commercially available recycled pressed lumber, which is made from used grocery bags, stretch film, sawdust, and wooden pallets.
    (4) Did you know that some of the latest playground equipment is being made from assorted plastic waste? This waste is mixed with carbon black, then melted and pressed into a variety of shapes including even picnic tables. The easily pressed recycled material is made into playground equipment, and the rest is used as plastic groundcover chips instead of sand or wood chips.
    (5) Another major manufacturer has developed a fiber made completely from recycled plastic soft drink bottles (made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate). Fabrics made from this fiber are beginning to be used by clothing manufacturers. For example, one women's sweater contains the PET from 25 soda bottles!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    September 1994


    Reference:The Conservationist: NY's Environmental Magazine, 48(5&6), 1994, 62.