Metal Recycling Day at the Tesla Science Center


It was a new kind of heavy metal event in Shoreham last Saturday.

A Metal for Tesla event at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe collected 329,000 pounds of metal during the first few hours of a Metal Recycling Day.

“It’s everyone in the community that comes together, whether you’re a small business or an individual who says, ‘I’ve got some spring cleaning to do’; it’s our responsibility to take care of this world,” said chief operating officer, Douglas Borge. Borge said the volunteers who help haul the metal to disposal facilities are a crucial part to the process as well. “This is the backbone to our organization, the volunteers. Everything these folks do and their commitment day in and day out is so appreciated.”

Borge said that social media was also a huge help in attracting volunteers and getting the word out about the Metal for Tesla Organization along with informing the community of what their plans are, what events will be held in the future, and recruiting more volunteers to help with the initiative.

Through this scrap metal recycling program, people in the Shoreham community get to increase their knowledge about electricity pioneer Nicola Tesla and his global impact on technology along with his local impact on Long Island. The obscure Tesla Laboratory building in Shoreham, hidden by trees and brush, is easy to miss when driving down North Country Road. “It wasn’t until the late ‘80s that we started the conversation of knowing that Nikola Tesla’s laboratory was in our own backyards,” Borge said.

There is so much history behind the original 16-acre facility. The Tesla lab is home to the Wardenclyffe tower, which was an experimental wireless transmission station. Borge said milestones like these must be remembered and celebrated. “Nicola Tesla was an individual so focused on tomorrow and because of that, our organization represents his legacy,” he said.

At the metal recycling event were many tents filled with interesting electric-powered trinkets. Jeffrey Velez, who is a volunteer at Metal for Tesla, said, “I’d say my favorite thing about what I do is seeing the reactions of people’s faces when they see something they weren’t expecting.”

Velez said by showing the public cool examples of Nikola Tesla’s vision and the power of electricity, it opens up a whole new world for them. One of the trinkets he had at his table was a Wimshurst electrostatic generator. By turning a handle on this cool machine, it presents you with a small simulation of lightning strikes.

Another trinket Velez had was the wireless power transmission, which had wiring in it to power up a light bulb and a magnet in the center of it to make the light bulb levitate. “Usually, it’s no shock when kids are amazed and excited when they see inventions like this, but occasionally you get some adults who’ve never had this exposure and can’t believe their eyes,” Velez said.

“Not only do we want to constantly remind locals that they live near great history, but we want to actively try to inspire people’s minds through the basic functions of physics and the story of Nikola Tesla,” Borge said, adding, “It’s great to see that people care and notice us in the community, so it’s only up from here.”

Miles Reese is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.


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