National Environmental Laboratory Professionals Week (NELPW) is April 23 -29th

National Environmental Laboratory Professionals Week (NELPW) April 23–29, 2017
Activity and Resource Ideas:

Convene a Lab Week Committee

This allows staff to own the week and generate ideas of interest to them.

Facilitate Training

Encourage staff to participate in training; consider scheduling a conference room for a group session. Use your own training resources or one of the following:  

Invite Guest Lecturers

  • From your EPA regional laboratory
  • From State and Local Regulators- Permitting Authorities, Accreditation/Certification Bodies
  • From a local university
  • From a water or water reclamation utility

Educate Your Community and Partners on the Importance of Environmental Laboratories

  • Ask your Governor, State or Local Officials for a proclamation, recognizing the laboratory and the week.
  • Do a press release about the week and your work.
  • Consider releasing your annual lab report this week.
  • Develop a laboratory week display that can be showcased at your state/local health/environment departments.
  • Present a  “Lab Fest” and include multiple hands-on exhibits for participants to experience and understand basic laboratory analysis, such as:
    • Posters on recent projects/collaborations
    • Picture both for “Be a Scientist for a Day” with lab garb and other fun accessories
    • Radiation and other field instrumentation
    • Display parts of more complex laboratory instruments (e.g., gas chromatography columns, high-pressure liquid chromatography column, automatic liquid sampler, solid phase extraction apparatus)
  • Create a short (3–5 minute) video about your laboratory. Please view videos from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for examples. The APHL video on the function of public health laboratories may be useful for public outreach.
  • Use the ‘PHL Open House’ guide developed by one of APHL’s Emerging Leaders cohorts to help plan an open house.
  • Use APHL’s ‘Env. Labs for NELPW’ PowerPoint template to give a guest lecture at a local graduate school. APHL’s issue brief concerning environmental laboratory capabilities to show your community what your lab may do.
  • Write a blog post for your state environmental agency or health department.
  • Blog or post pictures of your laboratory on WEFCOM, or send to
  • Conduct a departmental networking event, like a “Science Jeopardy” competition or similar activity that will encourage department colleagues who may not be familiar with the laboratory to learn more.
  • Consider recognizing someone from outside the laboratory who contributed to its advancement with a “friend of the laboratory” or similar award.

Engage Your Community on Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Concerns

The crisis in Flint, Michigan may provide a good opportunity to communicate with the public about the local water supply and/or the laboratory’s role in keeping drinking water safe. Consider the following examples of proactive communication related to this issue:  

Host Employee Appreciation Events

  • Host a contest in your laboratory, such as an environmental photo, art, poetry, or door/window/hallway decorating.
  • Show movies during lunch breaks.
  • Host a themed meal for employees.

Talk About Being Environmentally Friendly

  • Host a “Green and Blue Day,” where staff wear colors representing earth and water.
  • Hold a grounds-keeping afternoon: where staff help with weeding, mulch, planting, etc.
  • Ask if your regional EPA Office plans to do something for Earth Day (Saturday, April 22nd), and see how you can participate.
  • Ask someone in the environmental laboratory to use the APHL slide-deck on “being green;” tailor it and present it to the lab.
  • Encourage employees to do a “Meatless Monday” or purchase items at a local farmer’s market.
  • Encourage employees to “Travel Differently on Tuesday”: car-pool, bus, walk or bike to work.

Take Pictures, Tweet (#LabWeek) and Send Stories or Suggestions to WEF and APHL