Sandpits and science? At NERC's Into the blue public showcase, Elizabeth Lewis set up an augmented reality sandbox and gave the public a chance to build mountains, towns, dams and defenses and watch as digital water flowed over the landscape. Liz Lewis with an augmented reality sandbox

Liz told us that "Into the blue got me excited about my work all over again!" and explained how public engagement can help promote your research.

We are all familiar with green spaces and open parks, but do you know why are they important for human wellbeing? Last year, Arron Watson invited the public to think about this question at NERC's Into the blue science showcase.Arran Watson talks to members of the public

Arron explored the role of urban green spaces alongside five thousand members of the public in October half-term 2016. The ambitious event was designed to inspire members of the public, but also gave scientists the chance to develop new skills and discover first-hand the benefits of public engagement. We caught up with Arron after Into the blue and found out that he's "started to plan for other events" and even applied for events he "would never have thought of applying for" because of a new-found confidence.

Asset 1Stefan Swift is a church-going, Torquay United supporting, PhD student at the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories in York.

Stefan recently stepped on stage to give his first public talk as part of an air quality roadshow and he now sees public engagement as an "opportunity."

Richard Pope uses satelite observations and modelling to look at air quality and tropospheric chemistry. He works for the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Research (ICAS) during the week, but for two weekends in February he volunteered to talk to local residents about air quality in Yorkshire as part of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) air quality roadshow 'The Air We Share'. Read on to find out why Richard was surprised by the public response to his research.

cindy bruyereDr Cindy Bruyère was the first recipient of an NCAS visiting scientist program award. The recently launched Visiting Scientist Program is designed to facilitate collaborations that will share knowledge, advance existing research, stimulate new research areas, allow collective response to scientific initiatives and raise the international profile of NCAS.

Cindy visited the University of Leeds to collaborate with Dr Alan Gadian as part of a joint research project between NCAS weather and the National Earth Systems Laboratory to examine weather processes over the past 3 decades and forward into the 21st century.