Museum Musings

Volunteer of the Month: June

JUNE VOTM photo.jpgWe are pleased to honor Kate Marie Wiles as our June Volunteer of the Month. 

Kate Marie loves talking about science and meeting new people, which makes her an excellent fit for Fernbank. She began volunteering in August of 2013 and can usually be found interacting with young guests at one of our Discovery Carts or teaching visitors about fossils at the A Walk Through Time in Georgiakiosk—a task she also trains new volunteers to handle.

When not donating her time and talent to Fernbank, Kate Marie enjoys horseback riding (both jumping and dressage), hiking, and soccer. Volunteering allows Kate to feel more connected to the scientific community, which she really enjoys. But one of her favorite moments was being mistaken for a local evening newscaster.

“He was totally starstruck,” she said.

For information on how to become a volunteer, call 404.929.6360 or e-mailvolunteer@fernbankmuseum.org.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 11:17

A Neighborhood Nestwatch Experience

This summer, Fernbank has the opportunity to begin working with the Smithsonian Institution’s Neighborhood Nestwatch program.  This citizen science project is geared to connect bird enthusiasts with actual researchers to gather scientific data related to bird habits and population patterns. Recently, Christine Bean (VP of Education) and I had the opportunity to learn firsthand how the program works, as Chris’ yard has become one of the research sites, along with her next-door-neighbor.

As an educator with a passion for animals and scientific research, I was intrigued to learn more about how the program actually works at the study sites and was not disappointed. The Nestwatch scientist, Alie, began by observing the area and surveying which bird species were present. Then, we helped setup mist nets and a sort of “field command station”. Throughout the few hours we monitored the nets, we caught a handful of birds, which were banded, measured, recorded and released. We also caught a few species that are not currently targeted in the study, so they were released unharmed.

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“It was the first time I’d held a bird—Alie taught me how to hold it so it would be gently yet firmly supported. I was struck by the warmth of this tiny creature, and its strong heartbeat,” Christine Bean

Having a propensity for working hands-on with animals, I was thrilled about the opportunity to help manage the birds through the process and aid in recording their measurements. The birds banded included a Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal and 2 Chickadees. Chris and her neighbor will continue to observe these animals year after year and report their data directly to the Smithsonian Institution.

cardinal1.jpg 

Cardinal with “pacifier”

During the experience, one of the most entertaining parts was learning about the different behaviors of each bird species. We learned that Cardinals and Tufted Titmouse are two species that “announce” their frustrations throughout the banding process and that cardinals have the most powerful bites of the 8 targeted species for this study. While the Cardinal was in the process of measurement and banding, Alie offered a twig to pacify the bird and it worked! 

Lynn_titmouse.jpg 

I couldn’t believe how quickly and efficiently Alie was able to work with the birds, recording their data and going through several steps before releasing them back into the neighborhood. She held the bird in one hand, using the other to write, shuffle through data sheets and measure tail and tarsus lengths. The birds were also weighed, sexed and evaluated for body fat content. Alie’s compassion for these animals was also evident from her gentle and comforting manner, all while explaining the process and answering questions from us. Overall, the experience was incredibly rewarding, as we learned about the birds and the research process and had the opportunity to actually be a part of this scientific study!

Learn more about Neighborhood Nestwatch and find out how YOUR backyard can be involved.

—Lynn Anders, Animal Programs Coordinator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 10:26

Memorial Day 2014

mem-day-image.jpgFernbank Museum will be open during normal daytime business hours over the Memorial Day weekend.

Explore the wonderful world of whales, catch a flick on the biggest screen in town and more. Fernbank educators will also lead guests through a variety of hands-on activities during special drop-in programs offered throughout the weekend. Activities vary. Check the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for details.

Fernbank Museum’s normal daytime hours are:
Sunday: Noon to 5pm
Monday – Saturday: 10am to 5pm

Purchase advance tickets online or by calling 404.929.6400. As always, parking is FREE.

Please note: Fernbank’s Martinis & IMAX® will not be held Friday, May 23. The event will return Friday, May 30.  

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:31

Volunteer of the Month: May

Paul BuckholdtWe are pleased to honor Paul Buckholdt as our May Volunteer of the Month.

Paul Buckholdt retired from the U.S. Army in 1969. Since then he has been involved in a variety of interesting projects, including carpentry, electrical work, theatrical photography and computer programming. He is also a Ham, or amateur radio operator, and often spends his time communicating with police for first emergency services during foot and bicycle races. He also uses his radio to connect to other Hams around the globe, including a member of the US Navy stationed in Antarctica.  

An avid rider, you can often find Paul on one of his old BMW motorcycles. He enjoys taking long trips across the country as well as watching motorcycle races.  

Paul is a long-time supporter of Fernbank, having visited routinely since the Museum opened in 1992. In this third year of volunteering, he says the current special exhibition Whales: Giants of the Deep is his favorite so far.

For information on how to become a volunteer, call 404.929.6360 or e-mail volunteer@fernbankmuseum.org.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 13:56

Celebrate Easter and Passover by Visiting Jerusalem

403x403-Jerusalem.jpgDue to popular demand, the captivating giant screen film Jerusalem, presented by National Geographic Entertainment, has been extended through the Easter and Passover holidays at Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre.

Jerusalem immerses audiences in a spectacular cinematic journey—soaring high above the Holy Land and plunging deep into the vibrant Old City—so they can experience as never before the iconic sites cherished by billions.

Special screenings of Jerusalem will be offered in Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre Fridays at 7pm and Sundays at 5pm through April 27. IMAX tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for children 12 and younger, and $8 for museum members.

These special screenings will likely sell out. Advance purchase is highly recommended online or by calling 404.929.6400. 

 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 14:07
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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