Museum Musings

Celebrating All-Star Teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Fernbank Museum would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding teachers we had the privilege of working with this year.Thank youfor all the hard work you do and for making Fernbank Museum a part of your curriculum! Becky -web

As a teacher, you play a key role in the achievements and success of each student who steps through your door. Teachers are required to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, patient and caring. (Although sometimes one quality more than the others!) Finding these attributes wrapped into one individual is a rare gem.

It’s a pleasure to see students immersed in a special exhibit at the museum. It’s great to hear them gasp at something during an IMAX® film. Though the nicest part is watching a great teacher engage the students—connecting the content to what they’re studying in class, asking questions, and furthering the students’ curiosities and interests. You are such an integral part of these children’s lives, and we want to thank you for the incredible work you do.

We hope to see you again in the 2015-2016 school year.

—Becky Facer, Education Program Manager—Environmental Programs

You might also like: Fernbank Field Trips, Educator Corner


Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:24

2015 Volunteer Awards Ceremony

Fernbank’s Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony is a celebration of the invaluable support we receive from our volunteers. Here are a few photos from this year’s event on April 19, 2015.

Fernbank staff work the event as greeters and buffet attendees.

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Despite the rainy weather, the bright colors decorating the Great Hall really livened things up!

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This year, the brunch was bigger and better than ever, hosting more than two hundred volunteers and their families.

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The brunch is a great opportunity for volunteers whom might not normally work together, to have a chance to socialize.

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Many volunteers were recognized for reaching a certain number of hours or years of service, but the brunch is also meant to show our appreciation for every volunteer, regardless of their individual commitment.

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A highlight of the event—recognizing 20,000 hours of service (that’s equivalent to 10 years of full-time work!) donated by John Thompson.

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Steve Place’s incredible work founding the forest restoration program was also recognized.

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The ceremony provides an opportunity to say farewell to FUN volunteers that are graduating out of the program this year. Though, we never miss an opportunity for all of our FUN volunteers to show off their best RAWR pose!

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We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for our volunteers. See additional photos from the event here.

A special thanks to The Fernbank Café for a delicious brunch and to staff for donating their time to help make our volunteers feel special.

—Kate Naylor, Member and Volunteer Services Coordinator and Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing; photos by Marisa Crissey, Communications Design Director and Kaden Borseth, Education Program Manager–Earth Science

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:49

May Volunteer Spotlight

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We are thrilled to recognize Pat Meltzer as our May Volunteer of the Month.

Pat Meltzer is always involved in something: between enrolling in history, science, and religion courses at Mercer’s Senior University and taking trips across the globe, she never misses an opportunity to learn something new. Since she joined Polaris ten years ago, she has tried to inspire this same love of learning in our visitors, and always asks “Are you ready for your adventure?”

Over the last decade, Pat has made many memories at the Museum, but her favorite one involved a shy seven-year-old guest. A little reticent at first, his face lit up as soon as she began to tell him about the dinosaurs, and he began to share his own knowledge with her. Meeting new people and getting them excited about their visit is Pat’s favorite part of volunteering!

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Fernbank Museum. You can also call us at 404.929.6360 or e-mail

—Kate Naylor. Member and Volunteer Services Coordinator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 10:06

A Killer Treat

Next in our “Pick Your Poison(ous) Recipe” series, a treat that’s just for adults, submitted by registrar Wil Grewe-Mullins.Several _brownies

Killer Brownies


  • 1 box brownie mix; Ghirardelli Double Chocolate if possible
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Make brownies according to directions on box, but replace water with Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Keep away from the children.

The end.

Join us Sunday, April 26 for the final Dangerously Delicious Tasting Event featuring treats from Blue Haven Bee Company, Judi Cakes, The Melting Pot and Whole Foods Market Briarcliff.

Doors open at 11:30am for members! Learn more. 

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:54

From Writing Grants to Pulling Plants: Why I Volunteer

I have a bit of a dual identity around the Museum. Monday through Friday, I work alongside other Fernbank employees on the Development team as the Museum’s Grants and Sponsorship Coordinator. On the second Saturday of the month, however, I’m a Fernbank Forest Restoration Volunteer. I should preface what I’m about to say with the following: I prefer curling up with a good book over pretty much any physical activity, and I’m not exactly the “outdoorsy” type. Yard work, or any iteration thereof, is not my thing. I was, however, writing about Fernbank Forest and our restoration efforts quite a bit in proposals and was motivated to get some firsthand experience out in the Forest. And so, early on a Saturday morning—Did I mention I’m a night owl, too?—I headed into Fernbank on my day off to shadow the Forest Restoration Volunteers.

Forest Restoration Shirts

The non-native, invasive plant species that have permeated the forest must be hand pulled, without the use of heavy machinery or broadcast spraying herbicides. Restoration work calls for detail and precision, as we need to remove the invasives in ways that are the least disruptive to both the soil and the native vegetation. English Ivy (Hedera helix), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), Lilyturf (Liriope spicata), and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) are among the most plentiful of the invasive plant species currently in the forest, but Fernbank has identified a total of 45 non-native plant species that will need to be removed.

Forest Restoration Digging

This is not your grandma’s gardening! I left sweaty, dirty, and ready for a well-deserved afternoon nap. But I’ll tell you something else: I’ve been back almost every month since. That day I discovered a wonderful, welcoming group of community members who care deeply about the future of Fernbank Forest. The group boasts multiple Master Gardeners, folks with ecology degrees, and others with years of restoration experience. They have been generous teachers as I’ve learned to identify native vs. non-native plants. Their enthusiasm for the forest is both inspiring and invigorating. Restoring the natural biodiversity of the forest will be a lifelong commitment, and I am beyond thankful to be serving with such a dedicated group of volunteers.

And the forest itself? Breathtaking. Peaceful. A place worth getting up for early in the morning on your day off.   

—Laura Heiman, Grants and Sponsorship Coordinator

You might be interested in: Fernbank Forest; Forest Restoration Volunteers; Other Volunteer Opportunities

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:14
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!