Museum Musings

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 volunteer@fernbankmuseum.org.

—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

Ingredients: 

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

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

Proviso:
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

Isn’t Every Day Earth Day?


As a life sciences intern at Fernbank Museum, I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity in the form of helping plan the Museum’s 2015 Earth Day activities. As a budding ecologist and longtime outdoors enthusiast, Earth Day has always held a certain significance for me. The lessons instilled on this unique holiday helped strengthen the connection with nature I have felt from a young age—a connection that has taken me from the vast, open wetlands of Brazil to the dark, dense rainforests of Borneo. Alex -with -Long -Nosed -Horned -Frog -Borneo -FOR-BLOGFrom childhood hikes with my family to learning about composting and recycling in school, each Earth Day serves as a reminder; a window into a forgotten era of holism before man considered himself separate from nature. Yet, perhaps this is a naïve perspective. Though it remains essential for lessons of the past to be incorporated into our collective memory, we as a species should be looking to the future. The future is where our children and our children’s children will live and learn, and it's up to us to decide how the world will provide for and teach them.

Now let’s (briefly) talk numbers. Big numbers. For 4.54 billion years (that’s 4,540,000,000!), this planet has revolved faithfully around the yellow dwarf star at the center of our solar system, known affectionately to us as the “sun.” For about 99.9956% of this total time, modern humans were not around. In the mere 0.0044% of the earth’s existence since the evolution ofHomo sapiens, our species has managed to rack up a current population of nearly 7.3 billion people. According to these figures, the number of people living on Earth right now is far greater than the number of years the planet has even existed! For me, that’s quite a reality check.

“With great population size comes great responsibility.” Well, maybe that’s not exactly how the original quote went, but this version certainly has some truth to it. The human population has reached enormous proportions within the last few centuries. Consequently, many of the earth’s natural systems are struggling to maintain their functions in the face of our exponential expansion and the widespread pollution, deforestation, and oil/mineral extraction that comes with it. In the 1960’s, recognition of these environmental issues began to surface, and on April 22, 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and a strong-willed following of professors, students, and activists organized the first Earth Day (for those who were enjoying the numbers, that means we have been celebrating Earth Day for a measly 0.00000077% of the Earth’s existence!). Alex -with -3-lined -salamander -state -bot -garden -athens -FOR-BLOG 

Originally planned as a nationwide teach-in on the environment, the first Earth Day saw over 20 million Americans take a stand for environmental reform. Every year since, a growing number of people and nations have celebrated our planet by organizing festivals, fundraisers, and all types of events aimed at drawing attention to both the beauty and fragility of Earth’s ecosystems. Last year’s Earth Day saw over 1 billion people from 192 different countries pay homage to our Pale Blue Dot, and this year we expect nothing less.

For this reason, I am proud to help carry Senator Nelson’s torch this year by engaging the public, and specifically the youth, about Earth Day and its never-diminishing relevance. 

I invite you to join the Museum on Sunday, April 19 for a variety of Earth Day-themed programs including guided tours of Fernbank Forest and a special presentation from Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.

—Alex Terry, Life Sciences Intern

You might also be interested in Public Programs in Fernbank Forest, Current Restoration Work, Sustainability at Fernbank Museum

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:33
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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