Museum Musings

Top Five Ways to Enjoy Your Membership

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On the fence about buying a Fernbank Museum membership? Here are five excellent ways to make the most out of your membership:

5. Have lunch in The Fernbank Café. Members save 10%

4. Treat yourself or buy a gift in the Museum Store. Members save 10%

3. Host a prehistoric birthday party. Members receive discounts on birthday party packages. Members receive discounts on birthday party packages.

2. See a film on the biggest screen in town. Members pay just $8 for IMAX® tickets.

1. Enjoy unlimited Museum admission, including family adventure days. Members always free. 

Bonus! Become a member today and take advantage of free admission to 5 special exhibitions during your 12-month membership, including: Searching for the Queen of Sheba (opens Sept. 26), Women of Vision (opens Sept. 26), Winter Wonderland (opens Nov. 21), Wild Music (opens Feb 2016), and Creatures of Light (opens March 2016).

Family memberships start at $120. We can help you choose the level that’s right for you. Contact us at 404.929.6340 or membership@fernbankmuseum.org.  

I hope to see you at the Museum soon!

—Allison Trice, Director of Member and Volunteer Services 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:56

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

Earth Day Inspirations


Earth Day is just around the corner, offering another opportunity to teach visitors, young and old, why we love the earth, and why we should protect it. As a life science programs intern, I’ve grown slightly introspective as the date approaches. I care deeply about the planet and about the fate of its ecosystems, and Earth Day has always represented an opportunity to share that sentiment. Ashley Blog April 2015

Since I began interning at Fernbank in January, one of the main things that excites me is the Museum’s ability to draw out my own passions in the visitors. I’ve been interested in natural history since I was a small child; some of my earliest memories involve catching frogs and chasing snakes (and consequentlybeingchased when my parents realized what I was after). I grew up in the Washington D.C. area, and could be counted on to alternate between the zoo and the museum of natural history as my choices for weekend outings. Here, I love walking past the dinosaurs and through the front doors and experiencing the palpable excitement of the school groups who can’t wait to learn, even if they don’t quite know that’s what they are doing.

The message of conservation here is subtle; to me, the exhibits show what we have on earth is worth protecting, rather than simply preaching at an audience that surely has heard it all before. The exhibits excite a passion for knowledge which I developed in a similar setting. While I shadowed a live animal presentation, a little boy raised his hand and said “One day, I want to be a scientist!” I find it so heartening to know that visiting Fernbank might not be just a way to get out of class, but can truly be a formative experience for visitors.

The live animal presentations are particularly special for me; I’ve always loved reptiles and amphibians, but have always been surprised to find that not everyone shares that interest. At Fernbank, the visitors are at the edges of their seats trying to get a good look at the legless lizards or the blue tongued skink, and can hardly wait to guess why a lizard is not a snake. After the event, they race off to learn about the ecosystems of Georgia, to check out The Power of Poison exhibit and to appreciate the other animals and activities in Fernbank NatureQuest. As they do, I am confident that some of that love of the natural world will stick with them.

—Ashley Stumvoll, Life Sciences Intern

Written by Fernbank Museum at 11:17

Here We Grow Again


Please join us in welcoming Eli Dickerson to Fernbank Museum as our new Ecologist. Eli will be coordinating programs and leading Museum ecology initiatives ranging from community engagement and public outreach to the ongoing restoration work inside the 65-acre Fernbank Forest.Eli On Blood Mtn

Eli is no stranger to Fernbank Museum. He previously served as Fernbank’s Environmental Outreach Programs Manager from 2005-2011, working with students, teachers, children and families to educate the public in environmental science. One of the programs he developed, UrbanWatch Atlanta, remains one of the Museum’s core science program for students.

And, Eli is no stranger to ecology! He has a wealth of experience, including positions with the National Park Service, Piedmont Park Conservancy and Trees Atlanta.

Read the official press release for more information on Eli’s experience and his new role at Fernbank Museum.

Learn more about "Atlanta's hidden gem," Fernbank Forest 

You might also be interested in:

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 13:26

A Leafy Adventure

Disclaimer: My background is in communications. Before working at Fernbank I couldn’t tell a red oak from a pine tree. That said, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to learn more about natural history by joining one of the Museum’s unique educational programs. I’m able to discover and learn through a new perspective, often doing so with the curiosity of an explorer and the wide-eyed-enthusiasm of a child.

Speaking of natural history, Fernbank’s Summer Camp covers a variety of areas under the big umbrella that is natural history. So, I returned to summer camp, specifically on “Forest Day” for the Discovery Team camp (rising 2nd – 3rd graders).

Our lesson started in Fernbank NatureQuest, identifying trees (beech, long-leafed pine, short-leafed pine, red oak), part of plants (leaves, stems, roots) as well as seed dispersal.

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Then it was time to take the lesson outdoors with a trip to Fernbank Forest with Fernbank educator, Charlee Glenn. Shortly upon entering the forest, we stopped to identify our first tree, a muscle tree. We did this not from memory, but by examining the bark, leaves and circumference of the tree.

The bark on muscle trees almost looks like veins that you’d see on bodybuilder flexing. Not only does the bark look similar to muscles, it is also a very strong tree. Despite having a smaller circumference, the muscle tree is very dense. To illustrate this, Charlee asked one of the campers to try to push the tree to see if it’d bend. (Note: it did not, but boy did that kid try.)

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Next up (after navigating at least 5 spider webs), we found a red oak tree. Red oaks have lobbed leaves and its bark is light with dark stripes (like a zebra). Since one of the main identifiers we used for this tree was its leaves, we looked for some on the ground.

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As we made our way to Huntemann Pond, Charlee talked about some of the animals that live in Fernbank Forest. As if on cue, a red tail hawk made its presence known with a series of calls. 

In addition to hawk calls, and despite the excited chattering of kids, you could still hear the rest of the forest: a variety of song birds, banjo frog, and the unmistakable “PLOP” of a frog jumping into the pond.

Today’s forest adventure included a special presentation by current FUN volunteer Meg, who has also served as a restoration volunteer in the Fernbank Forest Overlook. Her focus during that project was removing invasives. She provided a quick overview of the difference between invasive vs. native plants and how the invasives impact the native species.

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It’s summer camp, so of course there was show and tell. Meg led a game of “Name that Invasive!” English ivy, kudzu, wisteria, privet and monkey grass - Oh my! Inspired by their new knowledge of invasives, one of the campers declared “let’s go pull ALL the monkey grass!”

Love the enthusiasm kid, but hold on a sec.

“You can’t just pull these [invasive] plants out of the ground,” Meg explained. She continued “It’s a careful process that takes time. We have to remove the entire plant, right down to the roots.”

As we made our way out of the forest, Charlee asked the kids to call out any invasives they spotted. One camper spotted a bank covered in English ivy and said “It’s like a football field of ivy!”

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It was great to learn about the forest along with the campers. Their sense of wonder and endless curiosity was inspiring. Right up until I ran into my 6th spider web.

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Click here to see more photos from my leafy adventure.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:08
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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