Museum Musings
  • Prev
  • 1
  • Next

Family Fun at Fernbank Museum

Make the most of the dog days of summer with a variety of hands-on, minds-on activities at Fernbank. Here’s this weekend’s lineup of programs:

Saturday, August 29

Tadpole Tales
11:30am, Naturalist Center
Preschoolers will enjoy a story and a special activity, led by a Fernbank educator. This month’s story A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer.

Excellent Experiments
1pm, Naturalist Center
Explore the amazing world of chemistry through fun experiments in a live presentation.

Live Animal Encounter
3pm, Naturalist Center
Get up close and personal with a member of Fernbank’s live animal collection.

Sunday, August 30

Tadpole Tales
1:30pm, Naturalist Center
Preschoolers will enjoy a story and a special activity, led by a Fernbank educator. This month’s story is A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer.

Live Animal Encounter
3pm, Naturalist Center
Get up close and personal with a member of Fernbank’s live animal collection.

Looking for a more outdoorsy family adventure? Fernbank Forest Geology Tour, Sunday, August 30 from 10am – noon. Learn more about forest geology with a Museum scientist during this guided tour. Suitable for ages 8 and up. Advance reservations required.

All activities are included with Museum admission and are free for members. Subject is subject to change, so check the “Today at Fernbank” sign in the lobby when you arrive. 

We'll see you this weekend! 

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 16:02

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

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.


“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.


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! 


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
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!