Why We Support Penguins

With our annual Tuxedo Trot 5K and Kids’ Fun Run just weeks away, you might be asking yourself “Why African penguins?”

Well, first of all, we love African penguins! African penguins are charismatic birds, each with their own personality that you just can’t help but adore. Have you met our colony? They’re a riot!

Secondly, these feathered folks are truly in jeopardy of extinction. The species has declined over 90% since 1900 — they are even listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which means immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines. African penguin populations are decreasing for several reasons: food shortages, egg and guano removal from beaches, and displacement from breeding sites by other native species. However, knowing why the species is in decline also means we can work to preserve the population and hopefully expand it in coming years!

So, every year, we host the Tuxedo Trot (link) in order to raise money for these beautiful tuxedo-trot-logobirds. 100% of the proceeds from the race go to SANCCOB to support their conservation efforts. SANCCOB is an internationally recognized non-profit organization whose work helps to reverse the decline of seabird populations with a large focus on African penguins. They rescue abandoned chicks and hand rear them, they rehabilitate injured or oiled birds, they educate the locals about the importance of African penguins and they research ways to permanently reverse population declines. Tuxedo Trot funds help SANCCOB to sustain and expand their African penguin conservation efforts.

Want to help us save penguins?

If you haven’t already, please consider registering for the 2017 Tuxedo Trot and help us save these beautiful birds! If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation. Both registrations and donations are accepted online at www.tuxedotrot.com. We’re grateful for your help!

 

 

Party in Your PJ’s!

Jam in your jammies while supporting the GSC’s conservation efforts!

Are you looking for a  family-friendly, affordable way to change up your typical Friday night? Dancing, crafting, face painting and snacking await you at the GSC’s annual Pajama Jam! After all, what better way to spend a Friday night than partying in your PJ’s?!Pajama-Jam-Cows

Tickets are currently on sale for the Greensboro Science Center’s popular after-hours party, Pajama Jam. This annual kid-friendly event will take place on Friday, March 24 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. This is an awesome event for children ages 12 and under – and their parents – to come to the GSC dressed in their jammies and experience an evening of entertainment, tasty treats, and plenty of farmyard fun! Get ready to dance the night away with our favorite kid-friendly band, Big Bag Boom, and the Chick-fil-A cows!

Self-described as a “kid-appropriate frat party,” the popular children’s band, Big Bang Boom, will be on site performing rockin’ kid-friendly tunes for the crowd. Their music is guaranteed to have kids and adults alike dancing and singing along!

Pajama-Jam-Music (1)You are sure to work up an appetite from dancing the night away, that’s why Chick-fil-A will be providing light refreshments for each guest in the form of chicken nuggets, fruit and a cookie. The Chick-fil-A cows (a Pajama Jam fan favorite) will be grazing throughout the GSC, greeting guests, posing for photo ops, and dancing with the band.

In addition to a pint-sized dance party, guests can also expect plenty of hands-on fun as they explore our museum and aquarium. Special activities including crafts, games and face-painting will be available for the evening.

Let your child experience their first ever laser show, Tot Rock! This is a stunning laser show set to fun, upbeat music that will be playing in the Omnisphere Theater during Pajama Jam!

If all that isn’t enough for you, our very own local celebrity, Indiana Bones, will also be entertaining guests in our Destination: Dinosaur! exhibit. Indy will be introducing young paleontologists to his prehistoric pals, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, and showing off some of his favorite artifacts and fossils, while giving guests a chance to stand beside a virtual dinosaur!Pajama-Jam-Indiana-Bones

This event is great for children and their parents, grandparents or guardians, daddy-daughter date nights, and more! Kelli Crawford, the GSC’s event coordinator for Pajama Jam, says, “We see grandparents taking their grandchildren out for a night on the town, extended families laughing and enjoying each other’s company, and even families who are planning to host sleepovers at their houses when the party ends.”

Tickets are on sale now at greensboroscience.org. Crawford says it’s best to purchase tickets well in advance. “This event sells out every year, so be sure to get your tickets early. You don’t want to miss it!”

Pajama Jam tickets are $10 for Greensboro Science Center members and $12 for non-members. All proceeds from this event will be donated to our conservation fund, which helps preserve wildlife and their habitats as well as enhance sustainable practices around the center.

 

TREX: Repurpose the Plastic

Here at the GSC, we are kicking off our six month long TREX: Repurpose the Plastic campaign. The goal is to gather 500 pounds of plastic film in this timespan. If we meet our target, we will receive a TREX bench, made out of recycled materials!

What are Single Use Plastic Films?

Plastic bags are a common example of single use plastic film, but they are not the only ones. Bread bags, bags from inside cereal boxes, and air pillows in shipping containers are also examples of single-use plastic film. They are a cheap, lightweight product that is produced with the intention of being used once and then disposed of. As you can imagine, we use a lot of plastic bags. Our role in the life cycle of a plastic bag is to receive it at a store, carry our purchases home in the bag and then place the bag in the garbage. But there is a lot more to the story.

Why are Single Use Plastics Bad?

Plastic is lightweight and therefore easily transported by wind and water into our environment, including our oceans. It does not biodegrade, instead, it is broken down by UV light, erosive forces and water into smaller and smaller pieces.

These broken-down pieces of plastic become part of our urban runoff that goes into streams, rivers and ultimately, the ocean. Once it reaches the ocean, it floats just below the surface, often being mistaken for food by aquatic animals, which can ultimately lead to us ingesting plastic particles when we eat seafood.

Seeing as   About 90 percent of all the trash in the ocean is plastic, and seeing since as we currently only recover about 5 percent of the plastics we use, we view this is as an obviously a growing problem.

What are we doing?

For the next six months, the GSC will be collecting and weighing plastic film as a quantifiable way to demonstrate how much plastic we throw out.

Are there any solutions?

There are some simple, affordable solutions that we can all do in order to limit single use plastic in the environment. For starters, investing in reusable bags for groceries and bulk goods is not only affordable, but also prevents you from contributing to the growing amount of plastic in the environment. Plastic can be recycled and turned into new products which keeps it out of landfills. When you do receive single-use plastic bags, return the empty, clean bags to your participating grocer to be properly recycled.

For more information check out these sites:

  1. Center for Biological Diversity

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/expect_more_bag_less/facts.html

  1. Eco Watch

http://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

3. Trex

http://www.trex.com/recycling/recycling-programs 

GSC Gift Guide: Tuxedo Trot Registration

Is there a running enthusiast or conservationist in your life that you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for? How about giving them a gift that gives back – registration for the Greensboro Science Center’s Tuxedo Trot?!

Our fourth annual penguin-themed 5K and Kids’ Fun Run will be back on May 20, 2017! This event was created by the Greensboro Science Center’s Conservation Committee to raise funds for endangered African penguins, and 100% of event profits will be donated to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) to help save these beautiful animals. The bird’s population has declined dramatically in the past 10 years and there is an urgent need of you and your loved one’s help, making this the ideal gift for the conservationist in your life! tuxedo-trot-logo

For just $30 (through January 31, 2017) per person, a registration for the Tuxedo Trot 5K will give your loved ones an exciting, memorable and rewarding day of fun and exercise. For young runners, just $15 (through January 31, 2017) will give him or her a chance to hop, waddle, and stalk through the GSC’s zoo – just like their favorite animals – during the Kids Fun Run! Tuxedo Trot registrations can be purchased online at http://www.tuxedotrot.com/.

With a Tuxedo Trot gift registration, participants will get an awesome T-shirt (T-shirts are only guaranteed to the first 500 registrants), as well as a fun souvenir, refreshments, a day pass to the Greensboro Science Center on race day free of charge – all they have to do is present their race bib to enter – and the chance to win some crazy cool prizes!

Give the gift that gives back with a Tuxedo Trot registration!

It’s African Penguin Awareness Day!

Today, October 8, 2016, is African Penguin Awareness Day! The Greensboro Science Center is home to a colony of 20 African penguins. These birds are playful, inquisitive, and a general joy to watch. They are among the most popular animals that call the GSC home!

But, sadly, these beautiful and engaging animals are endangered in the wild. According to some estimates, they could be extinct in the wild in as few as 15 years. But, don’t despair! There are ways you can help – right from home!

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One of the leading causes of African penguins’ population decline is overfishing. You can help alleviate this problem by simply making sustainable seafood choices. The Greensboro Science Center is a Seafood Watch partner. As a partner, we are committed to spreading the word about making smart decisions when it comes to seafood. Be sure to pick up a Seafood Watch guide at the GSC during your next visit to help you make better seafood choices!

Another way you can help is by running or walking. You read that right! On May 20, 2017, we’ll be hosting our 4th annual Tuxedo Trot: Run for the Penguins. This 5K and Kids’ Fun Run is a fundraiser for SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds). All proceeds from the event are donated to this amazing organization dedicated to helping save this charismatic species. Registration for the Tuxedo Trot is currently available online at tuxedotrot.com.

Can’t wait until May? Well, we’ve got a way you can help right now! Our friends at The Cannonball (marathon, half marathon, and 5K) are giving you a discount AND giving a donation to the Tuxedo Trot with anyone who registers using code LOVEGSO through October 10!

Another easy way to help is to spread the word about the Tuxedo Trot to your friends, family, coworkers, workout buddies, running groups, and even random strangers on the street (although you may get funny looks). Like and share our Tuxedo Trot Facebook page and talk about the event using #tuxedotrot. Anything you can do to spread the word about this event will help us raise funds for African penguin conservation. Thanks for your help!

Plarn Workshop

Conservation Action: Plarn Workshop

Give new life to your plastic shopping bags with plarn! Plarn (plastic + yarn) is a fun project material that can be used in your knitting and crochet projects. Plastic shopping bags typically have a useful lifespan of about 15 minutes, but they last in our landfills for centuries and cannot be recycled in your bins at home (they have to back to the grocery store). Reusing these bags by weaving them into anything from floor mats to reusable bags is a fun way to decrease the amount of plastic bags going into our landfills.

On Saturday, August 20 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., the Greensboro Science Center will be hosting a plarn weaving workshop. Tori Carle, the City of Greensboro’s recycling educator, will be on site to teach you how to repurpose your plastic shopping bags for knitting and crochet projects.

What to bring:

  • at least 10 plastic shopping bags
  • Q sized crochet hook (16mm)

Need a project idea?

The City of Greensboro is collecting sleeping mats made from plarn to distribute to the homeless in our community who need portable sleeping surfaces that will provide a barrier for those who sleep on the ground. These mats will be distributed by Greensboro police offers and the Interactive Resource Center. The City’s goal is to collect 100 plarn bed rolls by October 1. Learn more about Operation Bed Roll on the City of Greensboro’s website: www.greensboro-nc.gov/plarn

Be sure to join us on Saturday, August 20 to learn a neat new skill with a cool conservation edge!

GSC Welcomes Two New Honeybee Colonies

The Greensboro Science Center is home to two new honeybee hives located in the zoo at the Friendly Farm. The warm weather we experienced early this year has stimulated colonies of bees to head out, seeking new hives. On two separate occasions in the last couple of weeks, colonies of European honeybees were discovered building hives on the GSC’s perimeter fence. Both colonies were found and retrieved by the GSC’s volunteer beekeeper, Linda Walbridge and GSC Horticulturist, Chandra Metheny. The team had to assemble quickly to remove the colonies and place them in new hives because the freezing nighttime temperatures would have killed the bees.

The process of safely and humanely moving a colony of bees is quite fascinating. Geared up in protective bee suits, Linda and Chandra carefully and meticulously removed the temporary hives from the fence. One major factor in ensuring a successful move is to identify and seize the queen bee. The colony will follow the queen to a new hive, but without her, the colony’s chance of survival is dramatically decreased. The staff had to be especially careful to safely sequester the queen into a transport capsule. The capsule is designed to allow worker bees the ability to easily move into and out of the capsule but due to the queen’s size she remains in the capsule. The worker bees were then placed in a bucket and taken to the new hive. The bees were particularly docile during this process. They were always aware of the queen’s safe location and since they didn’t have any brood or honey in their temporary hive, there was no need to be defensive.

Removing Hive from Fence

Moving Bees

The queen and her colony were safely relocated to a new hive at the Friendly Farm. The queen remained in her capsule for a few days where she produced pheromones, or scents, that alerted the other bees to her location. Additionally, the worker bees displayed to the rest of the colony the location of the queen, so the entire colony could make their way to the hive. The display is fascinating to witness–worker bees point to the queen by raising their back sides with heads down, using their hind limbs and abdomen to point towards the queen.

Once our colony was safely placed in the new hive, they had to withstand the night’s cold temperatures. To accomplish this, the bees generated heat by collectively beating their wings while surrounding and protecting the queen. They took turns moving around to allow each bee the opportunity to get close to the center and stay warm. By working together, the colony survived the cold weather. The GSC is supplementing the hives with sugar water. This will help sustain the colony while they learn their new habitat and map out tracks to new sources of food.

New Hive

Native and European honeybees, as with many pollinators, are vital to our food system and the ecological stability of our planet. However, they have suffered significant declines of recent. These declines are largely from habitat loss, disease, an increase in pesticides and changes in our climate. The successful rescue of these hives provides the GSC an opportunity to safely conserve and sustain bee populations. Staff will continue to provide bee-friendly garden spaces on campus to support these invaluable creatures. Be sure to stop by the Friendly Farm during your next visit and take a moment to see our new honeybee hives!

Three Hives