Conservation Partner Spotlight:  Fishing Cat Conservancy

Last year, the Greensboro Science Center (GSC) donated $5,000 to the Fishing Cat Conservancy (FCC), an Arizona-based nonprofit organization whose mission is “to promote the long-term survival of fishing cats in the wild through public education, capacity-building, and community-based research and conservation.” Part of the GSC’s mission is to support global conservation efforts, and with two fishing cats in our care, supporting the FCC is of great significance to us.

We recently reached out to FCC’s president, Ashwin Naidu, for updates from the field. Here’s what he shared:

  1. We enabled a ‘community-managed’ monitoring program for fishing cats, wherein the training we provided to our field team and community members is translating into them sharing their knowledge with the local people and tribal communities that live next to fishing cats and their habitats. Now, these local people and tribals are taking an interest in protecting their backyard wetlands, mangroves, and locally endangered species like fishing cats and smooth-coated otters.
  2. We educated close to 1,000 school children in various government schools and local people in villages located next to mangroves (especially mangroves outside protected areas). We talked about the importance of protecting fishing cats and mangrove ecosystems for the benefit and long-term survival of local communities.Santosh_FCC_EduProg_SchoolKids_SAM_Apr2017 (1)
  3. We constructed a solar-powered Conservation Education Center, which is currently two cottages as it stands, to be openly used by the local community and visitors to educate about fishing cats, mangroves, and wetland biodiversity and support efforts to study and protect them. More information and photos about this are in a recent post on our Facebook page.FCC_CEC_SolarPanels_Aug2017
  4. We presented and shared all our data to date on fishing cats occurring outside protected areas (esp. in mangroves in revenue lands) with the Krishna District’s Vigilance Department. This Department is now looking into getting revenue lands with mangroves established as protected areas.
  5. From our partners, Gal Oya Lodge in Sri Lanka, we obtained a new record of fishing cat near the Gal Oya National Park – outside its known (mapped) range in Sri Lanka.

We are proud to support Ashwin and the FCC. With $0.25 from each general admission ticket sold earmarked for donation to our general conservation fund, our visitors make supporting these efforts possible…so thank YOU!ARao_FC_TrackCasts_Apr2017_FCC (1)

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Conservation Partner Spotlight: Piedmont Land Conservancy

The Greensboro Science Center’s conservation mission is to preserve species and habitats through on-site programs, community awareness, field studies and fundraising for local and global conservation efforts. Today, we wanted to put the spotlight on one of our local partners in conservation, The Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC). Every year, we are fortunate to be able to donate at least $1,000 to PLC, a contribution made possible by on-site conservation events as well the donations made by our very own visitors (thank YOU!).

The Piedmont Land Conservancy aims to permanently protect important lands in order to conserve our region’s rivers and streams, natural and scenic areas, wildlife habitats and farmlands. The organization has been active in our community since 1989, the year they first came together to discuss how to preserve the Piedmont’s most precious natural assets forever.

If you’d like to learn about some of their recent activities, check out LANDLINES. From protecting Randolph County’s highest point at Mount Shepherd to working with the Alamance County Voluntary Agricultural District Board to protect a farm established back in in the 1850s, this group has proven to be action-oriented and effective, and we’re honored to lend them our support.

Visit our Conservation webpage to learn more about the Greensboro Science Center’s ongoing conservation projects and partnerships.

How Your Small Change Has Made a Big Difference

Each time someone visits the Greensboro Science Center (GSC), they’re supporting wildlife conservation! Twenty-five cents of each general admission ticket is dedicated to conservation efforts. Upon purchasing tickets, guests receive a token that allows them to direct their donation towards one of the three conservation projects represented on our Coins for Conservation machine. The GSC’s Conservation, Sustainable Practices and Research Committees come together to select the organizations and species represented. Over a six-month period, guests have the opportunity to use their tokens to select the organization they would like their $0.25 to support. After that time, three new organizations are selected for representation.

We’re excited to announce we have completed our first six months of the Coins for Conservation program. The following funds were raised in support of species conservation:

Oceana
Funds Raised: $10,000

oceanaEstablished in 2001, Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused on ocean conservation. Oceana seeks to find practical solutions to restore our world’s oceans. While not focused on one species, the organization influences decisions to address many ocean issues, including over-fishing and shark finning.

Komodo Dragon Species Survival Plan: Conservation Fund
Funds Raised: $7,000

komodoEstablished in 2007, the Komodo survival plan exists to research and monitor populations of Komodo dragons in the wild in order to conserve the species and its habitat. The organization educates locals about Komodo dragons as well as trains Indonesian conservationists to assist with population management and habitat conservation.

North Carolina Coastal Land Trust
Funds Raised: $6,000

ncEstablished in 1992, the NC Coastal Land Trust conserves natural areas to enrich the coastal community as well as educates visitors about land stewardship. One such natural area is the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, which was formed through a partnership with the City of Wilmington. The park is open to the public; visitors can learn about carnivorous plants, including the Venus Flytrap. The Trust has a dedicated Venus Flytrap fund whose purpose is to sustain and manage this rare plant.

To learn about the three projects currently being represented, visit the Coins for Conservation webpage.

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!