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 

Gift Idea: Inside Tracks

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone in your life, consider giving him or her an experience instead of a “thing” this holiday season! With three awesome behind-the-scenes experiences to choose from, Greensboro Science Center Inside Tracks programs make a great gift for any animal lover in your life!

Inside Tracks: Penguin Encountersshutterstock_257823214

Looking for a memorable experience sure to make the penguin fan in your life smile? How about an engaging experience where they will actually be within wings-width of our penguins? Inside Tracks: Penguin Encounters are the perfect gift for anyone six years old or older!

Give the gift of discovery and let your animal lover come nose to beak with one of our engaging African penguins! Participants get to go behind the scenes, talk with our experts and watch and take photos as a couple of our penguins investigate the encounter room and enrichment items. Each penguin personality is different, just like each encounter!

This “Inside Track” offers penguin lovers the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our favorite feathered friends. This unique experience starts in the food prep area to see what’s on the menu for our whole colony; you also pick out an enrichment item for the birds that the participants will meet. Then the group will catch up with our keeper and watch a few minutes of our afternoon feeding before stepping behind the scenes to learn more about penguins in our encounter room. As the keeper wraps up the afternoon feed, he or she will join participants to interact with our penguin.

The birds that work with us in the encounters are generally well-behaved around people, but everyone has an off day. Touching the penguin is likely, but not guaranteed. Make sure the recipient of this special gift doesn’t forget the camera! This photo opp may be worthy of next year’s holiday card!

Penguin Encounters can accommodate 8 participants and cost $45 per person in addition to general admission or membership.

Inside Tracks: Aquarium Adventure

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Do you have a fish lover or aquarium enthusiast in your life? Give them an Aquarium Adventure gift certificate and show them what lies behind the scenes of an amazing aquarium! This gift is perfect for anyone eight years old and older.

The recipient of this one-of-a-kind gift will get to go behind the scenes of our aquarium, visit our animal holding areas and learn how we care for our animals and exhibits! Participants will get to see what’s on the menu for our aquarium animals, check out our maze of pumps and filters, and visit the top of the shark tank. Plus, as we await the opening of our aquarium expansion, participants will be among the first to see some of the awesome animals we’re caring for behind the scenes for these amazing exhibits!

Each Aquarium Adventure can accommodate up to 12 people, and costs $15 per person in addition to general admission or membership..

Inside Tracks: Zoo Trekzoo-trek-dsc_7446

Does the special someone in your life prefer learning about our zoo animals over our aquarium animals? Purchase him or her an Inside Track: Zoo Trek experience that will give him or her the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities and learn from zookeepers in an exclusive, behind the scenes setting!

Being an outdoor experience, Inside Tracks: Zoo Trek is only offered March – November, so the excited anticipation of what’s to come will last at least a few months! Activities on a Zoo Trek may include a face-to-face red panda encounter, sprinkling or feeding our giant Aldabra tortoises, giving our tiger or lemurs a treat, or other wonderful – and memorable – experiences! This is an active walking experience, so be sure your gift recipient is up for a bit of activity!

Zoo Trek participants will start in the food prep area to see what’s on the menu for our whole zoo and also pick up some enrichment treats to share with the animals. Then they will walk to four different animal exhibits, where they will meet a keeper and step behind the scenes. Participants will have the opportunity to  learn more about individual animals who live here and about important conservation issues surrounding their species in the wild.

Don’t forget to bring a camera or cell phone for pictures – this is another experience that just might make it on next year’s holiday card!

Zoo Trek can accommodate up to 8 individuals and costs $50 per person in addition to general admission or membership.

How To Purchase

Gift certificates for each Inside Track may be purchased online. You can either email the certificate to the recipient or download a gift certificate to give in person. If the recipient is not a member, general admission can be purchased online as well to accompany the gift.

These experiences are not set up for a party, but small groups can celebrate special occasions (like having the family together for the holidays!). All participants under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult, with a maximum of 2 children under 16 per paying adult, making this experience perfect for the whole family!

Buy the animal enthusiast in your life the experience of a lifetime with one of our Inside Tracks experiences. It is sure to bring a smile – and plethora of memories – for years to come!

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!

Catch ‘Em All at PokeMonday Event on August 1!

In recent weeks, we’ve noticed a disturbing increase of usual activity on our grounds. It appears that the Greensboro Science Center is home to nine PokeStops and one gym, which has been attracting the attention of all kinds of Pokemon. These pesky Pokemon have been disrupting our staff, annoying our animals, and causing quite the commotion with our visitors.

Now, we understand that Pokemon are a natural part of our world and we certainly don’t mind welcoming the well-behaved ones. For example, Pidgeotto has tested our forward flight simulator and Staryu has been adding to the scenery in SciPlay. We are perfectly accepting of these polite Pokemon.

Pokemon Go - Pidgeotto and Staryu

However, we’ve seen a lot of inappropriate behavior that we feel must be stopped immediately. Meowth was spotted meddling with power tools during the construction of our new Destination: Dinosaur! exhibit. Pinsir has been perturbing our pandas, Beedrill has been buzzing around our gibbons, and Gloom has been drooling all over our floors!

Pokemon Go - Meowth Pincer Beedrill Gloom

We’ve decided that our best course of action is to request the help of Pokemon GO fans to help us catch ‘em all. On Monday, August 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., we’ll be hosting a special #PokeMonday event, during which time we will be placing lures at many of our PokeStops. We invite you to join us, place some lures of your own, and help us catch these vexatious virtual vermin so we can regain control of the GSC.

(Also, please challenge our gym. Some of our staff have been battling for bragging rights. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take over so they’ll get back to work…)