Greensboro Science Center Celebrates the North Carolina Science Festival

The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is proud to participate in the North Carolina Science Festival throughout the month of April by hosting seven on-site events designed to inspire scientific curiosity. The North Carolina Science Festival is a month-long celebration of science that brings hundreds of events focused on fun, interactive science learning opportunities to communities throughout North Carolina.

Official events hosted by the GSC are as follows:

Tuesday, April 9
Science Trivia: Brewing Up Science
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
To honor both the North Carolina Science Festival and North Carolina Beer Month, April’s trivia night will highlight the science behind brewing. This event is free to attend.

Friday, April 12
Brews & Bubbles
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Guests of this annual conservation fundraiser will sample science – and beer – while learning about the GSC’s conservation efforts. This event is limited to guests ages 21+. Tickets are $40 for GSC members and $45 for non-members. Tickets are available online at greensboroscience.org/conservation/brews-and-bubbles/.

Saturday, April 13
Turtle Dog Day
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Specially trained dogs will be tracking box turtles for GSC staff members to tag and release. Research collected about these animals will be submitted to the Box Turtle Connection. This event is free to attend.

Saturday, April 13
North Carolina Star Party
8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The GSC and Greensboro Astronomy Club invite the public to see what’s up in the night sky! Telescopes will be provided, but guests are welcome to bring their own. This event takes place rain or shine and is free to attend.

Saturday, April 20
Science Extravaganza!
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
GSC guests will be invited to sample multiple branches of science by experiencing robots in action, nano stations, outdoor fun, must-see shows, and more. Activities are included with general admission or membership.

Saturday, April 27
Tuxedo Trot 5K and Kids’ Fun Run
8:00 a.m. (5K), 9:00 a.m. (Fun Run)
Participants will run, walk or waddle to the finish line to help save endangered African penguins. Race registration is required and is available online at www.tuxedotrot.com.

Saturday, April 27
World Penguin Day
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Guests are invited to celebrate African penguins and discover how they can help this species in need. Activities are included with general admission or membership.

Martha Regester, the GSC’s VP of Education, says, “We love science every day, but the North Carolina Science Festival gives us a chance to highlight different areas of hands-on science, from astronomy to zoology. We hope that families will come out to join us throughout April to celebrate science and maybe find a new favorite area to explore!”

Brews & Bubbles: Beer Tasting for Conservation

The Greensboro Science Center is hosting Brews & Bubbles, its annual beer tasting fundraiser, on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at greensboroscience.org. Prices are $40 for GSC members and $45 for non-members, with 100% of proceeds supporting local and global conservation initiatives. Last year, the event raised $16,000 for conservation.

Each Brews & Bubbles ticket includes beer samples from participating North Carolina craft breweries, a souvenir tasting glass, hors d’oeuvres, and live music from Bev & Dave Gudeand a brand new act featuring Carri Smitheyand The Good Watts. Capacity is limited and the event tends to sell out, so GSC event planners recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

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Lindsey Zarecky, the GSC’s VP of Conservation & Research, says, “Money raised from Brews & Bubbles impacts conservation projects around the world. Funds were used for projects including establishing an assurance population of freshwater mussels here, sending a zookeeper to help with African penguin conservation, and increasing work on coral reef restorations.”

 

Pajama Jam Tickets On Sale Now

Pajama-Jam-Image-for-Solar-TreeTickets are now on sale for the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) annual family-friendly conservation fundraiser, Pajama Jam. The event will take place on Saturday, March 30, 2019. This after-hours pajama party designed for families with children ages 12 and younger features crafts, games, live music by Big Bang Boom, face painting, and refreshments courtesy of Chick-fil-A. Attendees are encouraged to wear family-friendly pajamas to the event.

Two ticket options are available for Pajama Jam:

Regular Ticket(includes event activities and light refreshments – nuggets, fruit and a cookie – from 6:00pm – 9:00pm)

GSC Member (ages 1+): $10

Non-Member (ages 1+): $12

Under Age 1: FREE

VIP Experience(includes seated dinner – sandwich, fruit and a cookie – with the Chick-fil-A cows from 5:30pm – 6:00pm, plus event activities and light refreshments from 6:00pm – 9:00pm)

GSC Member (ages 1+): $13

Non-Member (ages 1+): $15

Under Age 1: FREE

VIP Experience is limited to 100 guests.

Proceeds from Pajama Jam support the GSC’s conservation fund, which aim to preserve species and habitats through on-site programs, community awareness, field studies and fundraising for local and global conservation efforts.

Conservation Creation: Your Year at the GSC

We’ve learned a lot together over the course of this year. During our 2018 journey, we’ve created some amazing projects through the Conservation Creation program. If you’ve participated in the program at all, you may have noticed that the majority of projects have been crafted using everyday materials such as old pool noodles or bottle caps. Reusing materials in this way is called upcycling. Upcycling can be one of the most fun ways to reuse things around your home… provided that you’re willing to get a little creative. From small projects like turning an old shirt into a bag to large projects like creating furniture out of wooden pallets, upcycling is not just a way to save yourself some money – it helps the environment, too!

How does upcycling help the earth? When you turn an old shirt into a reusable bag, your upcycled product will save the materials that would otherwise be used to make a new bag, as well as cut down on the pollution emitted as that bag travels to your local store by truck or plane.

With the holidays approaching, why not take a look around your house to see what can be upcycled into something exciting for the new year? To get started, take a look at Pinterest or a similar website, where you’re sure to find project ideas and inspiration. If there’s anything you need for the project but don’t have it on hand, check nearby thrift stores (such as Reconsidered Goods) for local products at an affordable price. You can keep these places in mind, too, if you are looking to clean out your home and donate purged items that could be used by someone else.

Here’s a step-by-step DIY project to get you started:

If you’ve been to SciPlay Bay lately, you might’ve noticed some “new” food items in our Beach Room. These items were handmade by us, using leftover cardboard, craft felt and old pool noodles salvaged from our fort building area. We had so much fun making the tacos, we wanted to share the how-to with you!

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • A needle and thread
  • A marker
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue and a hot glue gun
  • Craft felt or leftover fabric
  • Something to wedge into the taco to keep it open (we used chunks of old pool noodle, but you can get creative)

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Step 1: Using cardboard, create a base for the food you want to make. (This is the one we created for our tacos.) Trace a slightly larger area than you need over a piece of felt – like we’ve done here – then, cut it out. This will create the inside of the taco.

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Step 2: Using a slice of a pool noodle (or material of your choice), glue the two sides of the taco together with your material in the middle to keep the taco open.

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Step 3: Cut out strips of the felt or fabric and glue them together with one line of glue down the middle. Cut fringe on both sides of each strip, then glue all of your toppings onto the inside of the taco.

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Step 4: Glue your inside piece of fabric to the inside of the cardboard, as we’ve done here. You should have a little bit of fabric sticking out over the sides.

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Step 5: Glue another piece of felt or fabric to the outside of the taco.

Step 6: Sew the two pieces of fabric together and cut off the excess. Use your finger to “mix the toppings” on the inside.

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Get creative. All of these foods were made using this method with varying cardboard templates. Show us what you’ve made by tagging your own Conservation Creations using #greensborosciencecenter and #conservationcreations. Happy holidays, and see you soon!

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The GSC’s Bat Project

October 27 and 28 is Bat Weekend here at the GSC, so we thought it a great time to catch up with the GSC’s VP of Conservation & Research, Lindsey Zarecky, to learn more about bats and how the GSC is working to conserve their populations right here in the Triad.

Lindsey shared with us that bats were her model organism for her master’s thesis back in her college days. Needless to say, she’s a huge fan and is very knowledgeable about these creatures. Today, her focus is on understanding and reducing the negative behaviors and activities that impact the bats’ ecosystems.

Before we get into the specifics, you’ll need to know a little more about how bats travel and find food.

The species of bats found in the Piedmont area are insectivorous and use echolocation for both navigation and hunting. They use ultrasonic (above our ability to hear) vocalizations to help them with locating objects; these sounds bounce off the object and send sound waves back to the vocalizing bat. Interestingly, different species of bats vocalize at different frequencies and at different intensities. These differences help scientists to distinguish between the varying species. Contrary to a somewhat popular belief, bats aren’t blind! Echolocation just happens to be much more efficient for them.

Our resident researchers always have something in the works. Often, these things may go totally undetected by both our guests and even other staff members! So, what’s the deal with the GSC’s Bat Project?

Here at the GSC, we use bat detectors to listen to bats’ ultrasonic vocalizations. Each detector consists of a recorder and a microphone; these detect sounds and record them onto an SD card. The sounds are uploaded to a computer using a special software program, then analyzed by our team. This involves slowing down the recordings and playing them back at a level that we, humans, can hear. Call types we hear include those honing in on prey, social vocalizations and clicking sounds to indicate a bat is simply maneuvering through its environment. As mentioned above, the recordings help us to distinguish the presences of particular bat species.

Lindsey Bat Detector_4730

Lindsey changes the batteries and swaps out the SD card in one of the GSC’s bat detectors.

We have three detectors in operation year-round. Our location is southern enough that bats don’t necessarily have to migrate further south in winter, nor hibernate in caves. Of course, the bats are most active during the hot, humid months of summer. Detectors are placed at varying heights as well as within varying levels of vegetation – one within, one below and one above the tree canopy.

We’re using the detectors to collect information, addressing specifically:

  1. What bat species are present at the GSC?
  2. What is species diversity like throughout the year? Do migratory species tend to stay or leave during winters?
  3. How do different species use the canopy? Do larger bats tend to spend time above or below the canopy while the smaller bats stay within it?

Thankfully, we’re not going it alone when it comes to bat conservation.

Beyond the GSC’s Bat Project, our staff also help with state-wide bat conservation efforts, specifically the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat). This program is an acoustic recording program that recurs each summer. With a bat detector attached to the top of their vehicles, staff drive along designated paths to record data along that particular transect during the nighttime. This helps to establish species distribution across our state.

We also assist the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) with their annual surveying. NCWRC has what are called “mist net sites” scattered throughout NC. At sundown, mist nets are set up and opened to receive bats. Bats fly in, and scientists record their information – including species, sex, age (adult or juvenile), and assesses it for presence or absence of white nose syndrome. Then, the bat is arm-banded and released.

White nose syndrome has been present in the United States since 2006 but wasn’t discovered here in NC until 2011. White nose is a fungal disease that thrives in moist, cool environments, where it grows on the muzzles, wings or fingers of hibernating bats. Hibernating bats enter a state of torpor in which metabolic activity dramatically slows, allowing them to survive the cold months without food or water. White nose is an irritant that wakes the bats during their hibernations, costing them critical calories during a time in which insects are scarce. White nose also causes imbalances in blood pH and potassium levels, which can inhibit heart function and lead to fatality (USGS, 2015). White nose is a serious concern, responsible for the deaths of more than one million bats.

Now that you’re armed with lots of information, what can YOU do to help bats?

#BatWeek-Endangered

Want more bats? Visit http://www.batweek.org

Join us for Bat Weekend! During National Bat Week, come out on October 27 and 28 to learn how you can be a bat hero. Many people don’t realize the huge positive impact bats make on our ecosystem and why it’s important we work to conserve them. We’ll show you how to build your own bat box, play games and more – for bats’ sake! Event activities are free with general admission or GSC membership.

 

Media Release: Shark Week Coasts into the Greensboro Science Center

GREENSBORO, NC — The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week from Monday, July 23 – Saturday, July 28 with crafts, education stations and games from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. daily. In addition to ongoing activities, including coloring pages, temporary tattoos and photos with Finny (the GSC’s shark mascot), each day of the week will be themed around a unique educational opportunity. Daily themes are as follows:

Shark WeekMonday, July 23
Munch, Munch Monday
Learn what sharks like to eat and how they snag their snacks!

Tuesday, July 24
Toothful Tuesday
Test your shark smarts with a round of “Myth or Tooth” trivia!

Wednesday, July 25
Wonders Wednesday
Explore sharks’ super powers – like their ability to detect electricity!

Thursday, July 26
Thoughtful Thursday
Discover the importance of shark conservation: Why do we need sharks, and how can we help them?

Friday, July 27
Freaky Friday
Learn about the strangest and most unusual sharks in the sea!

Saturday, July 28
Supreme Saturday
Find out which sharks are the biggest, fastest, oldest, and more!

The GSC’s aquarium is home to four species of shark: sandbar sharks, blacktip sharks, bamboo sharks, and blacknose sharks. Sharks have been selected by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) as a signature species for SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). SAFE focuses the collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to save signature species by increasing direct conservation spending as well as increasing work in the field and within zoos and aquariums, and through public engagement. Shark Week is one example of the GSC’s involvement in this vital conservation effort.

Shark Week activities are included with general admission to the Greensboro Science Center. General admission is $13.50 for adults ages 14 – 64, $12.50 for children ages 3 – 13, and $12.50 for seniors ages 65+. Children 2 and under and Greensboro Science Center Members are free.

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The Greensboro Science Center is a premier family attraction in North Carolina that offers the state’s first accredited inland aquarium, a hands-on science museum, an accredited Animal Discovery Zoological Park, a state-of-the-art OmniSphere Theater, and SKYWILD, an animal-inspired treetop adventure park. The GSC is also NC’s only dually accredited AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and AAM (American Alliance of Museums) science attraction – an honor only 14 attractions in the nation can claim. The Greensboro Science Center is located at 4301 Lawndale Drive in Greensboro and is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.greensboroscience.org.

Media Release: Brews & Bubbles Beer Tasting Conservation Fundraiser

GREENSBORO, NC – The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is hosting Brews & Bubbles, its annual beer tasting fundraiser, on Friday, April 20, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at greensboroscience.org. Prices are $40 for GSC members and $45 for non-members, with 100% of proceeds supporting local and global conservation initiatives.

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Last year, the event raised $12,000 for conservation and this year, GSC officials hope to raise $15,000.

Lindsey Zarecky, the GSC’s VP of Conservation & Research, says, “Funds raised last year supported conservation partners around the globe, helping to protect species including fishing cats, seahorses, Komodo dragons, sharks, monarch butterflies, lemurs, and penguins. Event proceeds also helped to support our local conservation partners, including the Piedmont Land Conservancy. We’re excited to provide a fun evening event that also raises money to help sustain some of the amazing work being done around the world!”

Each Brews & Bubbles ticket includes beer samples from participating North Carolina breweries, a souvenir tasting glass, hors d’oeuvres, and live music from Graymatter and duo Blind-Dog Gatewood & Abe Reid. Capacity is limited and the event tends to sell out, so GSC officials recommend purchasing tickets in advance.