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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GSC Gift Guide: Memberships

Looking for the perfect gift idea that’s fun for the whole family? How about a full year of free Greensboro Science Center admission?!?! A GSC membership offers just that – and much more.

2016-greensboro-science-center-gift-guide-membership

For as little as $32.40 per person (including tax), a membership truly is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will it give your loved ones a full year of exciting, memorable, and educational visits to the GSC, they’ll also receive lots of discounts — including discounted admission for their guests, discounted OmniSphere Theater and SKYWILD tickets, discounts in the gift shop and cafe, and discounts on birthday parties, classes and camps!

Members will enjoy exclusive invitations and previews of new exhibits and OmniSphere shows. They’ll also receive information about how to get involved in citizen science programs, be the first to learn about upcoming GSC projects, and get exclusive peeks at what happens behind the scenes of the GSC in our member-only e-newsletters.

If your loved ones enjoy traveling, the savings will go even further! GSC members receive free or discounted admission to over 300 Association of Science-Technology Centers and over 150 Association of Zoos and Aquarium facilities, giving your loved ones the chance to explore amazing science centers, zoos and aquariums all around the country (and world!) for a fraction of the cost.

Click here to see the complete list of member benefits and to purchase a gift membership online.

If you’re a boss looking for a great gift for your employees (or an employee looking to encourage your boss to give you an awesome, experiential gift!), you’ll want to check out our Business Membership program.

Business memberships include GSC membership cards in the company’s name for employees to use. During their visit, employees using the business membership will also receive discounts in the gift shop and cafe. It’s a great way to show your employees your appreciation while supporting science education!

Click here to view business membership levels and to download a business membership order form.

Whether you’re looking for a gift for a family or for your employees, the GSC has a membership program that’s right for you!

Volunteer Spotlight: Evan E.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Meet Evan E. Evan has been volunteering with us for about three years now:

Evan E Picture

I started volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center in 2013 as a junior curator, and transitioned into the Docent Program the next year. During my first year as a docent, I worked in the Aquarium, Zoo, and Herp Lab until I decided to primarily stay with the Zoo as my main location.

I was introduced to the volunteer program by a neighbor, and my passion for animal life motivated me to join. I have been coming to GSC my whole life, and it is a thrill to be a part of the community that continues to educate more of the public as it grows.

A specific memory I have from the science center is from the herp lab. A little girl walked in with her family, and she wanted to pet the cornsnake, Cornflake. After I let her pet Cornflake, she proceeded to ask if she could take all of the animals back to her home as pets. I laughed and told her that she could go to a pet shop if she wanted to get some animals. Moments with the public like this make volunteering a rewarding experience, and I look forward to many more memories in the future.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Michaela T.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Meet Michaela T. Michaela says volunteering at the GSC combines the things she loves most – talking to people and being around animals!

Michaela T.

I have been a volunteer at the Science Center since the summer of 2015. I started out as an Animal Ambassador and loved it, so I then became a Zoo Docent in the fall of 2015. Ever since I was a kid, I was in love with the Science Center. I remember coming with my school group and crowding around the old Touch Tank with my other classmates and visiting the Herp Lab to look at the snakes, turtles and lizards.  I thought it would be the best to volunteer here and was so thrilled when I was accepted last spring.  This has been a great experience since I hope to one day work as a zookeeper. It also allows me to be around all the animals that my mom won’t let me keep at home!

My favorite stations in the Zoo rotation are the Discovery House and the Herp Lab.  I love to tell visitors about our incredible animals and to show them how special they are.  Most people that are fearful of animals like snakes are excited to have the opportunity to touch a snake and see how gentle they really are.

Volunteering at the Science Center combines the things that I love the most—talking to people, especially children, and being around animals.  Once, when I was working at Friendly Farm, a woman in a wheelchair came up with her husband and sat looking into the farm. I remember the huge smile she wore after I asked if she wanted to come inside.  I helped her through the gate and she sat in her chair and laughed as the goats and the children played around her.  I was just so happy she could enjoy the farm with everyone else.

Volunteer Spotlight: Christine S.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Christine S. Christine has been volunteering for about two and a half years.  She volunteers once a week as a zoo docent and sometimes for special events.

Christine says, “I have been volunteering through my church as a faith formation teacher, in a grief support ministry and also for the Greensboro Youth Choir and I wanted to broaden where I volunteer.  I have always loved the GSC and started coming as a visitor before I even lived here, over 20 years ago.  I love all it has to offer to the public and have been impressed with the many positive changes, and knew I would be honored to be a part of this.”

Christine S

Christine says it doesn’t matter how many times you visit the GSC… each time is completely different and that is what makes volunteering so much fun.  “There is always someone that will make you smile, a child or an adult that says something funny about the animals.  The animals themselves can be funny and always are amazing to watch, and can also can make me smile or laugh.  It is so rewarding to be a part of that.”

“I also love when I can share something about the animals at the Science Center that someone didn’t know. Sometimes I’ll have an adult or teacher in a group come back to tell me that one of the children shared information they heard from me.  That is what we hope for, that information will be passed along.  That I can be a small part of that definitely makes volunteering fun and rewarding.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Jake A.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Jake A:

Jake A

I started with the Greensboro Science Center in 2013 and have served in many different areas. During the summer, I have been a Teacher’s Assistant and an Exhibit Guide. Currently, I volunteer as either a Zoo or Aquarium Docent.

 

I was introduced to volunteering through another volunteer, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who was interested in the program. There are countless opportunities and the community that is created with the other volunteers and staff members is such a rewarding experience. They all share a love of learning and nature.

 

Every shift, I get to meet new people while sharing cool facts about the animals and the exhibits. The volunteer community is so welcoming and tight-knit, it is a pleasure to simply be part of it. The Volunteer Department seeks to share with visitors the awesomeness of nature. By interacting with other volunteers and being part of the program as a whole, this has a positive impact on visitors and myself alike.

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