It’s a Small World

image

Last week, ten thousand miles from New York, students learned about microorganisms from one of our educators. Anthony Negron, manager of our Virtual Visit program, employed videoconferencing technologies to connect with St. Kevin’s Primary School in Sydney, Australia. Using microscopes, NYSCI exhibits, and a live feed of various microorganisms, the students learned where the tiny creatures are found, and how to classify them. The program helped to launch a new technology room at the Australian school and was attended by students, parents and educators.

Brett Salakas of St. Kevin’s Primary School and coordinator of the event called the program a “wonderful experience” that “greatly enhanced our science unit on microorganisms. The well-balanced program gave the students an insight in the topic which we could not provide here in a regular classroom.”

Cultural After School Adventures

image

Last weekend, elementary students from P.S. 139 in Rego Park, Queens brought their families to visit us as part of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs CASA – Cultural After School Adventures program. Prior to the visit, NYSCI staff traveled to P.S. 139 to provide a series of three after-school science workshops, where they taught the students about convex and concave lenses, the properties of light, and how electricity is produced. Last weekend’s visit reinforced some of what the kids learned during the after-school workshops, while also exposing them to other science topics as they explored our exhibits. Thanks to the grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, now in its third year, we’ve been able to offer the CASA program to three Queens schools this year. Tomorrow, I.S. 72 will visit us to cap off their cultural after-school adventure!

Future Museum Educators

image

Last Saturday, 30 high school students turned into museum educators, helping our visitors understand microbiology, camouflage, skull anatomy, genetic diversity, matter, cellular structure and UV radiation. They provided info, instructions and encouragement to approximately 200 visitors who were trying out various hands-on activities.

The program is part of a partnership between NYSCI and ExpandEd, which is designed to provide high school students with experiences beyond traditional school classrooms. Throughout the Spring, the students participated in a 10-week program at NYSCI where they learned about the scientific method, astronomy, genetics, ecology, evolution, microbiology and other science topics. Saturday’s hands-on activities represented the conclusion of the 10-week program. But you may interact with some of them at our exhibits this summer: Twelve of the students will continue on with summer internships at NYSCI as Junior Explainers.

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.
Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.
Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.
Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.

Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.

Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.

Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

(Source: media.wholefoodsmarket.com)

Voices from the Past

image

As New York City gets ready to implement its ban on big sodas, the issue of obesity once again takes center stage.

We’ve heard from nutrition experts, soda corporations, consumer agencies, politicians and Joe Schmo about whether we should have a tax and if it will do any good. But why do we crave all these bad-for-you foods in the first place?

Turns out it’s partly evolution’s fault. Our prehistoric, hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have regular access to high-energy foods, so when it was available, they gorged on it. Think ice-cream-binge-after-being-dumped kind of gorging. Only instead of ice cream, they feasted on animals they were able to hunt, and fruit and nuts that were in season. Those high calorie binges helped fuel their big brains. But today, we have access to far more sugar and fat than our bodies need, which can lead to overindulgence and obesity.

This link between how our species evolved and the foods we crave today is explored in our new exhibition, The Evolution – Health Connection, which is open through June. Along with obesity, The Evolution – Health Connection also looks at the evolutionary reasons behind some other very human problems: painful childbirths, sunburns, lactose intolerance and back problems.

So the next time that little voice in your head says that you need a soda and fries, resist! Stand firm! Distract yourself! Because after all, it’s just your ancestors talking.

Need a reason to give to NYSCI this year? Here’s a 1 minute reminder.

Donate now!

Beyond rooftop gardens: Farmers Market 2.0 @ NYSCI

Learn about the ideas and methods for urban growing and food preparation at this conceptual winter farmers’ market, December 1, 2012; noon – 4 pm. Traditional market stalls will be filled with hands-on activities, artist projects, demonstrations, and of course, food! Free with NYSCI admission.

Staged presentations:

Demos and stalls by:

  • Butter-making with Little Makers
  • Hydroponic farming systems with Boswyck Farms
  • Solar panels with Biomodd’s Tamara Sabler and Zach Smart
  • Spice bundles, seed bombs and seed masks with NYSCI Explainers 

This community-based food event focuses on the cultural and sustainable elements of food and food production that pertain to ecology. The event complements NYSCI’s ReGeneration exhibition.

LED Grow Lights like the ones we’re making today at NYSCI

LED Grow Lights like the ones we’re making today at NYSCI

Next at NYSCI: ReGeneration

New York Hall of Science Presents ReGeneration, Opening October 27

Ten artists present their interpretations of cultural sustainability

Queens, N.Y.ReGeneration, a new exhibition exploring the relationship between sustainability and cultural vitality, opens October 27 at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). The exhibition includes interactive works by 10 artists that inspire visitors to think about the notion of cultural sustainability through collaborative engagement and futuristic visions built upon the history and traditions of New York’s diverse neighborhoods. The exhibition runs through January 13, 2013.

 

Despite the near ubiquity of the term “sustainability,” there remains significant ambiguity about everything from the actual meaning of the term to overarching solutions to the challenges we face as a community. Technology and behavioral changes including energy production, agriculture, recycling and pollution reduction are all on the table as we work to understand and address the challenge of sustainability.

View the exhibition site here.

ReGeneration is an exhibition about the future,” says NYSCI president and CEO, Margaret Honey. “We challenged the artists to take inspiration from science and imagine a future where we live sustainably, not just in the foods we eat or the materials we use, but in our fundamental approach to how we view our communities and the interdependence between people and our environment.”

Read More

A mere glimpse at day one of World Maker Faire 2012.

Photos: Andrew Kelly