Museum Named National Medal for Museum and Library Service Finalist

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The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in recognition of exceptional service to the community and for making a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. We are honored to share that the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science has been named as a finalist for the 2015 National Medal award.

This year’s finalists include individual public libraries, special and research libraries, a zoo, science museums, botanical gardens, and many other types of institutions that exemplify the great diversity of libraries and museums across the country.

This honor recognizes the contributions of our programs such as Upward Bound and Science Stars to South Florida. We are grateful for your support and are honored to be recognized as a 2015 finalist.

“Museums and libraries are the lifeblood of our communities, serving as trusted providers of critical resources, educational training, skills development, and civic and cultural enrichment,” said Maura Marx, acting director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We salute the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science for exemplary leadership in promoting lifelong learning while engaging and inspiring the public.”

The National Medal winners will be named later this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C., to be honored at the National Medal award ceremony. Winning institutions also receive a visit from StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.

In acknowledgement of the National Medal’s celebration of institutions that are committed to community service, IMLS will feature the finalists on social media platforms and provide an opportunity for you to Share Your Story on the IMLS Facebook page.

Visit the IMLS Facebook page and Share Your Story today!

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Museum Receives In-Kind Donation from Earth Friendly Products

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In support of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and its many educational and innovative programs, Earth Friendly Products has presented the Museum’s current Coconut Grove location with environmentally safe cleaning products. The products include cleaners, paper towels, bathroom tissue, furniture polish, carpet shampoo and more. In addition, Earth Friendly Products will have a presence at many of the Museum’s signature annual events, including the upcoming Innovation and Engineering Weekend (Feb.19–22).

“We are thrilled to partner with the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and their goal to provide an informal learning environment that facilitates learning opportunities for the community and families of Miami,” says Dr. Nadereh Afsharmanesh, vice president of Sustainability and Education at Earth Friendly Products. “Enriching the learning experiences that the Museum provides children will support their learning and development and lay the foundation for their future success.”

The partnership with Earth Friendly Products reflects the Museum’s mission of forward-thinking and finding solutions to improve its role in the environment and community.

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Out & About with Frost Science: Camping Under the Stars

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At the end of January, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science was “out and about” in the City of Doral at their “Camping Under the Stars” event!  The City of Doral is located in north-central Miami-Dade County in District 12 represented by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz.

Frozen Science—Keeping Miami Cool!

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On Friday, January 30, the Museum peered into the cosmos with educational presentations and activities that engaged all visitors in attendance at the “Camping Under the Stars” evening event.  With our public programs personnel, kids of all ages learned how to “cook-a-comet” utilizing the powers of dry ice (at –100 degrees!) along with other unique ingredients.  Then, our team’s use of liquid nitrogen froze guests in their tracks as we shattered, strengthened, and popped all sorts of daily items using its uniquely cold powers!  And that was only the beginning…

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A View to the Future

Next year our new facility will be opening in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. Until then, we have many exciting opportunities for our community members to become a part of its development.  New museum prototyping by our exhibits team was explored with children and their families, asking questions like, “if you could go on a one-way mission to space, would you?” inspiring some insightful results along the way!  Then, with our digital fly-through, everyone saw into the future of what the Museum will be presenting coming soon in 2016.

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From Earth to Sky!

Lastly, our planetarium associates brought two high-powered telescopes to the event, providing guided explorations to the greatest depths of our solar system.  Visitors learned about the chemistry of stars, the physics between planets and moons, and even about how early explorers from different cultures created constellations to navigate our planet!  With this interdisciplinary approach to education, regardless of one’s personal interests in science, there was something truly for everyone.

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Thank you to the City of Doral and event specialists Jessica Roth and Stephanie Bortz for inviting us to bring these astronomical experiences to their “Camping Under the Stars” event.

Up next?  Join the Museum as we’re “out and about” with the Coral Gables Museum on Saturday, February 14.  There, we’ll be peering into Miami’s future as we help guests engineer bridges and water crafts that help build Miami as a “City of the Future” – see you there!

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NASA Innovative Advance Concepts Symposium – With an Appearance by Buzz Aldrin!

There are star sightings, and then there are STAR sightings…

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Do you recognize the hero in the blue shirt?

I recently attended a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium in Cocoa Beach, near Kennedy Space Center, where I met one of only 12 people in the history of Earth to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin!

The goal of NIAC is to nurture visionary ideas of innovators and entrepreneurs. It accepts proposals for support for ideas that are technically credible, but just beyond our current reality. Some may even laugh at these ideas initially – but when these ideas have a chance to be developed, those who laughed all of a sudden just may see a whole new step in science and technology being taken. This Symposium was an incredible chance for NIAC Fellows to present and share their research. What would you have said to these ideas?

Flying and maneuvering spacecraft using photonic laser thrust instead of propellant…
Using tethers to capture and “de-spin” asteroids…
Deploying a submarine into the methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan…

Buzz Aldrin, as well as many other esteemed researchers in the room, discussed, questioned, and applauded these and many more ideas, and on a break in the symposium schedule, incredibly, I was able to have a brief conversation with Buzz. Among other things, he talked about his ShareSpace Foundation, his thoughts on the next space missions (human versus robotic) to the Moon and Mars, and even his old friend – our very own former Museum Planetarium Director and star of the StarGazer show, Jack Horkheimer. And I, of course, told Buzz that I want to be an astronaut someday too. Remember, if there’s something to learn from NIAC, it’s to be open to seemingly crazy ideas, because they just might turn into reality.

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I’m standing in front of the real thing in Kennedy Space Center’s stunning Atlantis exhibit. How many seemingly “crazy” ideas went into making possible everything that Atlantis accomplished?

- Lindsay Bartholomew, Science Curator

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Out & About with Frost Science: Anne Kolb Nature Center

Visitors make flowers to learn about plant structures.

Visitors make flowers to learn about plant structures.

Last weekend, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science ventured north to Broward County’s Anne Kolb Nature Center with our “Science Treehouse” family day event.

Anne Kolb Nature Center comprises a 1,500 acre coastal mangrove/wetland ecosystem in the heart of suburbia, surrounded by the Cities of Dania Beach and Hollywood. In addition to three different types of mangrove species, the park also hosts a variety of threatened and endangered animals. Guests from around the world learn about these plants and animals through a series of indoor exhibits, touch tanks, boat rides, canoe trips, and wildlife treks.

Finished flower created by a visitor.

Finished flower created by a visitor.

On Saturday, January 17, Frost Science celebrated wildlife and wild places by providing hands-on activities for local South Florida residents at the nature center. We created paper flowers that taught guests about the different parts which make up plants (i.e. the roots which carry water, the leaves that gather sunlight, etc.).  Each visitor then planted take-home garden seeds with individual soil-filled cups, learning about all the environmental factors crucial to botany-based survival. It was truly inspiring to see patrons get so excited about local ecology; many taught us some new techniques as well!

Garden cups filled with soil ready to be planted.

Garden cups filled with soil ready to be planted.

In addition to the above activities, the museum’s Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MuVE) program also joined our efforts. Anne Kolb Nature Center’s mangrove ecosystems provided the perfect foundation for MuVe to share their work with various mangrove restoration projects throughout Miami-Dade County, including their most recent successful efforts on Virginia Key. MuVE provided an interactive game that focused on wildlife ecology as well as the opportunity to place mangrove seedlings in their latest Reclamation Project eco-art installation at Anne Kolb Nature Center.

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Thank you to Park Naturalists Joanne Howe and Dustin Gerber for co-coordinating this fantastic opportunity with Frost Science to bridge in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts across the entire South Florida region.  If you would like to learn more about Anne Kolb Nature Center and how you can volunteer to help the planet, please click here.

Next up? From coastal ecosystems and on to the cosmos, come visit Frost Science with the City of Doral at our “Camping Under the Stars” event on January 30.  See you there!

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A Cuban Research Expedition Begins

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As told by Fernando BretosCurator of Ecology and Field Conservation at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science:

Was this my 80th trip to Cuba? Or my 90th? Tough to tell after so many visits to this island located only 200 miles away from my office at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. As a marine biologist, I have worked for 16 years to study marine and coastal resources shard between Florida and Cuba. The Gulf Stream is a fast moving oceanic current that delivers eight billion gallons of water per second from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, up past Florida on its way to the North Atlantic. Because of this ocean highway, marine organisms such as fish and lobster larvae, coral spawn, and migratory species such as sea turtles, can hitch a free ride from places downstream such as Cuba where healthy, diverse reefs, mangroves and seagrasses abound.

Specifically, I study coral reefs and how their health is affected by human activity. I also study a population of green sea turtles that nest off the western tip of Cuba. Working in Cuba is professional but also personal. My parents left Cuba as Peter Pan migrants in 1961, settling in Miami after their adolescent years were essentially lost. By working in Cuba, I serve as the connection between my family here and there. Of course, Cuba’s stunningly beautiful coasts bring me back every time.

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My two-day trip to Havana in early January was a busy one.  I met with my colleagues at the Center for Marine Research of the University of Havana to plan a coral reef research expedition to Jardines de la Reina, the largest marine protected area in the Caribbean. Jardines de la Reina, or Gardens of the Queen, was named so by Christopher Columbus and looks the same today as it did 500 years ago. Forty miles from land and closed to commercial fishing, it remains an underwater wilderness. I was also delivering a special instrument for my research, a drill with a two-foot long cylinder to take coral samples from Cuban reefs to determine their health over time. Next month I will join other coral scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to study Cuba’s reefs and see how well they compare to reefs in Florida.

What a time to be in Havana! Only two weeks earlier, the Obama administration had announced steps to normalize relations with the island after over 50 years of the economic embargo. Other US presidents had taken similar steps before, yet every time I spoke to Cubans on the island these openings were met with cynicism. But this time was different. Cubans from all stripes were generally excited to see that our two countries were taking steps to talk to each other. It is my hope that by expanding dialogue with Cuban marine scientists and policymakers we can learn lessons from each other and create policies that protect turtles, reefs and fish on both sides of the Florida Straits.

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Please follow Fernando starting in February as he composes an online journal of this historic research expedition. 

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Frost Science Receives Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation Grant

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science today received a philanthropic grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation as part of a $4.5 million Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation program supporting technology advancements for a clean energy future.

“We are excited to be a recipient of this highly competitive Wells Fargo environmental grant program,” said Gillian Thomas, Frost Science President and CEO. “We truly appreciate being recognized and will use this grant to provide funding for advancing clean technology and STEM outreach initiatives.”

Frost Science was named as a recipient of a Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant. The grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits, colleges and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and is strategically aligned with the company’s vision and values to foster economic development, especially in underserved communities, to accelerate the global “green” economy. The goal of the program is to inspire innovation from entrepreneurs and fund research entities working on critical environmental issues.

On October 28, 2014, Wells Fargo also launched the Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, a $10 million environmental grant for clean technology startups funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to foster the development of early stage clean technologies for commercial buildings.

“Wells Fargo recognizes that the health of our environment is critical to fostering more sustainable communities today and for years to come,” said Ashley Grosh, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Clean Technology program. “We’re pleased to announce the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science as a recipient of Wells Fargo’s environmental grant program to help provide long-term solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.”

The full list of 2014 grant recipients can be found at blog.wellsfargo.com/environment/. Details of the program and a link to the 2015 application can be found at wellsfargo.com/about/csr/ea/environmental-giving.

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New Wildlife Center Exhibits: Green Garden & Burrowing Owls

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The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science recently unveiled two new, exciting exhibits in our outdoor Batchelor Wildlife Center.

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The new energy playground garden is a small sneak peek of some of the possible vegetation that will be in the new museum. In the far east corner we have dwarf papayas and pineapples. We’ve relocated our mangroves here to acclimate them for more hours under the sun; these mangroves will then be planted in the new museum. We have a butterfly garden with brightly colored nectar plants to attract our native butterflies. There is also a variety of wild coffee, lantanas, milkweed, dill, parsley, golden shrimp, necklace pod, beautyberry, firebush, thryallis, passion fruit and wild lime. In our main area we are experimenting with green grids in which the plants are growing in; there’s an assortment of aromatic and beach native plants such as lemon balm, mint, cinnamon basil, blanket flowers, sea purslane, dune sunflower and sand cordgrass. The green wall has granadilla and passion fruit vines that will creep up our trellis and cover the wall with luscious green leaves. Our wheelchair accessible beds makes edible gardening fun with a few lettuces, swiss chard and tomatoes. Above the bench hangs the living wall planters with an abundance of succulents, bromeliads, ferns and other color annuals and perennials.

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The other new exhibit in the Batchelor Wildlife Center features our four resident Burrowing Owls along with native plants. True to their name, these guys live in burrows underground and mainly feed on insects, amphibians, and small mammals. In order to recreate a realistic home for the little owls, we have an underground burrow and partially covered wooden hutch to mimic the natural home of the Burrowing Owl and give guests an opportunity to see the owls interacting with a burrow-like structure that is slightly above ground. Native plants in and around the exhibit include coonti, saw palmetto and wild coffee which we hope will attract some of Florida’s native butterfly species such as the beautiful Atala butterfly.

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“South Florida Birds and Gardens” Photography Exhibit Now on Display

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Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is proud to host “South Florida Birds and Gardens,” an exhibit of images from photographer, author and conservation biologist Kirsten Hines. The photographs are taken from her two books, Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens and Birds of Fairchild. The exhibit is sponsored by Audubon Florida, which hopes to bring new light to bird conservation in South Florida.

The 27 images will be on display in the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science’s Space Gallery Jan. 12 – Feb. 15.

Filled with brilliant photographs and gardening insight uniquely applicable to South Florida, Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens fills a conspicuous void in the literature on two of America’s most popular activities, gardening and birding. Acclaimed ornithologist and author James A. Kushlan and photographer Kirsten Hines draw on their years of experience to provide practical, ecologically sound advice for creating landscapes that will benefit bird conservation and contribute to the re-greening of South Florida.

Birds of Fairchild celebrates the birds and bird-friendly plants of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Kirsten Hines has captured beautifully the birds of Fairchild, bringing to life the wildlife that everyone can see in their own backyard. This exciting new book takes the reader on a journey through the garden, its birds, its plants, their interactions and their conservation seeking to inspire the birder, gardener and others who care about the South Florida environment.

Anticipation

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Frost Science in ASTC Dimensions

Lindsay J. Bartholomew, science curator at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, was recently published in the November/December “Reconstructing STEM in Our Schools” issue of Dimensions, the bimonthly magazine of the The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).

Read the article to learn more about her expedition to the Arctic!

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ASTC Dimensions - Lindsay Article 11

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