Although Earth Day is officially set worldwide for Thursday, April 22, 2021, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is celebrating our planetary home throughout April with Celebration: Earth. All month long, Houston’s science museum is concentrating on our shared home with special nature- and conservation- themed exhibits, tours, and activities for everyone.
“Because nature is everywhere, free and, for most, readily accessible, people often take it for granted,” says Nicole Temple, VP of education for HMNS. “In April, HMNS is offering patrons ways to reconnect to nature after a stressful year. We want you to get out there and unearth your curiosity.”
Wednesdays in April we are offering virtual tours on conservation themes in our permanent exhibit halls, to spark curiosity about nature conservation and observation and suggest ways for patrons to engage with and change the world around them.
Our ever-popular Spring Plant Sale, gone virtual, is slated for Saturday, April 10. The annual sale has grown into a tradition for Houston plant lovers. The sale includes a variety of plants to beautify your own garden and create a hospitable venue for visiting pollinators. All proceeds go to the Cockrell Butterfly Center’s educational programming.
Once again, we are promoting the use of the iNaturalist smartphone application, which promotes citizen science and education, during the City Nature Challenge. This four-day, annual global ‘bioblitz’ at the end of April motivates people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities. The app saw a boom in activity during 2020 as more and more users went outside for recreation. This year’s City Nature Challenge is set for April 30 through May 3.
In 2020, iNaturalist users in the Houston/Galveston area came in first with the most species documented (3,359), across the country and even the world, proving that the Gulf Coast is a natural wonderland just waiting to be explored. In all, over 1,200 observers made nearly 28,000 observations during last year’s challenge in our area alone.
“Besides being the foundation for our economies and our very existence, nature has a profound effect on our mental and physical health,” adds Temple “Spending time outdoors can reduce stress, reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease anxiety and increase the quality of life.”
The museum will offer a free virtual training for the app and CNC event on April 6. Other virtual lectures and classes include a class on edible landscapes, a lecture on Houston’s urban heat islands, an Earth-themed trivia night, and an “adventure box” helping you explore national parks.
For the whole month of April, visitors to our Hermann Park campus will be able to gaze up at Gaia, an eye-popping installation by internationally-renowned artist Luke Jerram. Measuring 23 feet in diameter, Gaia features 120 dpi-detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. More detailed than your classroom world map ever was, the imagery conveys the fragile power of our home planet.
Activities will also be available at both HMNS satellite locations, with a bug life class in Brazos Bend State Park, home of the George Observatory, a pollinators class at the new Outdoor Learning Center at HMNS at Sugar Land, and more.
For more information on activities throughout the month of April at all HMNS locations, visit www.hmns.org/earthday.
HMNS is proud to spotlight our Celebration: Earth community and state partners and the conservation work they do year-round, including our neighbors at the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Memorial Park Conservancy, Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, the Houston Parks Board, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Bayou Land Conservancy, Houston Botanic Gardens, and the Galveston Bay Foundation. We are also honored to be partnered with the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance, the Christmas Bay Foundation, Urban Harvest and the Nature Conservancy.
This big blue marble we’re all rolling around on is the only one we have. It’s fragile, yet so very powerful. Unique in its form and function, it’s up to us to keep it clean. There is still so much to learn about Earth and it’s up to every single one of us to maintain it for future inhabitants. Even the smallest step forward, done together, can cause major change. No one is too young or even too old to make a difference.
Making a difference
“UnEarth Curiosity” at HMNS with a donation to the Annual Fund, which supports world-class exhibitions and captivating programming for the Houston community year round. Throughout the month of April, your gift provides support for special tours and educational programming as part of the Museum’s Celebration: Earth in honor of Earth Day on April 22. With your help, we can spark a life-long appreciation of our natural world in all our visitors, both in person and online. Make an impact—and your gift—today.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.