Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 2/22-2/28

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation is by Ahab:

block party 12

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Film Screening – The Blood & The Rose (Spanish)
Monday, Feb. 22
6:00 p.m.
Filmada en locaciones en México y España, La sangre y la rosa ofrece fascinantes entrevistas con grandes expertos en los campos de la ciencia, historia y teología, explorando el misterio de la tilma de San Juan Diego y la milagrosa imagen que lleva. Más que una historia sobre un evento distante, este documental también muestra cuántos emulan hoy a San Juan Diego, ampliando el mensaje de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Emperatriz de las Américas y Patrona de vida, en la cultura moderna.

Film Screening – The Blood & The Rose (English)
Tuesday, Feb. 23
6:00 p.m.
Shot on location in Mexico and Spain, The Blood & The Rose offers riveting interviews with top experts in the fields of science, history and theology, exploring the mystery of St. Juan Diego’s tilma and the miraculous image that it bears. More than just a story about a distant event, this documentary also shows how many today emulate St. Juan Diego today, broadening the message of the Virgin of Guadalupe-Empress of the Americas and Patroness of Life-into modern culture.

Class – An Overview of the Energy Industry
Thursday, Feb. 25
8:00 a.m.
This course is led by experts in the fields of upstream, downstream and energy economics in the 21st century, including energy alternatives. Breakfast, lunch and a tour of the Wiess Energy Hall are included.

World Trekkers: Peru
Friday, Feb. 26
6:30 p.m.
Bring your family to HMNS and you can travel the globe with World Trekkers! The perfect family outing, these events highlight a diverse set of cultures from around the world through food, entertainment, arts and crafts and more. This February we’re heading off to Peru. But no need to pack your bags – HMNS brings the world to you with World Trekkers!

Class – Minerals and Rocks of the Ancient World
Saturday, Feb. 27
9:00 a.m.
Go behind-the-scenes in the Museum’s staff training lab where hundreds of specimens are uniquely presented in a hands-on road maps.
Fossils, minerals and rocks have been around since before human civilization, yet the sciences to study them have only been established for about two hundred years! Learn how the balance between natural resource abundancy and human ingenuity gave rise to the greatest monuments in the ancient world.

Class – Introduction to Paleontology: Decoding the Fossil Record
Saturday, Feb. 27
1:00 p.m.
Go behind-the-scenes in the Museum’s staff training lab where hundreds of specimens are uniquely presented in a hands-on road maps.
Covering specimens from the earliest life-forms to advanced invertebrates and vertebrates alike, this workshop focuses on the origin of the fossil record as well as the various methods of fossilization. To complete your understanding of the topics covered, you will be encouraged to touch and examine a variety of specimens composed of actual fossils, models and images.

Family Space Day at the George Observatory
Saturday, Feb. 27
Multiple mission times available
Blast into outer space on a simulated space flight to the Moon! The Expedition Learning Center at the George Observatory will be open for individual children and adults to sign up for missions. No danger is involved! Astronauts are assigned jobs aboard the Space Station Observer and work together as they solve problems and have fun. Volunteers who work at NASA will run the missions and visit with the participants. Don’t miss this special opportunity to participate in real astronaut training!

 

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 2/15-2/21

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation:

block party 11

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Endless Love Campaign 
Ends Friday, Feb. 19
Want to show your Valentine that your love will last forever?
Say it with a cockroach.
Before you go all “Eeuuuwwww,”… think about it.
These tough little beasts have been living, loving and roaming the earth for 350 million years. It’s even been said they’d survive a nuclear blast. Who knows? They might even outlive Keith Richards!
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to capture and gift wrap a cockroach yourself. For just $5, you can actually name one at the Cockrell Butterfly Center. You’ll receive a digital commemorative certificate, like this one, for your Valentine. How’s that for a lasting declaration of love?
You have to admit, it’s the most unforgettable gift ever—and it’s a great way to support conservation and education at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour – La Virgen de Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas
Tuesday, Feb. 16
6:00 p.m.
Going back to the 8th century in a struggle between Muslim and Spanish naval forces and on to the appearance in the Aztec capital in the 15th century, Virgin of Guadalupe was adopted as a symbol in Europe and the New World during times of friction. Through the artwork and artifacts on display, your guide will trace the increasing role the Virgin of Guadalupe played in society.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour – Out of the Amazon
Tuesday, Feb. 16
6:00 p.m.
HMNS has an unparalleled Amazonia collection which is made up of rare artifacts from thirteen tribes. Priceless pieces of the collection-ceremonial objects, masks, body costumes, headdresses and more-are on display in the special exhibition Out of the Amazon. Tour this temporary exhibition with HMNS master docents who share stories of everyday life among rapidly disappearing indigenous groups.

Class – Basic Fruit Tree Care and Planting
Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:00 p.m. & Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 10:00 a.m. 
Attracting butterflies and fostering good bird habitat, fruit trees are evergreens with fragrant flowers. Instructor Angela Chandler will teach you the basics of fruit tree selection, planting, care and maintenance. Explore the types of citrus available, how to grow them, and where seeds and saplings can be obtained. If you don’t have enough space, fruit trees can also be grown in containers!

Lecture – Amber, Nature’s Time Capsule by David Grimaldi
Wednesday, Feb. 17
6:30 p.m.
Conserving details not preserved in fossils, ancient tree resin trapped and drowned fragments of ancient landscapes serving as a natural time capsule. World leading expert in amber research, Dr. David Grimaldi will present the latest revelations of paleoclimate and its role in evolution from cutting-edge research into the plants, fungus and animals preserved amber. Through his field work conducted on five continents in over 40 countries, Grimaldi’s research addresses 400 million years of evolutionary history. He will also show how amber, dating as far back as 99 million years ago, has helped unlock the origins and evolution of modern tropical forest ecosystems.

Amber Secrets, Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs opens Friday, Feb. 19
Amber Secrets, Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs features over 100 of some of the most exquisite specimens dating as far back as 99 million years ago. Plants, fungus, vertebrates and invertebrates such as insects, spiders, scorpions, snails, millipedes and centipedes are represented. Highlights include feathers and lizards encapsulated in amber. Each polished translucent gem provides a window to the time of the dinosaurs.

Amazing Butterflies opens at HMNS at Sugar Land on Saturday, Feb. 20
Amazing Butterflies invites you to shrink down into the undergrowth to become one of the most extraordinary creatures on earth. Enter the interactive maze through the huge monarch caterpillar tunnel. Become a caterpillar and find your way through a secret, wild world as grass and leaves tower above your head. But beware, the maze includes dead ends, down which lurk poisonous plants and predators waiting to pounce. Adventure through the leaves, learn how to move like a caterpillar, discover an ant that reaps the reward of an unusual friendship, then transform into a butterfly and take flight! Together, families will explore this interactive experience and learn the surprising challenges butterflies face every day.

Girls Exploring Math And Science
Saturday, Feb. 20
The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council and the Houston Museum of Natural Science invite you to attend the Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) event. The Museum will be filled with hands-on science and math for everyone to experience. Local professionals will be at the Museum to answer questions about their careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Dispatches from the Gulf: Film examines the effects of Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster may no longer be a buzzword in the media, but the effects of history’s largest oil spill on the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico are still on the minds of marine scientists around the world. Gulf seafood seems to be recovering, but biologists are keeping a close eye to the seafloor, where much of the oil has settled into the sand. Take a closer look at the lingering effects of the spill Tuesday night at the Houston Museum of Natural Science with a special screening of the science documentary Dispatches from the Gulf.

This April 20 will mark the sixth year after the massive failure and subsequent explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, also known as the Macondo Prospect, an offshore drilling platform 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The blast claimed the lives of 11 workers and from a depth of 5,000 feet, pumped more than 200 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas into the Gulf over a period of 87 days. A month after the disaster, BP, the operator of the prospect, announced it would commit $500 million over 10 years to the study of the effects of the spill.

GULF OF MEXICO - APRIL 21:  In this handout image provided be the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana.  An estimated leak of 1,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

GULF OF MEXICO – APRIL 21: In this handout image provided be the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. An estimated leak of 1,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

In addition to the tragic loss of life, many environmentalists expected a total collapse of the ecosystem leading to further economic effects in the fishing and seafood industry, yet as early as five years later, CNN reported fish landings had returned as well as the oyster population.

“According to the Food and Drug Administration, tests on edible seafood show no excess hydrocarbons in the region’s food supply,” Drew Griffin, Nelli Black and Curt Devine of CNN.com reported. “The spill’s effects on other species are less clear. … But perhaps the greatest unknown is what, if anything, millions of gallons of oil on the deep seafloor are doing to the overall environment of the Gulf itself.”

Our own Associate Curator of Malacology Tina Petway is one of the scientists keeping watch. She flew over the disaster while the oil was still free-flowing, visibly bubbling above the surface of the water from the break at depth. To her, the Texas coastline is the least of her concerns.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster created an oil slick visible from space.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster created an oil slick visible from space.

“The oil can wash up in globs, which is bad for folks walking or playing on the beach,” Petway said, “but the real problem is that the oil stays in the environment even though they have removed a huge quantity of it. A lot of it has sunk.”

On the bottom of the Gulf, the oil has created a mat of tar, leaving the sand impenetrable to oxygen and light, Petway explained, eliminating everything beneath the mat from the habitat. Chemicals from the oil are leaching into sandy and muddy seafloors, making hydrocarbons difficult, if not impossible to dissolve or wash away.

“Just because you don’t see anything on shore anymore doesn’t mean it’s not still out there,” Petway said. “Ongoing research is being done as to the effects, and it is constantly being updated.”

Watch the screening of the science documentary Dispatches from the Gulf Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The film will recap the unprecedented response effort following the disaster and delve into the research of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Tickets $18, members $12. For one night only!

You can learn more about the delicate Texas coastal ecosystem at the Hamman Hall of Texas Coastal Ecology.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 2/1-2/7

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation is by Tracey (age 8).

Block Party 9

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our brand-new Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Lecture – Tracking a Killer: The Origin and Evolution of Tuberculosis
Tuesday, Feb. 2
6:30 p.m.
In 2014, tuberculosis (TB) surpassed HIV as the leading cause of death from infectious disease. TB has long been a scourge of humans; however, exactly how long has been debated. In this lecture Anne Stone examines the evolutionary history of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB, focusing on the distribution of TB strains in humans in order to understand their relationships, assess patterns of pathogen exchange through time, and investigate how TB adapted to humans and other animals.
Sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Lecture – The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton
Thursday, Feb. 4
6:30 p.m.
The risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast. The past century’s changes to the planet-to the clouds and the soils, to the winds and the seas, to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon-have been far more profound than most of us realize. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, possibly even insurmountable. To meet the urgent need to rethink our responses to this crisis, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system.

In the United States for a special lecture tour, Oliver Morton will explore the history, politics and cutting-edge science of geoengineering that may provide solutions, as well as address the deep fear that comes with seeing humans as a force of nature, and asks what might be required of us use that force for good to combat global warming.

Special Exhibition: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen Closes Friday, Feb. 7
HMNS at Sugar Land
Brest van Kempen’s meticulously executed paintings in rich jewel tones explore the variety of nature and attest to the artist’s belief that chief among nature’s hallmarks is its diversity. This widely acclaimed exhibition consists of 50 original paintings and preparatory sketches inspired not just by the beauty of the subjects, but also by their fascinating ecology and habitat.