Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 9/21-9/27

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! 

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Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear And Freedom In America Opens Friday, September 25
SPIES, TRAITORS, SABOTEURS reveals nine major events and periods in U.S. history when Americans were threatened by enemies within its borders. It depicts how the government and public responded, illustrates the corresponding evolution of U.S. counterintelligence and homeland security efforts, and examines the challenge of securing the nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded.

Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America is a creation of the International Spy Museum.

Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, September 26
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (or until sold out)
7th floor of the parking garage
Interested in Butterfly Gardening? The perfect opportunity to get started awaits you twice each year, at the Cockrell Butterfly Center’s semi-annual plant sales! Once in spring and once in fall, we offer a wide variety of nectar plants for butterflies and host plants for their caterpillars. Plenty of experts are on hand to answer your butterfly gardening questions and help you to create the perfect butterfly habitat – right in your own backyard.

Fan Faves for 30 Day Film Festival
September 1-30, 2015
Experience the 7 greatest adventures on Earth in a single day!
From the depths of the ocean to the top of the clouds, from ancient ages to modern marvels, now you can embark on seven astounding expeditions, and never leave your seat! The most popular movies return to the Houston Museum of Natural Science during the Fan Faves for 30 Days Film Festival. Relive these amazing 3-D adventures or catch them for the first time! But hurry, the fun ends Sept. 30.

Color and Create for the Secret Ocean Art Contest!

The bright colors of life on the coral reef inspire artists all over the globe. How well does your art measure up? Show off your talent through the Secret Ocean Art Contest, and you could win free museum tickets and an artist feature on the big screen! Check out some of our ideas below and learn how to enter the contest before the Sept. 25 deadline.

In the saltwater world captured in Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3Dwe see many animals with bright colors and vibrant patterns, and struggle to find some of the animals hiding in plain sight. Coloration plays an important role to survival in most environments. Animals with appropriate coloration can be better at confusing predators, attracting mates, or blending in to catch the next meal. Every animal has its own approach to coloration, and they each use it for more than just beauty.

Dangerous distraction

The lionfish is known for its large elegant fins and the impressive venomous spines along its back, but the red-striped pattern of the lionfish makes it a fierce predator at the top of its food chain. The lionfish does not use its venomous spines to capture prey. The venom is meant to protect the lionfish from other predators, and it is quite successful! The bright pattern on its body warns predators that the lionfish is venomous. Its warning coloration may be the reason there are no known predators for the lionfish that were introduced into the Caribbean.

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Flickr Creative Commons.

Bright beauty

The clownfish is also known for its distinct color pattern. Unlike the lionfish, clownfish coloration does not serve as a warning. Rather, it helps them avoid predation. The white stripes break up the body of the clownfish making it harder for another animal to see. Using stripes and spots in this manner is called disruptive coloration. The disruptive coloration on the clownfish can confuse a predator for just enough time and allow the clownfish to retreat safely into its anemone.

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Flickr Creative Commons.

Clever camouflage

One of the best color patterns for animals is one that goes unnoticed entirely. It’s hard to catch an animal that you cannot find. The octopus is well known for its ability to change the color and texture of its skin to blend into its surroundings. This camouflage can help the animal escape predators as well as sneak up on unassuming prey. An octopus can also mimic rocks, algae and even coconuts to blend in to all sorts of environments.

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Flickr Creative Commons.

Now, combine your artistic talent with your knowledge of coloration for our contest! To compete, print out a copy of the rules and the Secret Ocean art contest template, then create your masterpiece. You can use paint, crayons, sand, glitter, beads and almost anything you can think of to create a fish or octopus. Don’t forget to submit before the deadline, Sept. 25! The top pieces will win great prizes like tickets to the HMNS permanent exhibit halls or to a showing of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D at the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre. Your artwork could also be projected onto the big screen!

Give us your best shot! We’re looking forward to your colorful creations. Best of luck!

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 9/14-9/20

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! 

owl butterfly

An Evening with Owls 
Monday, September 14 – Members Only 
Friday, September 18 & Saturday, September 19 – Public 
Flutter, flutter butterfly! Spend an evening with the Owls at the Cockrell Butterfly Center this September. Marvel at the incredible sight of hundreds of Owl Butterflies as they flutter around the rainforest at twilight and witness them at their most active. These stunning butterflies will whirl about and if you are lucky, come up to meet you. 

Lecture – The Write Stuff – How Writing Began By Denise Schmandt-Besserat
Tuesday, September 15
6:30 p.m.
No other human invention has changed mankind more than writing. It affects how we communicate, remember, dream, explore the world, and even the way we think. Today, we learn to count and write at such an early age that our ability to think about the meaning we assign to symbols is taken for granted. Explaining how writing began with man’s urge to capture ideas and thoughts in a physical form, Dr. Denise Schmandt-Besserat takes us on a human odyssey to discover how–from tokens to text–we found the ‘write’ stuff. Dr. Denise Schmandt-Besserat is professor emerita at the University of Texas at Austin.
This lecture is cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society with support from Aramco.

Class – Introduction To Minerals: Origins, Classifications And Uses
Saturday, September 19
9:00 a.m.
Using over two-hundred specimens representing one-hundred different species that you will be encouraged to touch, this introductory workshop will focus on the way different minerals form and how they are classified. Industrial and commercial uses of minerals will also be an emphasis to allow you the pleasure of identifying and appreciating minerals in your day to day life. Following the classroom instruction, the class will continue in the Museum’s Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals and select displays in the Hall of Ancient Egypt and Gemstone Carvings. The instructor of this class is geologist and paleontologist James Washington, HMNS staff trainer, who will take you behind-the-scenes in the Museum’s staff training lab where hundreds of specimens are uniquely presented in a hands-on road maps.

Class – Geology, Plate Tectonics And Earth Science: Rocks, The Environments That Make Them
Saturday, September 19
1:00 p.m.
Study Earth’s many environments and structures while explaining the rocks they produced in this interactive workshop. You will be able to hold and examine more types of rocks than you knew existed! Then learn how ancient peoples exploited or were impacted by these rocks and their environments. As long as you live on the Earth these topics will apply to you. Following the classroom instruction, the class will continue in the Museum’s Wiess Energy Hall for geology concepts of plate tectonics and sedimentation, before seeing examples of ancient architecture and art in the McGovern Hall of the Americas and Hall Ancient Egypt. The instructor of this class is geologist and paleontologist James Washington, HMNS staff trainer, who will take you behind-the-scenes in the Museum’s staff training lab where hundreds of specimens are uniquely presented in a hands-on road maps. Although it builds on the Introduction to Minerals class, this session can stand alone.

Fan Faves for 30 Day Film Festival
September 1-30, 2015
Experience the 7 greatest adventures on Earth in a single day!
From the depths of the ocean to the top of the clouds, from ancient ages to modern marvels, now you can embark on seven astounding expeditions, and never leave your seat! The most popular movies return to the Houston Museum of Natural Science during the Fan Faves for 30 Days Film Festival. Relive these amazing 3-D adventures or catch them for the first time! But hurry, the fun ends Sept. 30.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 9/7-9/13

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! 

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BTS – Wiess Energy Hall
Tuesday, September 8
6:00 p.m.
The Wiess Energy Hall is the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated energy exhibition. Tour this popular permanent exhibit with a Museum master docent and explore energy resources in this overview of the energy industry.

Class – Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening
Wednesday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. & Saturday, September 12 at 9:00 a.m. 
Learn the rewards and challenges of growing vegetables in Houston’s climate. Discover the best site for the garden, how to build it, what and how to plant, and the best methods to maintain and sustain a vegetable garden using organic methods. This is an excellent class for beginners, those who wish to brush-up on their gardening skills, or gardeners new to the Houston area. This class is cosponsored by Urban Harvest conjunction with the International Year of Soils 2015. Angela Chandler of the popular blog thegardenacademy.com holds specialist certifications in plant propagation, entomology, rainwater harvesting and greenhouse management. Her one-acre garden outside of Houston includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, ornamentals and a small home nursery, along with chickens, goats and organically managed beehives.

Fan Faves for 30 Day Film Festival
September 1-30, 2015
Experience the 7 greatest adventures on Earth in a single day!
From the depths of the ocean to the top of the clouds, from ancient ages to modern marvels, now you can embark on seven astounding expeditions, and never leave your seat! The most popular movies return to the Houston Museum of Natural Science during the Fan Faves for 30 Days Film Festival. Relive these amazing 3-D adventures or catch them for the first time! But hurry, the fun ends Sept. 30.