Make the Holidays Merry and Bright With Your Very Own Jingle Tree!

_kjr3238The holiday season is a magical time – make it even more so at HMNS at Sugar Land with one of Fort Bend’s most anticipated holiday traditions! Jingle Tree features a showcase of beautifully decorated trees that are up for bid in a six-day long, online silent auction. Our special touch? The trees are sponsored and decorated by Fort Bend designers, museum supporters, local celebrities and artistic visionaries! 

Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. We hope this annual event will continue to be an integral part of your holiday season! 

jt16_851x315Presented by Sterling McCall Acura.

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Bubbles, Bites and Belles – Holiday Coffee
Tuesday November 15 | 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Tickets $35

This fabulous private event will allow you to see the trees up close and perhaps even “pre-buy” the one you fall in love with! Indulge in bubbly mimosas and delicious bites, or add to the fun at Santa’s Little Helpers coffee bar, where you can purchase festive holiday drinks. Enjoy the museum and socialize with old friends or make new ones at our holiday coffee!

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Jingle, Jingle, Mix ‘n Mingle – Happy Hour & Auction Close
Thursday November 17 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Tickets $50

Bring your friends for an evening of tree viewing, on-line bidding, a fabulous live auction, unique raffle items and delectable food. Enjoy our complimentary signature cocktail, the Jingle Jangle, or visit the cash bar for your drink of choice. It’s your final chance to bring home your favorite tree! All bids close that evening at 8:15 pm, you won’t want to miss it!

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Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education, while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. Our local museum lets visitors see how intriguing and FUN science can be! We hope you’ll join our list of science education champions!

We are very grateful for our generous sponsors who made the Jingle Tree events possible. 

So many people have dedicated their time and effort to make Jingle Tree possible. We wholeheartedly thank these leaders.

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HMNS Happenings This Week

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS August 7 – August 14

Ivan Moreno, https://www.flickr.com/photos/37chess/26322021871/in/pool-hmns/

Ivan Moreno, https://www.flickr.com/photos/37chess/26322021871/in/pool-hmns/

Lecture

THE ART OF RISK: THE NEW SCIENCE OF COURAGE, CAUTION, AND CHANCE BY KAYT SUKEL
AUGUST 10, 2016, 6:30 PM · PLANETARIUM
Cutting-edge research into fascinating neurological pathways may be the key to understanding if risk-takers are born or made. Science journalist Kayt Sukel will introduce risk-taking factors such as gender, age, genes, emotions and stress-many of the biological advantages are surprising. Book signing following lecture. Tickets $18, Members $12

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Behind-The-Scenes Tours
 THE AGE OF THE DINOSAURS: TRIASSIC, JURASSIC AND CRETACEOUS
AUGUST 9, 2016, 6:00 PM · PALEO HALL
Because the Morian Hall of Paleontology is too large to tour in one evening, we are debuting a new series that will cover the hall section by section. Led by HMNS staff trainer, James Washington, each tour will include a hands-on fossil experience or short classroom presentation. The Jurassic Period ushered in the “Golden Age of Giants,” the time of 100-foot-long diplodocuses and stegosaurs who were skilled swordsmen. Predatory dinos clothed themselves with feathers. Giant sea reptiles cruised the oceans, while winged dactyls hunted for squid. The Cretaceous Period brought us the most dangerous herbivore of all time, the mighty Triceratops. Learn how our triceratops specimen with mummified skin has helped science proves new information about these three-horned tanks. Our five new T. rex skeletons all tell a different story that helps piece together what life was like in the Cretaceous. Members $15, Tickets $25

LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE
AUGUST 9, 2016, 6:00 PM 
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. Members: $17. Adult Tickets: $27.

FruitButterflySummer Cockrell Butterfly Center Events 
Summer Cockrell Butterfly Center events continue through Aug. 19.

Wing It | Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Come fly away into the world of butterflies at the Cockrell Butterfly Center with Wing it! Introduce yourself to your favorite winged wonders and watch the release of hundreds of new butterflies into the rainforest.

Small Talk | Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
Join our Cockrell Butterfly Center team as they take their live collection of insects out “for a walk” during Small Talk. Our experts will entertain and educate with all types of insects and arachnids.

Friday Feeding Frenzy | Fridays at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.
Join us this morning in the Cockrell Butterfly Center for our Friday Feeding Frenzy! See science in action as snakes, spiders and centipedes enjoy a meal right in front of you!

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Earth Science under the Microscope
Thursday, August 11 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Come explore our new microscope lab, used for viewing very small objects, which we could not normally see with the naked eye. Learn about the practical applications of microscopy or just look at cool stuff on a micro scale! Travel the world as you view grains of sand collected from various continents, and learn about their origin, composition and transport. Look at microfossils, shells and other natural objects, or bring an item from home and check it out under the scope. As hands-on activities are the best way to learn, we’ll have interactive demo stations with docents to guide you through the amazing visuals you’ll see as you peer through the lens!

 

 

A Study in Patience

Written by Jack Alger, HMNS Paleontology Intern

Jack Alger, HMNS Paleontology Intern

Jack Alger, HMNS Paleontology Intern

This summer I bring dimetrodons back to life.

No, life has not found a way, I’m not extracting DNA from inclusions found in amber; I work in the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land. It’s a small brick building with a splendid collection of history both recent and prehistoric whose residents stand 30 feet tall and have razor sharp teeth.

Every weekday from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon I sit behind a large table, stare through a lit magnifying glass, and with implements of dentistry I carefully extract the bones of Diego, a 280 million year old dimetrodon, from the hard north Texas rock.

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I am an exhibit.

Visitors of the museum who meander all the way back to the Paleozoic section have the opportunity to watch me work and to ask me questions about anything they please, thankfully usually pertaining to my work. One of the most common questions and comments I get deal with patience. “Wow, that seems really tedious” or “How do you have the patience for that? I certainly couldn’t do it” to which I grin and laugh politely with a “yes it is detailed work for sure”.

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After a few weeks of these comments I would like to make a few comments on the work myself and let you in on some of my secrets on being patient.

My first task upon arriving as the new Paleontology intern for the summer was to sift through the context dirt that once surrounded Diego and now filled a half dozen catering trays stored in a small closet in the museum. I would pick out a pile of dirt half the size of a golf ball and search for the microscopic bones hidden among the dirt often spending hours without finding anything. Now you may be saying “How could you keep your focus and stay patient when you had so much work to do?” To which I answer now “one rock at a time”.

I never thought about the amount of dirt in the tray nor in the closet, I just focused on my little pile, combing through it as if I might find a diamond or some other jewel (being an unpaid intern, this seemed like the greatest outcome) and after just a couple weeks I had finished looking through every single tray in the closet. This early lesson in discipline set me up perfectly for my real job, fossil prep. Now when I attack a bone I don’t think about trying to get all the rock off and reveal the entire bone. No, that would drive me insane. Instead I focus on pushing back the rock a micrometer at a time. Under intense magnification I watch flakes the size of a grain of sand that appear to me to be the size of paving stones come off in bunches. In rare cases large flakes of rock that covered half the bone come flying off in a single touch of my tools and I am filled with such elation that may surpass ever seeing the Texans win a Super Bowl from the sideline. My first lesson in patience is to focus on the little things, take small victories, microscopic even, so that when something big happens you are surprised and filled with joy.

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Now I would be a liar if I said my neck never ached and I never got frustrated with lack of progress, so this is my second lesson. When I begin to feel weary from hunching over the desk or when I become irate at the stubborn rock encrusting my precious Diego, I change my pace. I get up and stretch; I walk around the room and study the fossils on display. I get a drink of water, or I simply rotate the bone and take a different perspective on the situation, attacking at a different and hopefully more prosperous angle. I chuckle to myself every time I change the angle of the rock and where it was once impossible to cut through, large chips start to fly off the bone. Lesson two is when the impatience starts to creep in just take a deep breath, stretch, then change your perspective and you’ll be amazed at the result.

Four hours a day, that’s how long I work. It’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but those 360 minutes can feel like 3,000 if you get impatient and watch the clock. During my workday I try not to look at the time more than 4 times because nothing will drive you more insane than watching time slowly crawl onward. They say a watched pot never boils, well a watched clock never ticks. I have come to believe that a minute spent staring at the clock feels slower than an hour spent doing something. So next time it’s 4:30 on a Friday and you’re caught up with all your work don’t just sit at your desk and watch the little clock in the corner of your monitor, don’t even sit around, go clean the break room, go talk to someone in your office who is also done with their work, do something productive and engaging that you normally don’t do and next thing you know it’ll be 5 o’clock and your weekend has started.

Anyone can be patient and everyone can be impatient, patience isn’t something you’re born with its just something you do, like a sport you have to practice to get better. So next time you start to feel impatient just focus on the little things, change your perspective, and don’t look at the clock and you’ll start to notice life get just a little easier.

Kids Can Learn About Physics at This Block Party, Too!

by Kavita Self

The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land’s summer special exhibit, Block Party, Too! opened Friday, June 3. At the End of School Festival the day before, patrons got an exclusive sneak peek at the summer fun, and it was a big hit!

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Similar to Block Party at HMNS, but with a Sugar Land twist, kids of all ages had a wonderful time exploring and building in the five Build Zones. Each zone highlights principles of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in a family-friendly, hands-on environment. With connecting building blocks, magnetic tiles, foam blocks, oversized bricks and more, we had creative inventions — a bridge, a chair, a life sized person — in every zone!

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The Game Zone, featuring classic games like Giant Tic-Tac-Toe, Giant Snakes and Ladders, Twister and more, saw kids (and adults) competing fiercely for the win! We hope to see these families return again and again as the popularity of our newest hands-on exhibit continues to grow. Take a look at the rest of these preview shots, then come on down and build using your own imagination!

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Editor’s Note: Kavita is the Director of Programming for HMNS – Sugar Land.