ButterflyFest this weekend features tagged monarch releases, plant sale

October 19th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will release tagged monarch butterflies, hold gardening and photography workshops and feature expert speakers on a variety of gardening and pollinator wildlife topics during its annual ButterflyFest Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 24-25).

ButterflyFest is a celebration of all pollinators and encourages visitors to explore their role in our ecosystem through crafts, games and presentations. The festival also includes activities, entertainment, food vendors, workshops and tours for the whole family.

Florida Museum staff will release hundreds of Monarch butterflies both days of the festival. The Florida Museum is participating for the third year in the national Monarch Watch program, which tracks the butterflies’ migration to Mexico with citizen reports using tiny stickers attached to the butterflies’ wings. (more…)

Fla. Museum to host fourth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 24-25, online registration now available

July 27th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History during its fourth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 24 – 25 for a weekend of fun activities focused on pollinator conservation and gardening.

ButterflyFest is a free, family-friendly event with activities and workshops emphasizing awareness and conservation of backyard pollinators and wildlife. This year’s event also features the first “Pollinator Photo Contest” with cash prizes awarded in junior and adult age divisions.

“ButterflyFest celebrates our living Rainforest exhibit and highlights the ongoing research conducted by our scientists in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity,” said Douglas Noble, head of exhibits and public programs. “The fun, engaging atmosphere of the festival brings thousands to the museum to embrace our role in the conservation of pollinators.”

This year’s festival features wildlife research ecologist, author and artist Thomas Allen as the keynote speaker, as well as games, activities, workshops and tours for the whole family. (more…)

Fla. Museum hosts award-winning history painter Jackson Walker April 19

April 4th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History for “Science Sundays” at 2:30 p.m. April 19 with award-winning Florida history painter Jackson Walker.

Walker, artist-in-residence at the Museum of Florida Art in DeLand, will display some of his work and discuss how he recreates past events in his oil paintings. His work is known nationally for its accurate portrayals of historical circumstances and he has become recognized as a reliable source of historic vision. His portrayals have been featured on television productions of the A&E Network, including the History Channel, and in many publications and books, as well as various private and institutional collections. His work also has been commissioned by the Florida National Guard and the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C.

Walker was awarded the Florida Commendation Medal and other honors for his work documenting Florida’s military history, and has received official recognition by two Florida secretaries of state and the endorsement of the Florida Historical Society. (more…)

Fla. Museum to celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday with events Thursday, Saturday

February 10th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Come celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, of one of science’s most influential figures, at the Florida Museum of Natural History Thursday and Saturday.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 12, join Betty Smocovitis of the University of Florida’s zoology and history departments for “Singing His Praises: Darwin and His Theory in Song and Musical Production.”

This lecture will examine the issues and controversies of Darwin’s theory of evolution through song while studying the link between modern science and pop culture. To sweeten the event, a birthday cake featuring Darwin will be served.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14, those curious to learn more about evolution and want to see evidence of the process can take part in “Darwin Day” with Florida Museum collections staff. (more…)

Florida Museum Science Sunday presentation focuses on Florida’s last Ice Age

October 29th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mammoths, saber cats and prehistoric Floridians will come to life at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Florida Museum of Natural History during a presentation on Florida’s last Ice Age.

University of Florida professor emeritus of anthropology and Florida Museum curator emeritus of archaeology Barbara Purdy will discuss the debate over how early people and animals co-existed in Florida and how emerging research techniques and instruments could be used to solve this mystery.

Human remains, artifacts and butchered bones provide evidence that people lived on the Florida peninsula during the last Ice Age more than 13,000 years ago. These early Floridians, also called Paleoamericans, hunted animals such as mammoths, mastodons, tapirs, camels and saber cats among an abundance of plants and trees. However, as the climate rapidly warmed the lifestyle of people and animals alike changed almost overnight and led to the extinction of many species. (more…)

Fla. Museum to host ‘Living Exhibit’ talk with historian Jon Sensbach Aug. 2

July 22nd, 2008

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History at 2 p.m. Aug. 2 as University of Florida history professor Jon Sensbach brings African culture in the antebellum South to life.

The “Living Exhibit” talk, entitled “Africa in America,” will take place in the final section of the museum’s newest traveling exhibit, “Inside Africa.” Sensbach will discuss what life was like in the aftermath of the African slave trade to America, and the identities people crafted as they transitioned from traditional African culture to life in America.

Sensbach is author of two books, “A Separate Canaan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840″ and “Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World.” He is currently working on a study of religious awakenings in the early South and Atlantic world. (more…)

Fla. Museum to host ‘Living Exhibit’ talk with art history professor Robin Poynor, June 21

June 11th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a “Living Exhibit” talk at 2 p.m. on June 21 as University of Florida art history professor Robin Poynor elaborates on portions of the museum’s newest temporary exhibit “Inside Africa” through a presentation based on his work with African art.

The “Living Exhibit” discussion will cover a variety of topics related to Poynor’s work and research including changes in palace construction in the Bamum region of Cameroon and the contributions made by one of the area’s most influential sultans, Njoya. The talk will be given in the “Inside Africa” exhibit where visitors can see a half-scale replica of one of Njoya’s palaces.

Poynor has researched art in Africa for the past 40 years and is currently working on an interdisciplinary book examining 500 years of African presence in Florida. He is also the co-author of “A History of Art in Africa,” one of 60 books named to Art Journal’s Best Books of 2000 list. (more…)

Fla. Museum to host ‘Living Exhibit’ talk with artist Mary Jane Volkmann June 7

May 28th, 2008

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a “Living Exhibit” talk with Gainesville artist Mary Jane Volkmann at 2 p.m. June 7. Volkmann will elaborate on her exhibit of African-inspired artwork, “Namibia: The Smile of Africa,” on display at the Florida Museum through Aug. 3, as well as “Inside Africa,” which runs through Sept. 7.

The talk, entitled “The Here and Now: Another view of Africa from our Galleria Artist,” will begin at the entrance to “Inside Africa.” Regular admission prices apply for the “Living Exhibit” talk.

Volkmann will share her experiences living and working for 28 years in southern Africa, including comparing the culture and traditions of different regions to give visitors a glimpse into the society of this vast and varied continent. As part of the discussion, she will answer questions from attendees and share some of her own African tales. (more…)

Fla. Museum to display African-inspired works by Mary Jane Volkmann Artist plans ‘Living Exhibit’ talk June 7

March 31st, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will display “Namibia: The Smile of Africa,” a collection of African-inspired works by Gainesville artist Mary Jane Volkmann, April 3-Aug.3. The exhibit includes a number of new and original oil paintings, prints of the artist’s work and five issues of postage stamps.

Inspired by 23 years living and working in Namibia, Volkmann’s exhibit depicts the life, land and culture of Namibia’s native people. The exhibit complements “Inside Africa,” the newest temporary exhibit at the Florida Museum on display through Sept. 7.

Volkmann will discuss the background on the pieces in her exhibit with museum visitors and elaborate on concepts from “Inside Africa” at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7 during a scheduled “Living Exhibit” talk. Regular admission prices to “Inside Africa” apply. As part of the discussion, she will describe her experiences as co-founder of the Tsumeb Arts and Craft Center in northern Namibia, an educational and charitable trust founded to help Namibians develop, promote and market their art. (more…)

Fla. Museum Sunday lecture examines climate change, global warming

March 13th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a lecture by University of Florida Ecology professor Stephen Mulkey on the latest work and discoveries in the battle against global warming from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday as part of the museum’s Science Sundays lecture series.

The presentation, “Turn Down the Heat,” will examine how climate change is shaping the earth and the steps being taken to reduce the risks associated with these changes. Mulkey serves as science adviser to the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida and as Director of Research and Outreach/Extension for the UF School of Natural Resources and Environment and is involved in numerous committees related to energy, greenhouse gas emissions, land use and sustainability. (more…)

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