12th Annual Gala on Friday, June 3

April 25th, 2011 by Ronni Reaves

On Friday June 3rd the Science Museum of Long Island celebrates their 12th annual gala fundraiser at the Swan Club in Glenwood Landing. This year we are honored to present Angela M. H. Schuster with our SMLI 2011 Science Achievement Award.

A graduate of Columbia University, Ms. Schuster is currently the Editor in Chief of the Explorers Journal, co-editor of “The Looting of the Iraq Museum Baghdad”, contributing editor at Archaeology Magazine and freelance writer for The New York Times. In her own words, Angela likes to think that as a trained archaeologist and science writer, she is an “eyewitness to adventures and discovery.” She takes these adventures and puts them into words to share the importance of science with the reader.

Angela has the unique opportunity to be the medium between the actual adventure and the translation of it to adults and children alike so that they too may feel the thrill of the “find.” Ms. Schuster takes this responsibility very seriously and when you meet her, you will feel the enthusiasm that she generates. As a children’s museum, SMLI encourages hands–on experiential learning so children have the chance to enjoy the fun of science while hopefully developing a lifelong passion for it.

For almost 50 years, under Executive Director, Dr. John Loret, the Science Museum of Long Island has made this our mission. Please join us June 3rd for an evening of dinner, dancing, auctions, a few surprises and most of all the opportunity to raise funds for the restoration of the Museum building on the beautiful 40 acre Leeds Pond Preserve on Manhasset Bay. This will ensure the continuation of exploration for the next generation and beyond.

We invite you to take this journey with Angela Schuster and honor this young woman’s dedication while supporting a very special science facility right in your own backyard. This is a chance to show your support to SMLI, which in many cases has seen its pre-school children through college with a love for a science discipline that they first experienced at the Science Museum of Long Island.

For further information and to purchase tickets, please call 516 627 9400 ext.11.

Something’s Fishy at the Science Museum…

October 5th, 2010 by Nicholas Merkelson

On October 1st, students from Roosevelt School (Bridgeport, CT) came to the Museum to participate in the first shark dissection of the 2010-2011 school year. By the looks on their smiling faces it was clear this group of young scientists were ready for a rare treat!

Mr. Dave, a trained marine biologist, led the 7th and 8th grade class through an hour-long lesson about shark anatomy and biology. Students were eager – or hesitant in some cases! – to explore the shark’s coiled, spiral-like stomach and its oil-filled liver. Mr. Dave warned the students of leaking liver oil, which sharks produce in great quantities to help control their buoyancy in the water.* The girls were squeamish to learn that the very same oil can be found in vitamins and cosmetic products they buy in stores!

The lesson was not all slicing and dicing, however, as Mr. Dave urged students to be aware of the conservation issues facing global shark populations. He noted that these specimens were raised in captivity rather than hunted in the wild, and that although sharks are often killed as an exotic food item or for other use by humans, in the United States we have set higher standards for shark conservation and do not practice shark hunting.

At the end of the day, all of the students left with a greater understanding of why and how sharks are studied by scientists at SMLI and beyond.

* H. David Baldridge, Jr., 1970. Sinking factors and average densities of Florida sharks as functions of liver buoyancy. Copeia 4 (Dec. 12, 1970), pp. 774-754.

SMLI Welcomes “Mr. Nick” To Teaching Staff

October 5th, 2010 by Dr. Loret

The Science Museum of Long Island is pleased to announce the addition of Nicholas Merkelson as the newest member of our talented teaching staff. Nicholas, a local resident of Port Washington, brings to the museum an extensive background in archaeology and museum studies. In the past he has participated in archaeological excavations in Spain and Kenya, conducted anthropological research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and completed graduate studies in Cultural Heritage at University College London.

These unique experiences will no doubt influence the way “Mr. Nick” leads his programs at the museum. “I really appreciate the vast importance of museum education to the general public, particularly for young minds towards their intellectual and personal development,” he said. “I look forward to sharing stories and lessons I’ve learned while studying archaeology in the field and in the lab. Who knows – maybe my experience of discovering a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal skull will inspire a child to pursue a future in palaeoanthropology!”

From SMLI, Welcome Mr. Nick!

An Unwelcome Visitor Revealed

March 19th, 2010 by Melissa Kipp

He may not have been expected, but we’ve taken him in and figured out his origins.  Who am I talking about?  A new parasite, found on one of the Science Museum’s new goldfish!  

This blogpost was originally going to feature images and information about our two new goldfish tanks, set up by Nursery Teacher and Animal Care Specialist, Natalie Schneider Cheung.  However, in her careful watch for the tanks to reach equilibrium, she discovered a green spot on one of the new goldfish.  The next day, the spot had moved… to another fish!!  Something was off, and we needed to find out the answers.  

Dr. John Loret, SMLI Executive Director and marine biologist, took a look at the problem and declared it a “Parasitic isopod.”  Further research by Christie Schlaner and David Miller clarified the critter’s background even more:  Argulus japonicus.   This species originates from China, but has spread to Europe, North America, Africa, and Australasia due to accidental introduction during ornamental fish trade.  It makes perfect sense that this little animal found his way onto one of our fish, since they can free-float in water for 3-5 days before finding a host.  

Brave Natalie and fellow teacher Jennifer Spina were able to remove the pest with tweezers, and it’s a good thing they did.  Eggs of this species are laid in batches of up to 200 and hatch 2-4 weeks after they are laid. We will keep our eyes open for new hatchlings.

Do you think our classification is correct?  Judge for yourself.  I’ve taken images with my Canon PowerShot, a little tricky on the television screen of our video microscope.  

The first image is to show actual size of the parasite.  (He’s just below the “cm” of the ruler, which is placed under a watery petri dish)


Actual size of parasite: 0.5 cm

Actual size of parasite: 0.5 cm

The next images were taken on the screen of the video microscope:

Under the video microscope... Argulus japonicus?

Under the video microscope... Argulus japonicus?


Another view of the up close and personal parasite

Another view of the up close and personal parasite


Compared to the University of California Museum of Paleontology’s classification, this looks like a pretty sure case of fish lice.   Either way, this guy is fascinating to watch.   If you’ve seen one before or have any input, let us know!  And stay tuned.. the fish tank post will be up in the next few weeks.

–Melissa Kipp

Snow Day, February 26

February 26th, 2010 by Melissa Kipp

The Science Museum is closed today due to inclement weather.  (SMLI closes when Manhasset School District closes.)

Snow Day: February 11th

February 10th, 2010 by Melissa Kipp

The snow continues… and the Science Museum is closed again tomorrow, February 11, 2010.  All nursery and afterschool programs are cancelled.

(The Science Museum of Long Island closes when the Manhasset School District is closed.)

Science Museum of Long Island 2010 Gala Fundraiser

February 8th, 2010 by Ronni Reaves

The staff, board and gala committee are in the process of planning our 11th Annual Gala Fundraiser. It will take place Thursday May 13th and the theme is “Casino Night”. Please join us at the Swan Club at 7pm for a great evening of dancing, gambling and dinner. This is the ONLY fundraising event each year. We ask for your support and invite you to come out for a night of fun and socializing with your neighbors while at the same time helping SMLI continue the mission of educating the next generation with a hands-on, interactive approach. You will be receiving your “Save the Date” card in a few weeks. If you are not on our mailing list, please email Ronni Reaves at ronni@smli.org so I may add you. We look forward to seeing you on May 13th. If anyone has a donation for auction or a friend or relative that works for a company willing to donate, please call me at 516-627-9400 ext 11.

Thank you,

Ronni Reaves

February Holiday Workshop

January 25th, 2010 by Christie Schlaner

Join us for a fun-filled week at SMLI!  During winter recess from February 15-February 19, the science museum will be having its February Holiday Workshops.  Be ready to start your engines on Monday!  You will be building and racing your very own car.  On Tuesday you will learn tricks with magnets, how sound works, see rainbows, and understand electricity.  It will be a “shocking” experience!  Don’t miss out on Crafty Science class Wednesday.  The projects will include tye-dye, rock jewelry, paper-making, Spin Art, and creating a picture frame that you can take home.   Thursday you will be sampling what astronauts eat, making a frozen treat, doing some candy chemistry, eating “dirt”, and building yummy structures.  Who can resist learning about science that you can eat ?  Spring is right around the corner, which means that we will be maple sugaring here at the museum.  On Friday, you will learn how maple syrup is made, listen to stories around the camp fire, and do some taste testing. 

Sign up for the workshops today!  Hope to see you soon!

World of Wines: A free Member Appreciation event

January 6th, 2010 by Melissa Kipp

World of Wines, the third installment of the Science Museum’s new Member Appreciation series, is less than one month away.  We are gearing up for the free event which will be held at the Museum on Friday, February 5th 6:30 - 8:30pm.  All members are welcome to attend this tasting and discussion about wine, from vine to glass.  Three experts will discuss eleven wines, including reds, whites, and sparkling varietals from California, Italy, and Argentina.  Guests will also learn proper pairing choices and enjoy suggested accompaniments. 

The evening will include an informative discussion, tasting, and a chance to mingle with other museum members.  To close out the evening, a wine basket will be raffled to a lucky winner.  Join the Museum staff as we explore wines of the world in the comfort of your favorite Science Museum with local experts.

RSVP and current member status are required to attend the event (limited to the first 50 responses).  Please RSVP by calling Rosemarie: (516) 627-9400 extension 10.  Guests must be 21 or over to attend.

This event is sponsored in part by Bottles Wine & Spirits of Port Washington, NY.

Kindergarten After School Workshops

December 29th, 2009 by Christie Schlaner

Don’t forget to sign up for the next session of the Kindergarten After School Workshop starting January 4th, 2010.  The after school programs are a great way to engage your child by doing fun, hands-on science activities.  The Kindergarten workshops have included activities such as exploring the outdoors, excavating fossils, interacting with our amazing animals, and creating silly or shocking science experiments.

The new year will bring six new exciting monthly topics!  Starting in January, we will be learning about the five senses.  This topic includes learning how sound works, tricking your taste buds, matching smells, and making your very own optical illusion to take home.  Check our website for the specified dates if you are interested in any of these upcoming topics: Planet Earth, The Final Frontier, Pirates’ Treasure, Junior Gardeners, and Finding Nemo.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Register by calling Rosemarie at (516) 627-9400 ext. 10