A Report from the Head Groundskeeper

June 19th, 2009 by Ray Dzierzawski

As spring returned to the Science Museum, our grounds crew and many friends and volunteers began to help the preserve get itself into shape. Many of our nature trails have been given a fresh layer of wood chips and our beach has had an extensive clean up.

This spring, the grounds of the museum have witnessed life renewing itself. Many Robins, Starlings and Sparrows have been nesting and raising their young in and around the buildings on the property.  Several baby rabbits have been spotted at different ends of the property, a pair of Osprey has been nesting on the beach and Terns have also been discovered protecting their nest on the beach.  Recently a large snapping turtle came up from Leeds Pond to lay its eggs on some higher, drier ground.  Snowy Egrets, Night Herons, Blue Herons and Redtail Hawks are common sights as well as our many cute, little Italian Wall Lizards. We are also hoping some bats will move into the new bat house installed on the south side of the museum to help control the mosquitoes this summer.

This spring also included the use of our property for the production of the film “A Little Help” starring Jenna Fischer, Chris O’Donnell, Ron Leibman and Leslie Ann Down.  A funeral scene was shot on our property, after the lawn was transformed into a temporary cemetery set.  All this added a little extra fun and excitement to the grounds this spring.

The Science Museum has begun a recycling program to reduce the amount of plastic and glass that is being thrown away with its regular trash.  Orange recycling containers are located through out the museum; please place your empty cans and bottles into these and help us to reduce our carbon footprint.

We are all looking forward to the beginning of summer camp and hope that everyone will enjoy the property and help to keep it clean.

Special thanks to Daniel, Mike and Nick for all their hard work spreading wood chips and to Meryl, Gerard, Eric, Billy, Andrew and Nicholas for all they have done in the museum and around the grounds with us this past school year.     

Experiences of the New Guy at SMLI

June 12th, 2009 by Brian Gordon

For those of you who have been to the Science Museum of Long Island since the beginning of January, you’ve maybe recognized that there is a new person around the building that has been teaching classes.  Allow me to take a moment to tell you who I am and speak about my experiences thus far at the museum.

My name is Brian Gordon and I am indeed the newest teacher to come on board at SMLI.  Having been in the field of informal science education for a couple of years before joining the staff here, it’s been really nice to continue my career in education by working at such a unique and interesting organization.

There are many aspects of working at SMLI that make this place such an appealing non-profit institution.  Firstly, we offer an extensive variety of science programs for children and young adults.  This provides us, the educators, the ability to teach and work with children ranging in age from nursery on up through high school.  These experiences have allowed me to grow as teacher while having fun and inspiring an interest in nature and science for all who I interact with in the classroom.

A major emphasis of the science museum is for youth to learn about science through hands-on, experiential learning.  I firmly believe this is one of the best methods for someone to learn.  For example,  reading about animals is fun and educational, but being able to actually see animals up close to learn about their special features and pet them is an entirely different and exciting way to learn.  It’s been my experience since I’ve been here that almost all students genuinely appreciate and respond to experiential learning.  As the old saying goes, ” If you love your job, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”  I always apply that to learning, by thinking that if you love what you’re learning, than learning will never have to seem like work.

What is most definitely apparent to me in my experiences thus far at the museum is how dedicated each of the five teachers are to providing high quality science programs that are engaging and thought provoking for both students and teachers.  Being a science teacher is never a dull moment because there is so much to talk and learn about.  Science is one of those fields that is constantly evolving with new theories and discoveries.  I like my students to walk away from a lesson with the interest and confidence to pose their own questions about science and come up with their own theories so they can become the next great scientific thinkers.

With summer camp fastly approaching and an entire school year ready to begin next September, I’m eager to find out what new experiences await me.

2009 SMLI Gala Fundraiser

June 10th, 2009 by Ronni Graf

On Friday June 5th, our 10th Annual Fundraising Gala took place at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. After much preparation and worry, it was a great success. Our honorees, Chris Nicola, caver and explorer and Tom DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller captivated the audience. The auctions enticed shoppers to bid on items they wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere. Many guests enjoyed dancing to “In the Mix” DJs. The USMMA is a site filled with history and grandeur. We now look forward to a few weeks break and then beginning the planning of our 2010 Gala.

Thank you to my committee, Kim Baldi, Rosemarie Amadeo, Jeanne O’Malley, Anja D’Angelo, Carin Sanders,Marilyn Stefans, my daughter Stacy, Melissa Kipp and my co-chair, Margie Suga. You were wonderful and I look forward to your help next year.

Raffle Winner!

June 5th, 2009 by Melissa Kipp

Congratulations, Chris Nihill on winning this year’s Raffle Fundraiser at the Annual Gala!

Thanks to everyone who purchased a ticket.  Each and every ticket sold helped us surpass our fundraising goal!


June 4th, 2009 by Jennifer Spina

This Sunday June 7th is Port Washington’s HarborFest from 10am to 5pm on and around the town dock. There is always so much to do and everyone seems to have a wonderful time.

The Science Museum will be there with summer camp brochures and our inflatable pool touch tank.  You will have the opportunity to touch real, live horseshoe crabs picked up from Manhasset Bay as well as any other creatures caught that morning.

Make sure you stop down to HarborFest this Sunday and don’t forget to stroll on over to the Science Museum’s booth for the chance to discover all the live animals in our touch tank.  Last year there was a great turnout with many people stopping by to hold a mud snail, feel the shell of a horseshoe crab and watch the small silversides and killifish swim around.  We hope to see many of you there this weekend.

Foraging with the “Wildman”

May 28th, 2009 by Brian Gordon

At the beginning of May I had the pleasure of representing the Science Museum of Long Island at EcoFest, a belated Earth Day celebration which took place at the lovely Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson, Long Island.  While walking around and taking in all of the beautiful scenery, I couldn’t help but notice a large group of people following a gentleman around who was extremely animated and kept bending down to pick things up out of the soil.  Being the naturally curious individual that I am, I took it upon myself to latch on to the end of his tour.  It soon became apparent that this gentleman was a unique person with a unique profession.  The man leading this tour was none other than the “Wildman” Steve Brill, one of the best-known foraging experts in the United States.

The “Wildman” Steve Brill has spent his career educating the public about the ancient tradition of foraging, which is the process of learning to identify and gather wild edibles for food.  By providing engaging, hands-on programs with community members of all ages and backgrounds, the “Wildman” has dedicated himself to inspiring people to learn more about our environment and become re-connected with our natural world through foraging.

By this point of the blog, your probably thinking, what does the “Wildman” have to do with the Science Museum?  Well, this coming summer, SMLI is going to be graced with the presence of Steve Brill during our Survivor Week at summer camp.  It will truly be the opportunity of a lifetime to meet and speak with this incredibly knowledgable and gifted forager, environmentalist, author, and naturalist all roled into one “Wildman.”  So, if you want to see how you can start clucking like a chicken after eating Chickweed or prevent the rash of poison ivy by rubbing Jewelweed on your body, this is the program for you!  We hope to see you here!

Through the Eyes of a Survivor

May 27th, 2009 by Dave Miller

Looking forward to upcoming Science Museum of Long Island Gala, I find the guest speaker and honorees truly remarkable.  Chris Nicola, a caver and explorer who uncovered secrets from the dark existence of 38 Jews living underground for 344 days during the Holocaust, will be speaking on his discoveries.  If his story isn’t enough to put you in complete awe, Sonia Hochman, Priest’s Grotto survivor is expected to attend. 

The idea of meeting Chris at the gala and hearing his stories of discovery and revelations regarding how they survived under such extreme conditions moved me to keep researching his expeditions.  The online stories and interviews are amazing and awe inspiring. 

However, I feel the opportunity to meet Sonia will heighten and make the whole story of how they survived come to life.  If you are planning to attend, please find me and I will help you make an introduction to living history.  

SMLI is on Facebook!

May 22nd, 2009 by Melissa Kipp

The Science Museum of Long Island has joined the Web 2.0 scene and is now on FacebookBecome a fan today!

From our Facebook page we’ll be sharing many pictures, keeping you posted regarding upcoming events, and sharing what’s happening at the Museum.  Just click the “become a fan” link once you have logged into Facebook- it’s that simple.  Feel free to write on the Wall or post your own pictures!

Lilly Goes Buggy

May 15th, 2009 by Melissa Kipp

One of my students from an April Holiday Workshop emailed the museum with a gracious thank you note and pictures.  Lilly was a participant in the “Going Buggy” program, one of our three-hour workshops available on days schools are closed.  During the program, we created terrariums, learned the difference between insects and spiders, went on a bug-hunt, and discovered what makes butterflies special.  At the end of class, all of the children received their own caterpillar to take home and watch as it metamorphosed into a butterfly.  Here’s Lilly with her butterfly, and a close-up of the creature after emerging from the chrysalis.

In the close-up of the butterfly, you can also see what is left of the chrysalis in the top left corner, and the meconium, a waste product from the larval stage that looks like blood.

Caterpillar and Chrysalis Overload!!!

May 5th, 2009 by Jennifer Spina

The Science Museum has an abundance of Painted Lady caterpillars and chrysalises.  (Some of the caterpillars have entered the pupa stage.)  

WANTED:  A loving, caring environment to nurture the growth of these butterflies.  Don’t worry, all you have to do is watch!

If you are interested in taking one or many (up to 30) developing butterflies, stop by the Museum between the hours of 8AM and 4PM Monday-Friday.  You will be provided with a calendar and care sheet.  If you have any questions, contact the Teachers’ Office at (516) 627-9400 extension 14.   This is a first come, first serve offer.

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