The Joys of Dirt: Young Patrons learn the ins and outs of urban gardening in Miami

Posted on May 5th, 2016

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By: MiaSci

Did you know that Miami has a wonderful urban farming scene, as well as a long growing season giving awesome potential for harvesting your own bounty? Last Sunday we invited our Young Patrons to learn more about the whole process by way of an edible gardening workshop and forging tour in partnership the Little River Cooperative.

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With the Little River crew covering topics such as perennials, how to grow and maintain a container garden, and when to harvest edibles, our Young Patron group got their hands dirty, and were able to take home plants of their own.

Frost Science’s horticulturist Jessica Zarate was on hand to discuss some of the greenery and gardening practices that we will be presenting on the new museum’s Rooftop Terraces. The Rooftop will explore energy in it’s many forms, but pays particular attention to how solar energy transform through photosynthesis into fuel for plants, and thus animals, including humans. Elements include solar panels donated by FPL, plant bed for urban gardening, exhibits on hydroponics and the challenges of feeding urban populations, as well a section on the farming practices of Florida’s Native Americans.

Frost Science Horticulturist, Jessica Zarate & The Little River Co Owner, Muriel Olivares

Frost Science Horticulturist, Jessica Zarate & The Little River Co Owner, Muriel Olivares

YPs also went foraging. Tiffany Noe, co-owner of Little River Cooperative and author of “Forager: A Subjective Guide to Miami’s Edible Plants,” led the YPs on a walk where she pointed out edible plants that grow in our very own neighborhoods, explained what time of year is best for harvesting, and how they might fit into anyone’s cuisine.

All told, YPs received a syllabus and foraging guide, two perennial plants, a garden gift bag which includes organic soil, natural fertilizers and seeds. As for the green thumbs, that’s up to them.

 

A Loss for Frost Science and Miami

Posted on May 2nd, 2016

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By: MiaSci

Sean Duran, Vice President of Exhibition and Design

Sean Duran, Vice President of Exhibition and Design

It is with great sadness that we share the news that one of our esteemed colleagues, Sean Duran, passed away over the weekend. Sean joined Frost Science in 1999 as an exhibition designer, and eventually became our Vice President of Exhibition and Design, responsible for the overall look and feel of the museum, its branding and exhibitions. Throughout his tenure he contributed creatively to programs and events, leading to the museum’s successes.

During his time here, Sean brought a powerful intellect, a potent creativity, and a fantastic sense of play to the workplace, all of which helped him create exhibits that wowed guests and made learning feel like an adventure you’d gladly take.

Sean possessed a rare combination of talents: he was very much at home in the highly creative world of art direction, had a deep understanding of the crafting and fabrication process required to construct exciting science exhibits, and was well-versed in the fact-based world of science, bringing a robust knowledge of a wide range of topics into the richness of his work.

Prior to joining Frost Science, Sean worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia where he led content and design development teams interpreting research of the Academy’s Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution. These projects included the core development of significant permanent installations such as The Dig (1994), and Butterflies (1996), both of which were replicated by museums nationwide.

Sean loved collaborating with artists, and in 1995 he worked with one of the best—veteran Warner Brothers cartoon director Chuck Jones—to create an art and science exhibition, The Animated Animals of Chuck Jones. He also worked frequently with artist Ray Troll, creating exceptional exhibitions including the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia’s presentation of Dancing to the Fossil Record, various incarnations of Sharkabet and most notably Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches, a touring exhibition that has drawn over 2 million museum visitors in three countries.

Other recent exhibitions include The Dinosaurs of China, a massive 12,000-square-foot collaborative effort with the Beijing Museum of Natural History; Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure, a touring exhibit and research project about evolution with the New York Hall of Science, and Heart Smart, a trilingual exhibition and research project in partnership with the University of Miami.

Sean also cared greatly about multilingual communication in exhibitions, and he led the development, testing and implementation of multi-language design protocols for all of Frost Science’s guest-oriented projects.

An honors graduate of Seton Hill University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and design, Sean was a Noyce Fellowship Alumni, a board member of the National Association of Museum Exhibitors and lived in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife and daughter.

We here at Frost Science are honored to have worked with such a talented person, but perhaps Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego, who collaborated very closely with Sean on our new Feathers to the Stars exhibit, put it best when he said, “One thing I will always remember him for, besides his particular sense of humor, was his distinct listening hue. When talking to him, while agreeing or disagreeing, I would always feel heard in a delightful way difficult to describe with words. He was oddly reachable. His opinion, no matter how strong, was never an excuse for him to avoid listening to other points of view in an inclusive and constructive way.”

Our sympathies go out to his family, friends and coworkers. Sean loved museums, and loved making them better. He will be sorely missed.

To leave a memory, favorite moment, quote, photo or thought for Sean, please leave a comment on this post. To send via email, please send to celebratesean@frostscience.org. All remembrances will be collected and shared with Sean’s family.

*On Saturday, May 7, please join us to celebrate Sean’s life and many wonderful achievements. Information below.

Giving for Frost Science ramps up as Badia Spices donates $1 million to the capital campaign

Posted on May 2nd, 2016

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By: MiaSci

Badia Spices, the world’s leading Hispanic-owned spice manufacturer, has donated $1 million to the Frost Science capital campaign, joining other foundations and corporate partners, as well as many individual donors in their support of this public-private partnership. Badia’s generous gift marks their connection to Miami’s diverse population, as well as their ties to the Frost Science legacy.

“I recently had the great pleasure of a hard hat tour of Frost Science,” said Joseph “Pepé” Badia, President, Badia Spices. “The science around nutrition and personal well being coupled to the museum’s commitment to education in Miami-Dade County represents a wonderful opportunity for Badia Spices to give back to our community. Our three daughters grew up going to the museum’s location in Coconut Grove. It is an honor to be able to pay it forward!”

Frost Science President and CEO Gillian Thomas added, “We are extraordinarily pleased to receive such a generous gift from Badia Spices. The chemistry of taste, nutrition and the science of healthy living will come to life at Frost Science, all of which speak to the importance we give to the spice in life. Given the vital role that Badia Spices plays in the fabric of our community, we are very grateful for their wonderful gift and partnership with Frost Science.”

The creation of of the Frost Science site downtown, currently nearly finished with construction, has been a team effort. Miami-Dade County has provided major funding for the building design and construction, while the City of Miami provided the waterfront property in Museum Park. Naming donors Patricia and Phillip Frost have been joined in their philanthropic efforts by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Batchelor Foundation, Baptist Health South Florida, The William R. Kenan Charitable Trust, NextEra Energy Foundation and Dell, as well as individual principal donors, including Trish and Dan Bell, Pascale Van Kipnis and Dr. Ted Caplow, Christine Allen, Paula and Robert W. Brockway, Swanee and Paul DiMare, Joseph Falk, Maria Dolores and Maurice R. Ferré, Linda and Dr. David Frankel and the Jack Taylor Family Foundation.

How to make a museum: Some of the prototyping behind our new MeLaβ exhibition

Posted on April 26th, 2016

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By: MiaSci

Rendering of MeLaβ in the Baptist Health People & Science Gallery

Rendering of MeLaβ in the Baptist Health People & Science Gallery

As told by Science Curator, Lindsay Bartholomew

As exhibit developers, our goal is to create an experience that is enjoyable, informative and inspirational for everyone. A big part of this process has involved prototyping and testing topics, game play and activities at events around the community, and then using that feedback to improve our ideas.

Having the opportunity to test ideas is especially important for the MeLaβ, an exhibition located in the Baptist Health People and Science Gallery in our new museum. The highly interactive MeLaβ is all about the daily choices you make that affect your health and happiness. Our goal, as we develop the different stations of the exhibition, is to create elements that let you experiment with your own health choices. You may not even realize how many choices you make every day that affect how you feel. Seemingly simple things like taking a moment to relax, and understanding strategies for grocery shopping (yes, there really are strategies), can have enormous effects on your health.

Did you know that feeling and expressing gratitude has been linked with many mental and health benefits, including better sleep and even stronger immune systems? We wanted to devise something for MeLaβ that would help guests explore this topic and reflect on what they are most grateful for in their lives.

Our first prototype activity on gratitude

Our first prototype activity on gratitude.

At events such as the Day for Children Health Fair at NOVA University, we set up a simple wooden board with pins in the shape of a heart, and invited guests to wind colorful strings around pins representing someone or something they are thankful for, like parents, friends, pets, or good health. The result at the end of the day? We ended up with a beautiful form expressing the interconnections of gratitude, and guests said they felt good as they thought about what they are grateful for (possibly even reaping some of the health benefits). The feedback they gave us helped us hone an exhibit experience on gratitude for MeLaβ.

A young guest adds her string to show what she is grateful for.

A young guest adds her string to show what she is grateful for.

A more advanced design of the gratitude activity, prototyped at the museum’s Young Patron’s event in March.

A more advanced design of the gratitude activity, prototyped at the museum’s Young Patron’s event in March.

Since the MeLaβ has lots of elements, we’ve tested numerous prototypes at other community events, and appreciate all of the feedback we received. Here are just a few of those activities:

– We used memory games and challenges to test guests’ reaction to stress at the Children’s Trust event and the Junior Hearts Club at the American Heart Association’s Miami-Dade HeartWalk.

– We challenged guests to write with the hand that they don’t normally use at the Brain Fair at the University of Miami, so as to explore exhibit ideas related to neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to adapt over time or after injury).

– We created activities displaying the amount of sugar in common foods and drinks, which shocked some guests at the Healthy Halloween event at West Kendall Baptist Hospital and the SOBE Food and Wine Festival’s Fun and Fit as a Family event at Jungle Island, and perhaps led them to make new decisions for the next day’s meals.

Guests investigate the (sometimes shocking) amount of sugar in some foods and drinks.

Guests investigate the (sometimes shocking) amount of sugar in some foods and drinks.

After all of our prototyping, we’ve been able to really craft MeLaβ into something that’s going to be an even more fun, informative, and energizing. Hopefully it will inspire you to think about the range of choices you can make that affect your health and happiness.

Mangrove Planting on Virginia Key with MUVE

Posted on April 22nd, 2016

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By: MiaSci

White House Invites Frost Science to a Google+ Hangout on STEM Education

Posted on April 14th, 2016

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By: MiaSci

By Cheryl Lani Juárez

Children and parents investigate water flow together at Frost Family Science Day.

Children and parents investigate water flow together at Frost Family Science Day.

Frost Science is more than a museum. Our education department leads several federally- funded programs designed to make science education more equitable nationally, and more powerful on an individual basis.

A great example of that is a program we lead called CHISPA (Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool). Funded by the National Science Foundation, CHISPA builds stronger communities and increase the engagement of Hispanic children and their families with science and local science resources, and is a national collaboration between Frost Science, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the ASPIRA Association, and a network of ten other science museums located in cities with growing Latino populations.

Last month the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics invited us to share our work during a national Google+ Hangout on STEM Education. The interactive online session provided an opportunity to talk about CHISPA, which was named by the White House as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education earlier this year, and hear from seven other Bright Spots from across the nation who are also helping to close the achievement gap for Hispanic students.

We talked about the bridges that the CHISPA National Museum Network is building between science centers and their local Hispanic communities through family science events, parent workshops, and the use of a hands-on science curriculum that we developed and tested here at Frost Science.

When asked why informal science organizations like museums are important community resources, we shared an eye-opening statistic: Children have 6,000 waking hours every year, and only spend about 1,000 hours in school. That leaves 5,000 hour or so for other activities! That’s a fantastic opportunity. Science museums such as our can provide rich experiences to kids all over the U.S., and strengthen science learning, not only for children but for the whole family. We here at Frost Science find that exciting.

Children hunt for pill bugs to occupy an ecosystem built in a salsa portion cup.

Children hunt for pill bugs to occupy an ecosystem built in a salsa portion cup.

You can watch the Google+ Hangout here.

The Initiative is hosting a series of public engagements, via Google + Hangout throughout the year. Upcoming events include:

  • Latino Teacher Recruitment – April 20, 2016
  • Early Learning – May 18, 2016
  • College Access – June 15, 2016

 

CHISPA Google + Hangout participants:

  • Cheryl Lani Juárez, CHISPA Principal Investigator, Frost Science
  • Isabel Leeder, CHISPA Project Director, Frost Science
  • Julie Riveron Bello, ASPIRA Program Director
  • Olivia Diaz, Teacher, ASPIRA K-8 Academy, Homestead