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Science on Site: Explorations on Governors Island

Date & Time

Saturday, June 4, 2011
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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Location

Governors Island

Adventures await! Choose your own adventure on Governors Island and learn to see the world as scientists do! This rich outdoor environment presents a rare opportunity for urban explorers to discover the science all around us—from New York’s underwater world and its oyster population, to the unique cosmopolitan critters and plants beneath our feet, to our planet’s favorite star, the Sun. Join scientists and experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines for a day of exploration that starts with a free ferry ride and ends in a world of wonder.

For directions and ferry information, click HERE.

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Activities Include:
Oysters of New York Harbor
The harbor that surrounds us is teeming with life. Join New York Times bestselling author of The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, Mark Kurlansky, for a hands-on exploration of the oysters in our waters. Learn how these “ecosystem engineers” are cultivated; discover new experimental reefs created to study the restoration of oysters in NY Harbor; and join in the effort by personalizing shells that will become a part of the reefs.  Presented in collaboration with The Hudson River Foundation, The River Project, Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, NY/NJ Baykeeper.
 
The Delicate Art of Sungazing
See the Sun in ways you never have before! Join renowned science writer Timothy Ferris, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, and local amateur astronomers as we peer through dozens of telescopes at sunspots and solar weather.  Get a close up look at the sun from space via satellite.  Explore the sun from the ground with compasses, sun dials, and UV beads.  Bask it its early summer radiance with fellow sun worshippers!  Presented in collaboration with NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, local amateur astronomers associations.

The Great Bug Hunt
Explore the little (and not so little) winged wonders of the arthropod world on Governors Island. In this mysterious world run by insects and their relatives, there are pollinators, predators, plant munchers, and soil cultivators. Many will do everything they can to trick our observant eyes, hide out in flowers, or dupe us into thinking they’re another insect or plant altogether. Take a journey with AMNH naturalist, Jay Holmes, that will introduce you to these amazing creatures right under your nose, over your head, and beneath your feet!  Presented in collaboration with American Museum of Natural History.

Botanical Safari
What’s growing on Governors Island? Make history by being the first to compile a list of the spontaneous plants growing there.  Take a closer look and you’ll be amazed at the island’s diverse plant life.  With magnifying glass in hand, identify local plant species, find out what differentiates poisonous and edible plants, and use a plant press to keep a record of the specimens you collect.  Join us as we learn the ropes of botany from New York Botanical Garden’s best!  Presented in collaboration with The New York Botanical Garden.

Birding Governors Island
Make sure to bring your binoculars and join AMNH ornithologist, Joseph DiCostanzo, on a bird-watching adventure on Governors Island. We’ll investigate different habitats—trees, fields, shorelines, and the surrounding harbor—looking for all kinds of exciting bird species, from the waterbirds of New York’s Upper Bay to migrant birds stopping over on their way to their next destinations.  Don’t miss your chance to meet some of Governors Islands fine feathered inhabitants.  Presented in collaboration with American Museum of Natural History.

Weather World
What causes wind? How do our city’s buildings, trees, and coastlines influence our local weather? Governors Island provides the perfect opportunity to explore weather—from wind to clouds to the “seabreeze effect.”  Come make tornados (in a bottle), watch atmospheric pressure and convection currents work wonders on cans and food coloring, and see what kite flying and shooting a basket while spinning have to do with the weather and atmosphere. Presented in collaboration with CUNY NOAA-CREST Research Center and Howard University’s NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences

Fly Sky High: Kites on Governors Island
In January of 1897, for the first time in America, a kite lifted a man into the air… and it happened on Governors Island! Come see a “man-lifting kite” just like the one flown on the island over a century ago and see the modern version of that kite flying high today. Watch–and get some hands-on experience–as kites are used in wind experiments on the Parade Ground and then head to Picnic Point to build your own kites and enjoy the WSF Kite Garden! Presented in collaboration with Kiteman Productions.

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Participants

  • Timothy Ferris

    Author Timothy Ferris is the author of a dozen books (most recently The Science of Liberty), plus 200 articles and essays, and three documentary films—"The Creation of the Universe," “Life Beyond Earth,” and “Seeing in the Dark”—seen by over 20 million viewers. Ferris produced the Voyager phonograph record, an artifact of human civilization containing music and sounds of Earth launched aboard the twin Voyager interstellar spacecraft. More »
  • Mark Kurlansky

    Author, Journalist Mark Kurlansky is a former commercial fisherman and New York Times bestselling author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, Salt: A World History, The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, and 16 other books. More »
  • Dean Pesnell

    NASA Solar Astrophysicist W. Dean Pesnell is the project scientist of the Solar Dynamics Observatory. He has published 80 papers in a several research areas, including variable stars, the Sun-Earth connection, quantum mechanics, and meteors in planetary atmospheres. More »
  • Robert Naczi

    Plant Systematist Robert Naczi is a plant systematist, who specializes in documenting the changing plant life of the Northeast. Naczi uses a multi-pronged approach in his research, utilizing field, herbarium, and laboratory methods. His field work has given him first-hand knowledge of the flora of much of North America. More »