On February 27th 2011 the Gateway Science Museum celebrated its one year anniversary of being open to science and nature lovers from around our region. With a stated mission to “create a life-long learning environment that enables people to explore, interpret, and celebrate the magnificent natural heritage of our region through science, research, and education,” the GSM – and its 26,000 visitors in this first year – has “a lot to celebrate!” said Acting Director Rachel Teasdale. School groups, summer camps, dynamic exhibits and on-going educational lectures and outreach are all hallmarks of the young museum.
At the first anniversary celebration the 400 plus visitors mingled with hard-working board members, including Chairman Judy Sitton, and museum staff, enjoyed the riveting new exhibits on Microbes, participated in hands-on microbe-related activities in the Discovery Room and even got to meet Microbe Man! (There were also very good cupcakes, sorry if you missed those.) Photos: Microbe man visiting with young scientists in the Discovery Room at the hands on table, and cupcakes in the design of the museum logo.
But best of all perhaps from my plant-loving perspective was to see the museum landscapes growing along and to learn about some new garden and plant-based initiatives being offered by the GSM this year. One of these is the Come Grow With Us! initiative being led by museum staff who put together seed packets of California poppies for visitors to take home and plant – and watch grow. As yours grow, so too will the seeds at the museum grow. Museum staff will post photos of the seeds’ development – from germination to leaves to flower bud to flower to seed – on a public flickr account: www.flickr.com/groups/gsmgardening. All photos uploaded will be displayed at the museum over the coming year. Photos: The maturing Gateway Science Museum’s riparian landscape, and Come Grow With Us! poppy seed packet.
Besides the original native bioregion landscapes designed to surround the LEED certified museum building, additional interactive raised beds and weather monitoring stations have been included in the museum gardens. “The raised beds – one for native plants, one for edibles, and one for on-going plant and soil-based experiments run by college students – are great places for visiting kids’ groups and camps to get their hands dirty and see how much there is to learn in an actively worked garden space,” Jessica Edmondson, a museum docent and Animal Science and Biology student at CSU, Chico told me as we walked around these stations. “In this second year, we hope to include even more Discovery Room activities that take visitors out into our growing gardens!” Photo: Museum docent Jessica Edmondson handing out packets of poppy seeds to visitors at the Gateway Science Museum’s one year anniversary. Museum Chairman of the Board, Judy Sitton and board member Jesse Allread are behind the table greeting visitors.
In addition to the museum garden initiatives, the GSM is partnering with the Chico State Herbarium for their 3rd Annual Students’ Plant Photo Contest. Students from the 6th to the 12th grade are eligible to submit up to two of their own photos of plants to win cash prizes ($100 for top prize) and admission to one of the Herbarium’s many good workshops throughout the coming year. All photos should be submitted in 8 x 10 format to the Gateway Science Museum ticket office, with title or subject, photographer’s name, grade level, school and contact information. They can also be mailed to 2011 Plant Photo Contest, Chico State Herbarium, CSU, Chico Chico Ca 95929. Winning submissions will be printed in the Chico News & Review and will be on display at the Herbarium’s annual open house May 13th, 2011 from 12 – 4 pm. Submissions will also be displayed throughout the coming year in the galleries at the Gateway Science Museum. For more information on this contest please email Rod Lacey at email@example.com. Photo: Buds on a native willow at the Gateway Science Museum.
For more information on the gardens or plant programming at the Gateway Science Museum, please visit their website: www.gatewayscience.org.
In a North State Garden and Jewellgarden.com are THREE YEARS OLD as of February 2011. Happy Anniversary! All purchases made from Jewellgarden.com’s shop page of beautiful, botanically inspired printed products directly support the production of this weekly gardening program. All remaining 2011 Calendars and holiday cards are now on Sale 50% off! Follow Jewellgarden.com/In a North State Garden on Facebook – become a fan today!
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In a North State Garden is a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California. It is made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum – Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time. Podcasts of past shows are available here.