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Walmart Day Brings in Big Numbers

Saturday, February 19 brought in over 3800 people to the Orlando Science Center. The popular “Walmart $5 day” has been brought back several times since the first event in May 2009, and the amount of people who take advantage of this special opportunity never ceases to amaze. For many this event is the opportunity to experience the Science Center for the first time.  Steven Daniel, Walmart Market Manager for Central Florida, has said “These are the types of community programs we are proud to sponsor for our Central Florida neighbors.”

The success of the day was evident to anyone who lined up to see a show in the Dr. Phillip’s Cinedome Saturday. All five shows were filled to capcity with thrifty families. With the amount of savings for a family of four at nearly $40, a significant savings was felt. Those who spent Saturday at the Science Center were in luck, as the day also marked the fourth annual Mission Nutrition event. All four floors were lined up with booths, information and healthcare specialists to educate on all things health and wellness. Guests had a great time learning how to take care of their bodies, all while meeting and greeting with different Walmart employees generously who came out to volunteer for the day.

With all the fun and savings its no wonder the Walmart sponsored $5 day is a sensation. With a partner so supportive of science learning for life, we are happy to have them as a partner for such a successful event.

Please stay connected to our website and Facebook page for announcements about more Walmart $5 Days.


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Forest habitats are home to 80 percent of the earth’s plants and animals but only cover 30 percent of the planet’s surface. National Geographic reported the result of a report that was compiled by the nonprofit organization Conservation International for the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. The most threatened areas included have lost 90 percent or more of their original habitats.  The following is a sample of some the threatened areas.

  • Indo-Burma Region- Spanning two million kilometers of tropical Asia, six new mammal species have been discovered there in the past 12 years but only 6 percent of the region is protected by environmental law.
  • New Caledonia- A small set of islands, about the size of New Jersey, located in the very extreme South Pacific, east of Australia, home to five native plant families. Although 22 percent of the land here is protected, 83 percent of the threatened species are not in the protected land.
  • Sundaland- About 17,000 islands in the western half of the Indo-Malayan archipelago, this area includes Borneo and Sumatra, two of the world’s largest islands. Animals such as tigers, monkeys, and turtles are not safe here due to hunting. Also, two species of the Asian Rhino, almost extinct, are found in this hotspot on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
  • The Philippines- Comprised of 7,100 islands in the westernmost Pacific Ocean, the Philippines are known as one of the world’s most biologically rich countries.  However, conservationists fear that the forests of the Philippines are on the brink of extinction due to logging.
  • Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands- These islands off the coast of Africa are home to 8 plant, 4 bird, and 5 primate species that live nowhere else in the entire world. A whopping 50 species of lemur also call this forest hotspot home, including the undeniably cute mouse lemur. Although extensive efforts toward conservation are being made, especially on Madagascar itself, poverty and population growth are threatening the environment through activities like logging, mining, and hunting.

Click Here to learn more about other threatened environments and how you can help.

Madagascar Lemur


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The JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Orlando Science Center for a Science Literacy Program at Evans High School. The program will provide Teacher Professional Development (TPD) to science teachers in order to increase inquiry skills and content knowledge, model creative techniques and offer strategies for encouraging problem-solving and critical thinking to the students of Evans High School.

“Partnerships like this one can be a tremendous support to our schools by enhancing their resources and providing science education in a way that really connects with students,” said Science Center President JoAnn Newman. “Chase’s support is enabling the Science Center to do what we do best and helping us to reach the kids that need us most. It really is a win-win for everyone.”

Along with these tools for the teachers; students will be provided with hands-on classroom activities relatable to "real world" science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) applications. It is the hope of the Science Center to increase the number of students who choose to do science-based activities outside the classroom.

Read more...


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Who says that tigers and orangutans can’t be friends?  National Geographic Kids Magazine reported that zookeepers at Taman Safari Zoo in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia have helped form friendship bonds between meat eating tiger cubs and baby orangutans, who in the wild spend their time in trees to avoid predators like tigers.

tiger-orang-snuggle-lg

The reason zookeepers decided to pair up these unlikely friends was because both sets of animals were essentially orphans. Tiger cubs, Demis and Manis, were rejected by their mother so the zookeepers paired them with another set of orphans, Nia and Irma the orangutans. The four-some were quick friends and played with toys, wrestled, and took naps together.

Zookeeper Sri Suwarni noted that even though they kissed each other and were great friends, as the tigers got older, their more aggressive side came out and they had to be moved to another exhibit. Suwarni is not giving up on peaceful relations between carnivorous cats and tree swinging primates. Now two more apes that Suwarni is raising have made friends with a leopard cub!


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Is that a bird? Or a plane? Nope, it’s a weather balloon! Regularly misinterpreted as a UFO, weather balloons can serve as a reliable source when looking at the weather. Weather balloons were first used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Now, they are not as common as they once were but still can be used to find out more facts about the atmosphere around us. Weather balloons are packed with instruments and then sent up to receive information about the weather around us. The weather balloon reports information about the atmosphere pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed.

The actual instrument used is called a radiosonde. The radiosonde is actually what receieves and transmits the information. The balloon is used as a hoisting method and the radiosonde does the rest of the work. Weather balloons can be used as a prediction tool or to measure weather in current time. Weather balloons are also used to monitor pollution, research, aviation interests, photography, and videography. So next time you look up and think you see a UFO, you might just see a weather balloon doing its job.

Weather_Balloon


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National Geographic’s Little Kids website has found a fun and messy experiment to teach your little kid about the liquid and solid phases of matter. Before conducting the experiment read over all the directions with your child and have them form a hypothesis, what they think will happen. Encourage their curiosity by having them feel all the components of the experiment, water and cornstarch, before making their hypothesis. Once they have decided on their hypothesis conduct the experiment.

Blue_Goo

Here’s what you’ll need for this cool experiment:

  • Newspapers (This can get very messy!)
  • Mixing Bowl
  • 16 ounces of Cornstarch
  • Measuring Cups
  • Water
  • Blue Food Coloring (or whichever color your child prefers)

 

Experiment Procedures:

  1. Pour the 16 ounces of cornstarch into the mixing bowl.
  2. Use the measuring cups to add 1 ½ cups of water to the cornstarch.
  3. Add about 15 drops of food coloring to the mix.
  4. Here is the fun part! Use your hands to mix the experiment ingredients.

Now they you’ve made your blue goo ask your child some questions as they play with it. Was their hypothesis correct? Or was it incorrect? How does the blue goo feel? Does it feel more like the water or the cornstarch? Point out to your child that if you squeeze the blue goo in your hand it feels like a solid but if you open your hand it spreads out like a liquid. The blue goo can act as both a liquid and a solid!


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According to the Jane Goodall Institute, there were approximate 1 million wild chimpanzees at the turn of the 20th century today there are only 170,000 to 300,000. Wild chimpanzee communities have been negatively impacted by deforestation and the bush meat trade. In order to save the chimps, JGI supports communities so that they can manage their own natural resources.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Tanzania to see where a difference is being made. The Center for Great Apes in Wachula, Florida provides a sanctuary for both chimpanzees and orangutans - their larger, hairier (and more orange) cousins. Many of their residents were used in research and the entertainment industry. Some of these great creatures were even kept as house pets!

The individual intelligence and complex social structure of primate society make in next to impossible for chimpanzees raised as pampered pets or actors to interact with their own kind. They simply lack the social skills necessary to survive in the group environment most zoos provide. Desperate owners of what were once adorable baby chimps search for a home for the beloved pet that has simply grown to strong to handle safely. As a result, these creatures are often sold to breeders or other unscrupulous businesses. At this time there are 12 chimpanzees on the waiting list to live out their days at the sanctuary. Due to the high cost of caring for these animals ($10,000 to $20,000 per year) the center must limited the number it can care for.

To learn more about what you can do to save the great apes visit www.janegoodall.org or www.centerforgreatapes.org.


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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