The La Paz Natural History Museum: an afternoon with the Tyrannosaurus Rex and ‘other friends’…

[Backstory]: Bolivia is known internationally as “The Country of the Altiplano, which has the highest seat of government of the world, highest navigable lake on earth, is known for pre-Columbian ruins Tiahuanaku etc. What is known that two thirds of Bolivia are located in the tropical lowlands of the Amazon and silver, whose average elevation is 300 m. above sea level with an average temperature of 27 º C. La Paz sits in the Andes Mountain range and is the world’s highest capital. The city is the top place to visit in Bolivia. National Museum of Natural History joined the Bolivian Fauna Collection (La Paz), and the Noel Kempff Mercado National History Museum (Santa Cruz) to bring community and scientific expertise together to enable effective local and regional planning for biodiversity conservation. This association was called Conservación de la Biodiversidad para un Manejo Integrado (COBIMI), or Biodiversity Conservation through Integrated Management.

October Magic – learning through art, history, and now… dinosaurs! A group of friends got to spend an afternoon at the La Paz Natural History Museum, sharing with our children the fantastic lessons learned through investigative work, replicas, stories and, even… tales! Needless to say, everyone had a great time, easy to verify below through the images/photos taken during our trip to the museum.

[Backstory]: Bolivia is known internationally as “The Country of the Altiplano, which has the highest seat of government of the world, highest navigable lake on earth, is known for pre-Columbian ruins Tiahuanaku etc. What is known that two thirds of Bolivia are located in the tropical lowlands of the Amazon and silver, whose average elevation is 300 m. above sea level with an average temperature of 27 º C. La Paz sits in the Andes Mountain range and is the world’s highest capital. The city is the top place to visit in Bolivia. National Museum of Natural History joined the Bolivian Fauna Collection (La Paz), and the Noel Kempff Mercado National History Museum (Santa Cruz) to bring community and scientific expertise together to enable effective local and regional planning for biodiversity conservation. This association was called Conservación de la Biodiversidad para un Manejo Integrado (COBIMI), or Biodiversity Conservation through Integrated Management. Recognizing the urgent need for communities living in and around protected areas to actively participate in and benefit from the conservation of the resources upon which they depend, the COBIMI partners convened workshops to develop dialogue among local stakeholders, provided training for these groups in communication and outreach; and provided financial resources and technical assistance for communities and protected area staff to design and implement, for the first time, their own conservation projects. Several innovative community resource management projects were implemented, including community museums (or “interpretive centers”), ecotourism facilities, trails for tourists that highlight biodiversity, and protected area informational materials.

The T-Rex: The Official Story

“Tyrannosaurus, meaning ‘tyrant lizard’) is a genus of theropod dinosaur. The famous species Tyrannosaurus rex (‘rex’ meaning ‘king’ in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture around the world. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids.

Fossils of T. rex are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the last three million years of the Cretaceous Period, approximately 68 to 65 million years ago; it was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.

Snapshots of The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC.

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! 😮 

Fifth stop: Halls at the Museum of Natural History, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

 

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… Related articles

Images from an exciting visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo, in Washington, DC.

 

Before assuming post at our newest work/life assignment in La Paz, Bolivia, like many other foreign service families, we spent our four weeks of home leave in the US. We visited with family in Virginia and Delaware. We reconnected with friends from the past and from the present. We had fun at parks, public libraries, museums and galleries. We learned and shared experiences about history, culture, nature and life, with our kids. A very intense period – and totally worthy! A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time! 😮 

Fourth stop: The O. Orkin Insect Zoo, part of the Museum of Natural History [Smithsonian], in Washington, DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

At a Glance

The O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the 2nd Floor of the Museum where visitors can observe live insects and their many-legged relatives. Volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and hold, and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the Insect Zoo.

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As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum, I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… 

 

Snapshots from Home Leave: An afternoon at the Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Virginia.

[Backstory: Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! 😮

That said, let’s continue with our tales & reporting from our time back in the US, during this year’s home leave. Before, I shared here some unique images from an intriguing visit to the Butterfly Garden, hosted by the Smithsonian [Natural History Museum], in Washington, DC. Without question, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is the United States’ public playground, with loads of open space for tourists, and kids in particular, to roam. There’s not much here in terms of specific play features, but you’ve got leafy areas for picnics, a carousel, paddleboats on the Tidal Basin, and lots of biking and walking trails.

Second stop: The Clemyjontry Park, McLean Virginia: Link to more information about the park, its hours and features, here.

As in, the packaging for a new toy can be as entertaining as the toy itself. I find that traveling with young kids follows a similar logic. You can do all the museums, monuments, churches, and castles in the world, but what kids really want is a place in which to run around like they do at home. So to aid in that quest, here are my recommendations for small-people spaces in big-city places—namely, adventuresome playgrounds that will stand in for that well-worn play area at your neighborhood school or park.

We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

Snapshots from Home Leave: A visit to the Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC.

 

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! 😮 

First stop: The Butterfly Garden, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

We had the pleasure to visit the $3million butterfly exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The exhibit “Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution” features a 1,200 square foot tropical butterfly garden with approximately 400 butterflies. In the exhibit’s main hall, visitors learn about the co-evolution of butterflies and plants.

The butterfly garden at the Smithsonian is located on the Ninth Street side of the National Museum of Natural History building. 

Four distinct habitats — wetland, meadow, wood’s edge and urban garden — encourage visitors to observe the partnerships between plants and butterflies.

The garden is a joint project of the Horticulture Services Division and the Museum with partial funding from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

The garden, on view at all times, is a perfect complement to a visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo on the second floor of the Museum. [Stay tuned for upcoming posts on other visits to the Smithsonian wonders!] 😮

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 

Why Are There So Few Women in Math and Science Professions?

A great finding, during one of my weekly ‘blog-hoping’ exercises… Thank you, NewsofTheTimesBlog!

“There is a fascinating story on NPR this week about the lack of women in math and science fields that is worth a read.

It explores the reasons that there are more men than women in these fields and the reasons that many women do not stay in these fields. The article lays the blame on women’s awareness of stereotypes regarding their competency in these areas.

The author makes it clear that the problem is not all in women’s heads, but rather lays the blame at the feet of the pervasive messages that women hear on a daily basis about their abilities, or inabilities, in these areas.

I find this fascinating. When I was in middel school, I was told I was bad at two things – OK, maybe 3 things – math, science and art. Whether the people who told me these things recognized that they sent me this messages as a teenager or not, these messages stuck with me over the years; in fact, these messages have stuck with me to this day.

I worked in the field of domestic violence for many years and was always interested in the programs that many shelters have for children who have witnessed domestic violence, where they use art therapy to help children heal and cope with their untenable family situation.

As someone who was told that art was not a personal strength, I always felt more stressed by the idea of this type of therapy than soothed. The messages we are told when we are young stick with us.

The story on NPR seems to confirm this and posits the theory that this is one of the main reasons that women, even women in high level math and science professions, do not stay in those positions.

The story points out a fundamental challenge, in which there are not many women in these fields, and women seem less likely to enter these fields because they do not see themselves represented in these professions.

Quite a chicken and the egg conundrum.

What do you think? Have you, or your children, had any personal experiences with being told that you were not good at something? Have you found ways to counter these messages that work for you? Do you have any ideas about how more women could be encouraged to enter the fields of math and science? Or do you think that it is not really a problem to have this field so dominated by men?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.”

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A fantastic reading, for sure! It’s so good to know there are similar voices/questions/concerns out there! Enjoy the reading!

newsofthetimes

There is a fascinating story on NPR this week about the lack of women in math and science fields that is worth a read.

It explores the reasons that there are more men than women in these fields and the reasons that many women do not stay in these fields. The article lays the blame on women’s awareness of stereotypes regarding their competency in these areas.

The author makes it clear that the problem is not all in women’s heads, but rather lays the blame at the feet of the pervasive messages that women hear on a daily basis about their abilities, or inabilities, in these areas.

I find this fascinating. When I was in middel school, I was told I was bad at two things – OK, maybe 3 things – math, science and art. Whether the people who told me these things recognized that they sent me this…

View original post 276 more words

Paraíba, home of the Brazilian blue tourmaline, encloses the Easternmost point of the Americas

Family day trip to Cabo Branco, in the State of Paraíba. Hidden in one of the Norteastern Brazilian states, it’s possible to discover this ‘gem‘, the geographic place, corresponding to a cape on the Atlantic coast of Paraíba state, which forms the easternmost point of the American continent, five miles southeast of João Pessoa, the state capital. It is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches bordered by flat-topped forms of sedimentary strata called “tabuleiros“, which rise sharply above the beaches to heights between 150 and 500 ft, and enjoys abundant rainfall. The name of the State comes from the combination of the Tupi words pa’ra (river) and a’íba (unsuitable for navigation). The Ponta do Seixas, on Cabo Branco beach, where, according to a traditional saying, “the sun rises first” is the land of the sun indeed, and of an enviable shore — but also of other historical, ecological and cultural beauties.

We got to see the famous lighthouse of Ponta Seixas, and enjoy the idea of being by the farthest East of the Continent.

Ponta do Seixas é o ponto mais oriental do Brasil e da América continental, localiza-se na Parte Leste da cidade de João Pessoa, capital do estado da Paraíba, a 14 quilómetros do centro da cidade e 3 quilômetros ao sul do Cabo Branco, que já foi considerado o ponto mais a leste do continente e que devido à erosão marinha que ao longo dos anos fez com que suas ondas desgastassem o Cabo Branco e depositasse estes sedimentos na Ponta Seixas (fazendo-a aumentar) e passando a ser atualmente o ponto mais oriental das américas.

Do alto da Ponta do Seixas, erigido sobre uma falésia, fica o formoso Farol do Cabo Branco, no formato de um pé de sisal, de onde se tem uma bela vista da orla e do oceano Atlântico. Muitas pessoas confundem a Ponta do Seixas com a falésia do Cabo Branco. São duas formações geológicas diferentes. A ponta é que representa o ponto mais a leste da América e não a falésia do Cabo Branco. A ponta do Seixas é uma estreita faixa de terra mais ao sul da barreira que se prolonga para o leste.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to teach the kids a bit of Geography: