Posts tagged ‘Skies Alive’

The Explorers Program Has Skies Alive Family Fun Day Under Its Wing

Last fall, Newark Museum Explorers launched their inaugural Skies Alive Family Fun Day – a fun-filled event aimed to expose the public to bird migration and educate visitors about conservation issues through hands-on birding activities.  The second annual Skies Alive Family Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 from 11 am to 4:30 pm.

Red Knots Breeding in NJ, photo credit - Kevin T. Karlson

Explorers will once again celebrate the spring migration by independently developing and implementing the Skies Alive Family Fun Day.  During the event, visitors will have the opportunity to assimilate a flock of migrating bird species and receive passports and migrate from one activity to another throughout the Museum. Visitors will also experience bird walks in the garden, participate in the bird migration challenge, yell “chickadee-dee-dee-dee” as they play bird bingo, dissect owl pellets, burn off those calories by imitating bird movements during the bird-xercise activity and get their faces painted by trained face-painting Explorers.

 The Skies Alive Family Fun Day is an arm the environmental conservation component of the Explorers Program, a curriculum that is designed to expose students to their environment, enlighten them on the necessity to protect it and foster basic science skills through birding activities. Through this curriculum, students are able to observe the birds, collect data (in this case the identification marks, size, shape, songs and calls) interpret the data and classify and identify the birds. Explorers also participate in New Jersey Audubon Society’s annual World Series of Birding – a 24-hour bird identification competition aimed at fostering interest in bird watching and creating awareness of its shrinking habitats.

The Explorers participating in New Jersey Audubon Society’s annual World Series of Birding.

 Planning the Skies Alive Family Fun Day incorporated all components of the Explorers program’s curriculum, including science, arts and life skills. The Explorers developed and implemented the activities by strategically focusing on different science concepts.  They worked with different staff at the Newark Museum in preparation of the day, from marketing, coordinating the logistics, to training staff and peers on how to work with visitors.

 While planning this event, Explorers developed problem solving skills and worked together in teams to achieve a common goal – to encourage the audience to explore, appreciate and conserve the environment by developing an educational fun-filled day through 12 bird-related hand-on activities. Last year the day brought in 500 visitors, and the team is hoping to surpass that number.

 Newark Museum’s Explorers Program is a one-of-a-kind initiative! The program continues to provide a valuable experience for at risk youth by helping them with the transition from blossoming young adults to career-minded professionals.

 The Newark Museum is now accepting Explorer applications. To apply or learn more about the Explorers Program, visit


Chidinma Agostinelli is the coordinator of the Explorers Program.

March 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm Leave a comment

Skies Alive! Bird Migration in the Garden State

Ismael Calderon is the Director of Science at the Newark Museum and curator of ‘Skies Alive: Bird Migration in the Garden State.’

September 22, 2010 marked the first day of fall and the period of time when many birds began their migration.  Shorter and cooler days trigger the birds’ internal biological clocks informing them that it is time to fly south where the weather is warmer and food more plentiful.  Perhaps you have begun to see flocks of blackbirds feeding on berries to fuel up for their long and dangerous flights, or you have seen flocks of Canada geese in V-formation flight navigating their way south.  These are tell-tale signs that fall migration is in full swing.

 Birds pass through New Jersey as part of their migration along the Atlantic Flyway navigational route.  During spring and fall migration, birds are challenged with light pollution, electric power wires, storms, habitat degradation and pollution, predators, climate change, to name a few obstacles. The Newark Museum’s interactive exhibit Skies Alive! Bird Migration in the Garden State explores the birds’ challenges, their biological adaptation and their navigational skills to negotiate their arduous flights.

 On Saturday, October 9, the Newark Museum has dedicated an entire day to bird migration called, Skies Alive & Family Activities.  The Museum’s Explorers—trained high school student educators—will lead visitors through hands-on activities and demonstrations on the importance of protecting our amazing feather friends.  The event is an opportunity for discovery and to preserve New Jersey’s natural resources to ensure the survival of these transient and resident birds.

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October 4, 2010 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

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