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New York State Museum Celebrates Earth Day on April 25

ALBANY, NY.- Visitors to the New York State Museum will have the chance to operate remote-control solar and fuel cell cars, see a puppet theater presentation, and participate in a wide variety of eco-friendly activities and programs at the annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 25.

Presentations on environmental problems and solutions, games, and visits from live animals will also be included at the free event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Arm of the Sea Mask and Puppet Theater will present “City that Drinks the Mountain Sky” from 1 to 2 p.m. Through poetry, puppetry and evocative music, this production follows New York City’s water as it makes its way from the Catskill Mountains to 9 million downstate residents.

From 3 to 4 p.m., James Bruchac, an award-winning author and storyteller at the Ndakinna Education Center, will tell stories and show tracking techniques that reflect how Native Americans’ reliance on the natural world helped shape many Native legends, cultural values, and social interactions that continue today.

Throughout the day, Aline F. Gianfagna, of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the state University at Albany, will talk about alternative energy applications of nanotechnology, the science of the super small, and how it can be used to solve the world’s global ecosystem and environmental problems.

With help from Regina Willis, a student conservation associate of the Hudson River Estuary Program, visitors will be able to build a 21-foot puzzle of the river that will include details about its history, physical features and wildlife. Bryan Weatherwax, of the State Museum’s Fish Lab, will display live fish and Museum specimens found in the river. Margaret Phillips of the United States Geological Survey will ask participants to play the part of a water droplet in a water cycle game.

Ron Gill, who is with the Biodiversity Research Institute, will explain how invasive species may threaten the state’s native biodiversity. Forest Ranger Karen Glesmann and Smokey Bear will be on hand to discuss forest protection, while Dee Strnisa, an educator with the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), will have live reptiles and amphibians on hand, including some that are threatened. Ralph Rataul, Janice Morrison and Susan Winchell-Sweeney, of the Museum’s Anthropology Lab, will discuss how archaeology is used to answer questions about how people once lived.

Katie Buckley, of the Adirondack Council, will provide tips on saving energy and discuss the Council’s first-of-its kind citizen-participation carbon-retirement program, which prevents the emission of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from power plants. Leslie Polsinello, of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will talk about how to make homes and offices more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort.

Information on how campers can have the least possible impact on the landscape will be available from Ted Beblowski, master educator with the Leave No Trace program. Volunteers with Friends of the Pine Bush Community, Inc. will display plant materials and animal specimens. Visitors will also be able to examine extinct and endangered animal specimens and touch real mastodon and orca whale teeth through activities led by Museum Educator Nancy Berns.

Master Gardeners Victoria Shipp and Ellen Magenis, of Cornell Cooperative Extension, will introduce gardening fun that includes worms, seedlings and beanstalks as well as other hands-on activities.

Peggy Steinbach, the Museum’s art instructor, will invite visitors to help create a mosaic of a bird using household and manufacturing waste materials that were rescued from a landfill. Robin Tubolino, of Nature Revealed, will provide ideas on how old or used objects can be transformed into useful items, such as bird feeders, flowerpots, kites, sandals and jewelry.

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April 12, 2009

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