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Museum of Nature & Science Update

by Mike Walczak, Museum Director of Museum of Nature & Science

This article is part of a collection of updates in the Winter, 2014 edition of Muse News, the newsletter of the Las Cruces Museum System.

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed. It seems as if just yesterday we were putting the finishing touches on the building and preparing for the grand opening celebrations. After almost five years of planning, the big day arrived, and we opened our doors and looked toward the future. Looking back at everything, I am very proud of our accomplishments and curious to see where this takes us.

With a new building came new challenges, and it took some time to settle into our new home.

Volunteer Anthony Bailey presenting "Dinosaurs A to Z"

Volunteer Anthony Bailey presenting “Dinosaurs A to Z”

This past year, we added one Co-Op student position and four work-study student positions from NMSU to our operations here at MoNaS, bringing the total to three Co-Op students and seven work-study students. These ten student positions allow us to offer the kind of high quality, family-friendly programing that you have come to expect from us. Since the opening of MoNaS, we introduced several new programs—”Dinosaurs A to Z,” “Family Science Saturday,” and “Planeteers” and “Nature Kids” as part of our Pre-K Thursdays program—while expanding several of our existing programs including “Arbor Day,” “Pi (π) Day,” and “Tombaugh Day.”

Over the next year, visitors will notice several improvements and additions to the museum. First, a replica Permian Period dig pit complete with a cast of a Dimetrodon skeleton is planned for next to the porch on the Water Street side of the building as the first in a series of outdoor exhibits. This year should also see the unveiling of our energy dashboard interactive, allowing visitors to track energy usage here at MoNaS and the amount of energy produced by the large wind turbine and the photovoltaic panels on the roof. Improvements to the lighting of the layer 21 track-way display are also under way, which will significantly improve the presentation of the exhibit.

I do want to take a moment and say good-bye to one of our work-study students who is leaving us at the end of the semester. Miss Sativa Cruz, who has been working in the Nature Center, is moving on to bigger and better things and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors. But fear not, Sativa has filled out all of the necessary paperwork and is already on the schedule as a volunteer in January.

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