Black Rock group goes behind the scenes

Contributed photos Christopher Raxworthy (right), a conservation biologist, at the Museum of Natural History led a family group on a behind the scenes tour of the museum.

Contributed photos
Christopher Raxworthy (right), a conservation biologist, at the Museum of Natural History led a family group on a behind the scenes tour of the museum.

It’s Friday the 13th, just a few weeks before Halloween. You’re planning the first outing for a new group that includes kids and their parents. Where would you take them — a horror movie, a haunted house? How about going behind the scenes at the Museum of Natural History! What could be spookier than a well-preserved reptile or amphibian!

The new group is the Parents Committee of the Black Rock Forest Consortium. It’s open to families with youngsters between the ages of 5 and 17. It’s goal is to use the consortium’s resources (including the forest) to advance scientific understanding of the natural world.

This well-preserved Komodo Dragon looks like it’s still alive.

This well-preserved Komodo Dragon looks like it’s still alive.

Twenty people attended the first outing. They chatted with Dr. Bill Schuster, the executive director of the consortium, and  then visited parts of the museum that most kids and adults never get to see.

Christopher Raxworthy, a conservation biologist, was their guide. As they neared a vat filled with alcohol, he got the boys’ attention. Then he reached in and pulled out a Komodo Dragon that looked like it was still alive.

There weren’t any dragons on the club’s second outing. The members met on Oct. 28 at the Dana Discovery Center in the north end of Central Park in New York City. Then they walked through the park to observe the  science of leaf color. Dr. Schuster led the procession along with Dr. Kevin Griffin, a forest ecologist from Columbia University.

A core group of volunteers from the metropolitan area (New York City as well as the suburbs) is designing the events and promoting them. They’re trying to bring the consortium’s resources to more people.

We visited Emily Cunningham, the associate director of the consortium, this week. She described the program as a series of science education events, where you can “come and learn something you didn’t already know.”

It’s also an opportunity to get out of the house, have fun, and meet people with similar interests. To learn more, email bcliadakis@blackrockforest.org or call 534-4517 ext. 11.

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Editorial Staff