Museum Musings

Volunteer of the Month: May

AndyPlankenhorn.jpgWe are pleased to honor Andy Plankenhorn as our May Volunteer of the Month.

Andy Plankenhorn is a retired Researcher for Atlanta Public Schools and has been volunteering with Fernbank Museum for 18 years. He originally began volunteering due to his interest in nature studies and his admiration for the Museum. He has a love of the arts, history and culture and spends his spare time gardening and traveling in other countries with his wife. He is a book-lover and also volunteers with the Friends of Decatur Library Book Sale.

Andy’s favorite thing about being part of Fernbank is when a child looks up and says, “thank you!”

Thank you Andy, and to 300+ volunteers that donated more than 17,000 hours of service to Fernbank Museum. We appreciate your dedication and commitment!

If you are interested in giving your time to the Museum, please contact us or 404.929.6360.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:22

Earth Day at Fernbank Museum

As part of Fernbank Museum’s education department, I had the great pleasure of celebrating Earth Day Fernbank style!  Our Earth Day celebration featured guided explorations in Fernbank Forest and restoration in the Museum’s backyard.


Our environmental educators shared passions and knowledge of Fernbank Forest’s unique character and ecology with visitors. Fernbank Forest is 65 acres of old-growth forest, featuring trees as much as 300 years old, a rich diversity of flora and fauna and a relaxing experience for all. During our forest explorations, guests learned about wildflowers, animals, tracks, the watershed and trees of Fernbank Forest at a variety of educational stations.


At the pond station, guests saw mosquitofish up-close, looked at water samples for clarity and learned about the local watershed.


Guests investigated trees at another station.  Actual tree slices showing growth rings helped us learn more about trees. Visitors identified the surrounding trees, with the help of leaf identification cards and quizzed their friends.


At our station near the stream, visitors saw salamanders that live in the Forest, as well as salamanders native to Georgia. We learned about indicator species and their importance to the ecosystem.

At the end of the day, we enjoyed the outdoors and had many opportunities to see exciting things in Fernbank Forest. We spotted Yellow trillium and Nodding trillium along the trail, enjoyed the lush green foliage of our native hardwood trees and saw a few local creatures along the way.


We wrapped up the weekend with a restoration project in the woodland behind the Museum. Twenty five community volunteers joined Ferbank’s team to remove non-native invasive plant species, and then transplanted native wildflowers that had emerged in the middle of a trail to a safer location. We experienced some excitement with the discovery of a large female garter snake! All enjoyed the work and made a huge impact on the health of our woodland. A big shout out to Stacey, Robert, Pamela, Rocio, Isabel, Tim and the Georgia State Football team!  Without your help, we would not be able to make such strides in our forest restoration efforts.


Celebrate Earth Day with us next year or become a restoration volunteer and make your own impact for Mother Earth. Public programs, including monthly activities in Fernbank Forest, can be viewed on our calendar of events.
Lynn Anders, Education Program Manager—Animal Programs

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:35

Volunteer of the Month: April

Olivia-Wells.jpgWe are pleased to honor Olivia Wells as our April Volunteer of the Month.

Olivia is a recent addition to our volunteer team who spends most of her volunteer hours at the A Walk Through Time in Georgia entrance desk. As a Geology Major at State University of New York at Oswego, Olivia shares her knowledge and passion of geology with visitors Fernbank Museum visitors. When she is not volunteering she spends her time reading, sewing and hiking.

If you are interested in giving your time to the Museum, please contact us at or 404.929.6360.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 10:04

Volunteer of the Month: March

Earl-Johnson.jpgWe are pleased to honor Earl Johnson as our March Volunteer of the Month.

Earl Johnson is a records manager for a company called Colonial Pipeline, and he paints, draws and sculpts in his spare time. He has been part of the Polaris volunteer guild at Fernbank Museum since 2011.

His favorite part of being at Fernbank is seeing kids’ expressions and the way their faces light up when they first see the Giganotosaurus in the Great Hall. He also enjoys meeting international visitors.

Earl said, “I travel a lot with business and always check to see if different cities have natural history museums; I’ve been to museums in many cities and this one is by far the best.”
If you are interested in giving your time to the Museum, please contact us at or 404.929.6360.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:49

Fernbank Hosts “VIK”

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Fernbank Museum hosted a "VIK" – a very important kid, Kenny Stewart. Kenny, age 12, visited the Museum along with his mom, Anna, and brother, Alex, age 7, as part of the Make A Wish Foundation. Everyone was excited to welcome Kenny to Fernbank. In fact, Kenny's visit began with a special welcome card delivered by the Museum's mascot, Giggy A. Dinosaur.


Next, Kenny and his family began touring the Museum, starting with A Walk Through Time in Georgia and then to Fernbank NatureQuest. Our "VIK" also was given a behind-the-scenes tour of Fernbank's live animal collection and a private animal encounter with educator Charlee G.


Following the animal encounter, education VP Christine B. gave the group a tour of collections – an area of the Museum that houses a number of artifacts which belong to the Museum, but aren't on display to the public.


Kenny's visit concluded with a trip to Alaska through the powerful imagery of Fernbank's IMAX® Theatre.


We really enjoyed getting to meet Kenny and his family. It was not only a great day for Kenny, but also for everyone at Fernbank. We were delighted to share the Museum with them in honor of Kenny's Wish Day. Thank you, Kenny, for making Fernbank Museum part of your Make A Wish-Georgia experience!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 11:13
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!