NekoCon is proud to announce that this year’s selected charity for NekoCon 19 will be the Virginia Living Museum!
The Virginia Living Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016 – 50 years of stimulating knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the living world.
Created by two community organizations to promote science education, the museum continues to be a museum leader in its use of native wildlife to present its message. Museum visitors encounter more habitats, wildlife and plant species than would be encountered in a lifetime of outdoor adventures in Virginia. The exhibits showcase all of the state’s regions from the upland coves of the Appalachian Mountains to the salty offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and feature more than 250 different animal species, including 11 that are endangered or threatened.
Throughout its history, the museum has received strong community support, currently serving more than 6,700 member families and utilizing the services of 500 active volunteers. The private, non-profit museum also continues to hold itself to the highest standards – it is one of only 13 institutions in the country that is accredited by both the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In 2015, the museum received the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Gold Award for Living Green in the Bay Watershed – recognizing more than 20 years of conservation education and practices. Its volunteer program is certified as a Service Enterprise by Points of Light.
For many years the Bald Eagle was the poster animal for endangered species. Now our national symbol is also a conservation success story. At the Virginia Living Museum visitors can see and learn about the bald eagle and 10 other animals that are on federal or state endangered or threatened lists. See red wolves, the most endangered mammal in North America, and the loggerhead, the only sea turtle that nests in Virginia. Also on exhibit are animals that are not as well known: the Blackbanded Sunfish, Eastern Chicken Turtle and the Roanoke Logperch. The VLM is the only place in the world that exhibits the logperch, a small darter that is native to the Roanoke River watershed. The museum participates in federal Species Survival Programs for the red wolf and seahorse, in the North Carolina Headstart Program for loggerhead sea turtles and in a shark research program with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. It administers the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program in Virginia and leads an area chapter of the citizen science FrogWatch USA.
The museum’s environmental education center, the living green Goodson House, demonstrates techniques and products to build and maintain an earth-friendly home. Its Conservation Garden promotes bay-scaping gardening.
At the Virginia Living Museum, students experience STEM science discoveries that simply can’t be duplicated in a school classroom. The museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits are carefully designed to reinforce Virginia’s Standards of Learning for Science (SOLs) and national science standards. The museum offers a full menu of formal school programs that support STEM education in all grade levels, taught by a professional faculty of scientist/instructors. All school programs are grade-level targeted, fully correlated to Virginia SOLs and national standards, and combine inquiry-based investigations with real museum specimens and live animals for an unforgettable learning experience. For many students, the museum is their only hands-on experience with nature. The museum’s programs have been recognized by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. and Virginia Departments of Education for promoting achievement in science.
As part of the anniversary celebration, the museum launched Future Ready, a $5 million comprehensive campaign for sustainability and science achievement. The campaign is designed to propel the museum into the future by featuring a blend of dynamic exhibits, exciting educational programming, a capital addition and financial security.
A new major attraction, a permanent dinosaur exhibit outside in a natural trail will transport visitors to the amazing prehistoric world of these fantastic creatures. The Dinosaur Discovery Trail will open on Oct. 15, 2016.
The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News. It is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.