Ursula Vaughn and Mary Jane Brand examine the challenges facing the preservation of the natural world and the power of science museums.
UV: Well, first of all, it takes money and people don’t want to spend money, you know. And then two, we don’t have as much room for animals much anymore. And then the weather has changed too, right?
MJB: Yes, they’re showing that elsewhere. But yeah to learn that some of the animals are so endangered and that the gibbons are so rare is – it touches you and it makes you realize that humans are encroaching on their habitats, and this makes it more, it is a really great lesson for us to actually see them. And, you know, it just makes you want to care for them and, you know, imagine them in their own habitats as well. So this [the Greensboro Science Center] serves a really good purpose for that.
UV: Yeah, I also think the more people see the animals in their environment and get to know them, they probably, they want to help more, even if it just in a book, you know, at a distance.
MJB: I guess ever since I lived in Vermont I became a naturalist. I mean just an amateur bird watcher. And one year we had luna moths appearing on our property and they were quite amazing. And here in North Carolina, I had only seen one. And then when I met the man who became my husband, we went on many nature walks and I found myself always looking up in the trees trying to find a luna moth because I wanted to share that with him. And I said, “You know we’ve got to stop looking for luna moths. It’s hurting my neck and I’m gonna trip and fall!” And also we were falling in love and I just said, “Look, let’s not talk about the future anymore until we see a luna moth?” And we made an agreement – that was on July 4th, 2006. And the very very next day after a terrible storm, he found a luna moth under a light inside a stairwell on a parking garage at UNCG. And when he found it, it was still alive and he brought it back to his place and put it on the lampshade and it stayed there. And then we Googled it and we looked up their life span, and it said they only live about a week. So we didn’t think that we shortened its lifespan. It lived a couple more days. And now we have it in a shadow box. And we had a little plaque made that’s engraved that says – oh actually the luna moth had broken legs because I think it had got caught in the storm. And so it had broken legs, but it had beautiful wings. And so the engraving says, “When you lose your legs, you find your wings.” And that’s our, it’s just the symbol of our relationship.
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