The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' new wing, the Nature Research Center, is perfect for older kids. And it will begin offering a new program for them this Friday with its first Teen Science Cafe.
The free event begins at 6 p.m., Friday, in the Daily Planet Cafe in the Nature Research Center.
The first session starts with a presentation from Nature Research Center director "Canopy" Meg Lowman, a pioneer of tree-top exploration and conservation. (Her work is seriously amazing). Lowman will talk about the state of the Earth's rainforest, how teens can help conserve them and what methods scientists use to discover their secrets. Teens also will visit one of the new wing's Investigate Labs to learn more about insects that wage war on trees.
The teen program is possible thanks to a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to hold monthly Teen Science Cafes during the school year. The museum's Teen Advisory Board, which consists of 20 high school students from 13 schools in the area, will help select topics and speakers.
Teen Science Cafes also will be hosted in Chapel Hill with Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and at the Museum of Forestry in Whiteville. Teen groups will help with the cafes at those sites too.
The programs here in North Carolina are modeled after a popular program in New Mexico.
Right now, the cafes at the natural sciences museum are scheduled for the first Friday of the month through March 1. The natural sciences museum is open until 9 p.m. on these evenings as part of downtown Raleigh's First Fridays.
For more information, go to the museum's website.