Central Florida 'Living Laboratory' Community Hosts One-of-a-Kind Weekend of Nature & Science Event

Harmony Institute Welcomes NYC Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cincinnati Zoo’s Thane Maynard and Other National Leaders, April 16-17
 
April 8, 2010 - PRLog -- Educators, students, parents, and health and science professionals have a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the discussion of how nature can benefit our children in a weekend of events hosted by the research-based nonprofit Harmony Institute on April 16-17, 2010, in Harmony, Fla.

“We’re hoping to put Harmony on the map in the minds of science professionals and families to see why healthy living is directly intertwined with exposure to nature and science,” said Martha E. Lentz, founder and president of The Harmony Institute.  “This weekend will bring together a diverse group who will not only share their expertise, but be challenged to come up with new theories that we can share with our friends and families so they too can live a better life.”

In partnership with Osceola County School District and Florida Institute of Technology, The Harmony Institute’s “Nature of Science Conference” begins with headlining celebrity astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of “NOVA ScienceNow” and one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the U.S., speaking about the effects of light pollution to more than 600 community leaders April 16 at an invitation-only kick-off event featuring a multi-county science competition.  Following his presentation, Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) Provost Dr. Dwayne McCay and Dr. Tyson will award four-year FIT scholarships to the winners of each science category.  

The events continue with the “Children on a Seesaw” Forum, open to the public and free with online registration.  Held April 17 from 4-6 p.m., the forum features a diverse panel of national health, science and environmental experts coming together to explore the science of how greater understanding of and exposure to nature can benefit the education and health of our children.  Panelists will tackle such topics as balancing formal and informal learning environments, the relationship of technology and nature, and ways to connect children to the natural world.  In-service points towards CEU credits are available for educators through Orange and Osceola County School Districts.

“We created a diverse panel to discuss wide-ranging topics that all relate back to the relationship between the natural sciences, and the health and well-being of our children,” said Lentz.  “Everyone from educators, health care professionals and researchers to animal scientists and conservationists will have something to learn from this free forum.”

The forum features expert speakers and panelists including:
      • Nemours Children’s Clinic Orlando Medical Director Dr. Judy Wall;
      • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Officer Dr. Arthur Wendel;
      • Purdue University Center for the Human-Animal Bond Director Dr. Alan Beck;
      • Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens Director Thane Maynard;
      • Florida State University Solar Research Center Director Dr. Anjaneyulu Krothapalli;
      • Green Chimney Children’s Services Associate Director Duncan Lester; and
      • Florida Institute of Technology Science and Math Dept. Head Dr. David Cook, and more.

The forum is followed that evening by the Seventh Annual Dark Sky Festival from 6-11 p.m., a family-friendly event that attracts thousands of local residents each year to explore the marvels of astronomy and the importance of protecting dark skies for the benefits of both humans and wildlife.  This event, concurring with the International Dark Sky Association, will feature entertainment for children such as bounce houses.  For more information visit http://www.darkskyfestival.com.

The Harmony Institute is providing free child care during the forum for anyone wishing to attend both free events.  The events will take place at Harmony's Old Greensides in Osceola County at 7251 Five Oaks Drive, Harmony, Fla. 34773.

Forum seating is limited and pre-registration is required.  To register, visit http://www.harmonyinstitute.org.

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The Harmony Institute is a nonprofit organized to research and promote the health and education values of human interaction with nature and animals. It is the visionary behind the development of the Town of Harmony located in Osceola County, Florida.
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