Now on View: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, Photomontages by Robert Dash


“When I sit down to eat a meal, I want to know that the food on my plate hasn’t been grown at the expense of the planet.”

“Cuando me siento a comer, quiero saber que la comida que encuentro en mi plato no se ha cultivado a expensas del planeta”.

– Robert Dash

En español

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is very excited to announce that we will host our next traveling exhibit from June 18 through September 4.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects offers a micro perspective on how one part of nature –our food– is connected to climate change.

Using photomontages, Robert Dash’s work ponders threats to our staple foods and provides hopeful prospects surrounding the issue of climate change.

The subjects and sources of Dash’s intriguing images were primarily found in the San Juan Islands, Washington. and he was granted permission to use the University of Washington, Friday Harbor Lab’s electron microscope for these spectacular images.

Robert Dash is an educator, photographer and naturalist whose work has been published by National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed and LensWork. In 2016, he presented a widely viewed TEDx talk entitled “The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.”

More of Dash’s work can be seen at

Photo courtesy of Robert Dash | Foto cortesía de Robert Dash
Photo courtesy of Robert Dash | Foto cortesía de Robert Dash

El Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins se complace en anunciar la próxima exhibición especial, que se llevará a cabo desde el 18 de junio al 4 de septiembre.

La exhibición especial Alimentando ideas. Microvistas del sustento: amenazas y posibilidades, ofrece una perspectiva micro sobre cómo una parte de la naturaleza, nuestra comida, está conectada directamente con el cambio climático.

Por medio de fotomontajes, el trabajo de Robert Dash reflexiona sobre algunas de las amenazas a nuestros alimentos básicos y brinda perspectivas distintas y esperanzadoras en torno al tema del cambio climático.

Los temas y las fuentes de las intrigantes y espectaculares imágenes de Dash se encontraron principalmente en las Islas San Juan, en Washington, y para poder llevarlas a cabo, se le concedió permiso para utilizar el microscopio electrónico de Friday Harbor Lab de la Universidad de Washington.

Robert Dash es un educador, fotógrafo y naturalista cuyo trabajo ha sido publicado por National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed y LensWork. En 2016, presentó una charla TEDx ampliamente vista titulada The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.

Para aprender más sobre su trabajo, visita

Experience FOOD FOR THOUGHT Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Visita Alimentando ideas. Microvistas del sustento: amenazas y posibilidades en el Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins

June 18 – September 4, 2022

18 de junio – 4 de septiembre, 2022

This exhibit is made possible with generous support from:

Esta exhibición ha sido posible gracias al generoso apoyo de:

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The Story of Telstar and Fort Collins

By Barbara Cline, Archive Assistant – Processing, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Is there anything special about July 12, 1962?  I imagine there are several reasons for that date to be special.  According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration article on their website, it was “The Day Information Went Global.”  It was the day that the world first witnessed communications via satellite.

On July 10, 1962, the first active communications satellite, Telstar, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Thor/Delta 316 rocket. 

A Thor/Delta 316 launches with the Telstar 1 satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 17B, July 10, 1962. Courtesy: NASA

The first transatlantic television signal was relayed via Telstar two days later on July 12, 1962, from Andover Earth Station, Maine, to Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France.  Maine and France had the two tracking stations for Telstar.

Bell Laboratories – A Telstar 1 satellite, courtesy Bell Laboratories.

Though only operational for a few months, the Telstar satellite transmitted images from President John F. Kennedy’s press conference, short clips of sporting events and images of an American flag and Mount Rushmore.

The first telephone call via Telstar was between Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and Fred Kappel, President of AT&T. 

“Good evening, Mr. Vice President,” Kappel said. “This is Fred Kappel calling from the Earth Station at Andover, Maine.  The call is being relayed through our Telstar satellite as I’m sure you know.  How do you hear me?”

“You’re coming through nicely, Mr. Kappel,” said Vice President Johnson.

Courtesy, The Coloradoan, 9/29/64

So, we see the beginning of the information age.  But what is the connection between Fort Collins and Telstar, you ask?  Let me tell you!

Telstar 2 was launched by NASA on May 7, 1963 and remained active for two years.  As part of a Memorial Day-Centennial event on May 21, 1964, Myron “Mike” M. Braden, president of the Fort Collins Rotary Club and Rotary district governor in Sweden, Percy Hallencruetz, spoke via Telstar 2.  By using the satellite, the Swedish Rotarian was able to express congratulations on the occasion of Fort Collins’ Centennial anniversary.  Mr. Hallencruetz tied the Centennial slogan to the use of Telstar in making this phone call:

“This is probably why we are making this call the way we are.  But I didn’t tell you, Mike, that this call is taking place by way of Telstar.  The most advanced means of communication in this fast-moving world of ours.  This is our way of helping you make your Centennial slogan come true:  Past Achievements Challenge the Future.  It’s an excellent slogan, and I cannot think of any better way to challenge the future, nor to fulfill the dreams of the past than to speak to you on this historic occasion through the reality of today’s modern communication achievement, the Telstar satellite.”

You can listen to the recording and see a transcript on our website

Courtesy The Coloradoan, May 24, 1964.

When you use your cell phones and other handheld devices, laptops, and televisions, you can proudly note that Fort Collins was at the forefront of the use of satellites.  And as you ponder this piece of local, national, and international history, you can listen on YouTube to “Telstar” by the Tornadoes.  Inspired by the first of the famous satellites, the pop song went to number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

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National Pollinator Week is June 20 – 26. Here’s why pollen is so important.

By Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Pollination is one of the most important things that happens in the natural world and without it, life on Earth would look very different. Here are key points that I would like to share out.

What is pollination?

Many plants use a technique called pollination to reproduce. The plant produces pollen, which must be transferred to another flower of the same species. Once pollination happens, the plant can make seeds, which grow into new plants.

Plants need some help to get pollen moved around, since they don’t move on their own. Only 20% of plants manage to get pollinated with only wind or water as a vector. The vast majority of flowering plants require an animal to help: a pollinator.

What are pollinators?

Many species help pollinate plants: bees, wasps, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats.

In Colorado, our most common pollinators are: more than 250 species of butterfly, 946 species of bees, and more than 1,000 species of moth.

Why should you care about helping pollinators?

Humans depend on plants for many things. A small sample:

  • Take a deep breath. Feel that good clean air in your lungs? Plants consume carbon dioxide, which is a poison for us, and produce oxygen, that we breathe.
  • Eat a strawberry. Many fruits and vegetables we enjoy depend on pollination.
  • Have a glass of water. Plants can filter pollutants from water, making it safer for humans to drink.
  • Heal your pain. Many medicines, like aspirin, are derived from plants. Humans have been using plants to heal themselves for thousands of years.
  • Look at your house, or a building nearby. Chances are, it’s largely made of wood and other plant-derived products.
  • Wash up. Many soaps, shampoos, and other cleaners are made from plants.
  • Get dressed. Many fabrics, like cotton, linen and bamboo, are made from plant materials.

How can you help pollinators?

There are two big threats to pollinators that you can help with.

Many species that act as pollinators are in decline due to something called habitat loss. The environment that these animals evolved to live in is decreasing, largely due to human activity. Any time a suburb is built where there used to be wild lands, the animals that depend on it will die. What can you do? Look up native plants and add them to any landscape you can, so that pollinators have space to live alongside humans. In Fort Collins, try planting prairie wildflowers, like chocolate daisies, in your flower beds instead of cultivated flowers from somewhere else in the world. Have a native plant like yucca in a pot on your balcony. Tell your friends and neighbors to do so too. Remind your representatives that we need to make space for our wildlife neighbors.

The other big factor affecting many pollinators is the common use of herbicides and pesticides. Many of these have been found to affect species that we actually like. In the news recently (spring 2022) is a common herbicide, glyphosphate, that turns out to kill bees as well as the intended weeds. What can you do? Read about any herbicide or pesticide and find out what else it’s going to do, and if you must use it follow the directions precisely. Or, use other ways of controlling pests such as trimming or removing infested plants by hand.

Pollinators at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Check out the honeybee colony featured in our Animal Encounters Zone. These bees form a thriving colony that go out and collect nectar – and pollinate flowers – every day. Come see them hard at work!

More museum resources about pollination:

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Get to know our Volunteer and Internship Coordinator

After some time away, volunteering is back and more important than ever at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. We even have a new volunteer and internship coordinator, Jessica. Let’s check in with Jessica to find more about the program, her vision, and how you can take part in our volunteering efforts. As for internships, those are coming back soon too, and we will certainly keep our community posted as that all happens.

Jessica – with a Swainson’s hawk.

Welcome to Fort Collins Museum of Discovery! What’s been the best thing so far?

Jessica: The best thing about working at FCMoD is the people—it’s a joy to work with such a community-minded group. From our wonderful staff to our dedicated volunteers, providing a meaningful experience and space to learn for the Northern Colorado community has always been the priority. It means a lot to work within an organization that shares a lot of my own goals and values. I started out as a volunteer myself, and it’s been so fun to step into different spaces and roles to see the full spectrum of all that FCMoD achieves.

You join us as FCMoD’s volunteer and internship coordinator. It’s great to have volunteering back. What does volunteerism mean to you?

To me, volunteerism is a chance to not only bring your own unique skills, experience, and knowledge to an organization, but also utilizing the opportunity to develop and grow personally. There’s something really powerful about bringing all our respective strengths and backgrounds together to work towards the same goal.

For me personally (and I bet for a lot of others as well), volunteering also gives me the space to work directly within my passions and interests. My background is in ecosystem science and sustainability, and that’s still where much of my energy goes to. Volunteerism has allowed me to keep my personal values regarding wildlife conservation and sustainability active and relevant within other aspects of my life.

I hear you volunteer at a raptor program. Cool! What’s your favorite part about being a volunteer there?

My favorite part about volunteering with the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program (RMRP) is getting to share my love of wildlife and conservation with the public, especially young learners. Handling raptors is definitely cool, but nothing fills me with more joy than being able to present our beautiful Educational Ambassador birds and educate people not only about the animals, but also what they can do to be stewards of the natural world and help the RMRP achieve its mission.

As an experienced volunteer, what advice do you have for FCMoD volunteers?

Try your best to build community and relationships with fellow volunteers and staff. Not only does this help individuals feel supported and have fun during their service, it also creates a strong foundation for FCMoD’s mission and vision to be accomplished. It’s my belief that a strong sense of community is the basis for an effective volunteer program, and volunteering gives us a space to meet people with similar interests, values, and goals. At the very least, I hope all FCMoD volunteers feel comfortable in coming to me with any questions, concerns, or ideas. I hope to make it clear to any FCMoD volunteer or intern that I am here as their resource and support, and their experience within FCMoD is my priority.

What are some of the goals that you have with volunteers in our community?

I hope to offer a volunteer program that not only helps FCMoD achieve its mission and vision, but also helps propel volunteers through experience and leadership opportunities. One of my main goals is to offer a program where non-traditional students can fulfill school credit through experience-based service learning, rather than in a traditional classroom setting. I strive to provide opportunities for students who might struggle in a traditional classroom but might also thrive within direct experiences. I hope to create and foster a volunteer program that can highlight the important life skills that can be learned while serving as a volunteer, and later applied in other areas of life.

Where can folks go to become a volunteer?

 Volunteering with FCMoD starts by going to our website and submitting an application. I’m always happy to answer questions or give more insight on this process for anyone who is curious—my “door” is always open.

Are there any volunteer events we can look forward to?

 We are hoping to have a special Volunteer Orientation scheduled during the summer. Since COVID put a big pause on our volunteer program and other FCMoD activities, this orientation will be a chance for returning and new volunteers to meet new staff, learn of the changes that have occurred at FCMoD, and hopefully start building a community together. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, so I’m hoping to plan a Volunteer Appreciation party during April to show our gratitude for all our wonderful volunteers.

As far as upcoming volunteer opportunities, there are a couple of exciting new traveling exhibits that FCMoD will be hosting through the summer and fall of 2022. I’m hoping to use these exhibitions as a chance to bring new volunteers into the program especially since they tie into climate change. I feel FCMoD and its volunteers can use these exhibitions to have a powerful impact and help our community feel like they can take real steps towards tackling the issue of climate change.

When will the internship program be coming back and where can folks go for information?

Unfortunately, our internship program will have to wait to resume until 2023. For those wanting more information, all are welcome to email me to learn more.

So, what’s your favorite museum exhibition?

My favorite permanent exhibit is our Animal Encounters zone. I got my start at FCMoD volunteering in that department, and the Animal Encounters husbandry team does a wonderful job of keeping our live animals happy and healthy. Animal care and education is a personal passion of mine, and I love seeing the educational programming that the Animal Encounters husbandry team provides for the public.

My favorite traveling exhibit that has come through so far is Mind Matters. Mental health is such an important topic that impacts everyone, and I loved being a part of providing a safe space for these kinds of conversations to foster. Mental health is hard to talk about, and even harder to do something about. It was so important for me to see not only the conversations that guests and their families started because of the exhibit, but also the resources FCMoD and our collaborative partners were able to provide.

Jessica, as a volunteer at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

What does it mean to work at a place as cool as FCMoD?

Working at FCMoD is cool because we are in a unique position to cater to the needs of not only our local community, but especially to those within the community who are generally underrepresented. It’s also always fun working in a place where I can learn something new every day. From our exhibits to our staff to our volunteers, each piece of information and unique perspective brings about a different dynamic every single day.

I love science, so being in a place that fosters not only scientific curiosity but also how to apply a scientific background to history and culture makes every day exciting and different.

Thank you Jessica!

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