winged postman

This week I got to visit the Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History with my daughter and her classmates for a field trip. The students are studying insects and this exhibit provided an opportunity for them to see living, fluttering, tropical butterflies up close. And guess who we met? The Small Postman butterfly, that’s who!

sm_postman5

Small postman butterflies are so beautiful and can be found in Central and South America. Apparently they taste bad. As caterpillars they feast on passion flowers, which fill them with toxic chemicals so predators are not interested. Kind of like that dog repellent that their human namesakes in the USPS carry?

 

heritage mail

heritage_box_for_children_black_history

Its Black history month and while I understand the value of this designation I wish Black history was not annexed to one month of the year but rather, more fully integrated in to how children learn American history. Heritage Box is a subscription service that teaches children Black history year round by delivering monthly, customized care packages with Black history and African geography materials! Books, games, toys, family activities- these packages could be a valuable addition to a child’s understanding and interest in their African heritage.

future mail

future1future3future2

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) hosted an event on January 2nd at Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturdays, that caught my attention.

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is NOT a government agency. It is the nation’s newest people-powered department, founded on the truth that art and culture are our most powerful and under-tapped resources for social change. Radically inclusive, useful and sustainable, and vibrantly playful, the USDAC aims to spark a grassroots, creative change movement, engaging millions in performing and creating a world rooted in empathy, equity, and social imagination. 

In the museum’s beautiful Beaux-Arts Court the USDAC set up a range of art making activities conceived to imagine the future of New York City, which is currently in the midst of an unprecedented affordable housing crisis. There was a Letters to the Future station, where people could write to a friend or loved one in the year 2036, telling them how they helped to keep New York City affordable. While the solutions to our housing crisis are so much more complex than the actions of individuals, posing the question is valuable. What kind of a city do we want in the future and what can we do collectively to make it so?