Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Injured Marine Inspires Houston Blood Donors

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Yesterday, our friends at the Houston Museum of Natural Science held a blood drive, collecting 28 units in honor of Staff Sgt. Timothy Brown, a Marine who was seriously injured in Afghanistan. Brown received a Purple Heart on Feb. 23, personally awarded by President Barack Obama.

Timothy’s mother, Barbara Brown, works at the museum, and this is what she had to say about the outpouring of community support for her son:

“Everyone has so generously offered to help Tim, and your support and prayers have helped tremendously. One tangible thing we could all do is donate blood. Tim has received so many transfusions that his original blood has been replaced by donor blood, and he’ll need more with the continuing surgeries. What we each donate will not go directly to Tim, but will go to help others, just as other donors are helping him.”

We were touched by this eloquent, personal appeal for blood donations. Many people give blood for the first time because someone they know is a recipient, and Barbara’s positive outlook reminds us why it’s important to keep giving freely to help anyone in need.

Butterflies for Blood Donors!

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Photo courtesy of

The Houston Museum of Natural Science will be giving away passes to the Cockrell Butterfly Center to all those who donate or attempt to donate at the museum’s blood drive on Thursday from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

The Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science showcases hundreds of live butterflies in a naturalistic rainforest setting. Home to exotic live butterflies, insects and plants, this walk-through rainforest environment is designed to be an interactive experience and is housed in a three-story glass structure.

Butterflies flutter among and occasionally land on the visitors. During a typical visit, one can expect to see approximately 50 or so of the world’s largest and most colorful butterfly species represented by over 1,500 butterflies living in the center.

A Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center donor coach will be parked outside the museum on Thursday, Dec. 9 to take donations from the community. Donate blood at the drive and you’ll have the opportunity to help save a life this holiday season, plus experience the stunning butterfly exhibit!


Saving lives, seeing sights in the Brazos Valley

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

With The Blood Center of Brazos Valley now a fully operational affiliate of Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, I’ve been learning more about the community we serve there to get a better idea of who our Brazos Valley donors might be.  Opening a Neighborhood Donor Center in College Station has presented the opportunity to explore the region a bit – something this native Houstonian has been thoroughly enjoying.

I decided to list some of the neat finds I’ve encountered thus far in the Brazos Valley. If you live in Houston, this area is just a day trip away (and totally worth visiting); if you live in the Bryan/College Station area – well, you still may not realize what treasures are right in your backyard.

1. The Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail.
Lots of folks know about the gorgeous Messina Hof winery in Bryan, but it’s actually only one of a handful (and one of the largest, believe it or not) of the wineries that populate the map between Houston and the Brazos Valley, making up the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail.

This past weekend, a friend and I visited two wineries to the south of Bryan/College station, in Brenham – better known as Blue Bell Country.

The Pleasant Hill Winery is not far off 290 and a lovely place to take in a sunny day. Run by the Cottle family, the winery is a well-oiled machine that exclusively uses Texas grapes, many from its on-site vineyard. The tasting room was busy on an early Saturday afternoon, though not too crowded.

Follow a tour with a tasting (just $3 per person or $5 per couple), then check out the plants up close. Nothing could be sweeter than sipping a glass of Pleasant Hill’s popular Blanc du Bois while walking along the grapevines. Keep an eye out for the friendly, black and white winery kitty that makes her home among the grapes.

A little more challenging to find is the Windy Winery – formerly known as Windy Hill Winery, but changed recently to avoid confusion with Pleasant Hill and a California outpost by the same name. The winery is many twists and turns into a secluded little pocket of Brenham, a tiny structure built next to the home of winemaker August Meitzen and his wife, Linda.

The couple, now retired from a finance business with outposts in Kerrville and Brenham, welcome their guests warmly; their wines range from a sweetly dry Chardonnay to the “Saucy Red,” whose bold name says it all. Rows and rows of thriving green grapevines fill the land alongside their home, one of the telltale signs of the winery’s presence as you approach from down the road.

Any of the wineries will be happy to stamp your Texas Winery Passport – collect four stamps and go online to redeem a special gift!

2. Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.
On a recent trip to the Brazos Valley, plans to visit a health expo at the Brazos Center fell through when I found out I’d misread the hours of operation. But next door the Brazos Center, sharing the same buidling, a vaguely familiar name beckoned me – The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.

I’d previously browsed the museum Web site and seen its name listed in local attraction guides, but an improptu visit with Executive Director Dr. Deborah Cowman assured me that the museum is actually very much a “hidden treasure.” On the eve of its 50-year anniversary, the museum is still being discovered every day by lifelong Brazos Valley residents and those just traveling through the area.

From the museums Frithiof Fossil Collection.

With several permanent collections on hand, including extensive history of plant and animal life native to the Brazos Valley, the museum also is home to a fossil collection and plenty of hands-on activities for visitors. Classes and programs for all ages fill the museum’s calendar – most notably the children’s nature camps currently in session and “Game Day Learn and Play,” an educational offering for kids during Texas A&M home football games.

The day of our visit to the museum, Cowman was anxiously readying for its next temporary exhibit, The Caddo: Traditions and Heritage. Opening to the public tomorrow, the exhibit depicts the life of a living tribe through vivid works of art. Cowman said it was important to her to bring this exhibit to the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History to remind individuals that Native American tribes have a presence in our state today, not just in the history books.

3. Historic Downtown Bryan.
Many cities attempt to revitalize their failing downtown districts by bringing in new business and cultural offerings, with varying degrees of success. Residents of the Bryan/College Station area say that “historic” Downtown Bryan is one that has done it right.

With the Downtown Bryan Economic Development Association at the helm, this district has blossomed into a pedestrian-friendly shoppers’ paradise, with boutiques, galleries and restaurants for every taste. Notable finds are the unpretentious but still sophisticated Square One Bistro; the hands-on family fun of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley; and the funky live-music hub, Revolution Cafe.

A monthly “First Friday” event kicks off at 6 p.m. and invites residents of the Brazos Valley to experience all that Downtown Bryan has to offer, with shops staying open late, live music from local artists and visual art on display. Visitors who want to avoid pounding the pavement all day can take it all in from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage.

The Blood Center is excited to have a Neighborhood Donor Center in Brazos Valley, a place where the locals can help save lives in their own community by donating blood – something else to add to the list of things to do in the area. What are some other can’t-miss spots in Bryan/College Station and the surrounding communities? Give us even more reasons to love having a home in the Brazos Valley!

Five Places in Houston to Go This Summer – For Free

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
Photo by flickr user Jackie Popp

Photo by flickr user Jackie Popp

Summer is here! The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and the cash is… well, still kind of tight. I know, that last thought might ruin the mood a little, but it doesn’t have to.


Because Houston is  a city filled with wonderful, FREE activities for parents and kiddos alike! We’ve decided to share some of our favorite destinations for free fun in Houston this summer. Take a look and pick a few to check out when you have some down time. Come on – what do you have to lose?

Miller Outdoor Theatre

For the kids: Family-friendly productions like a Spanish/English production of Aladdin, the Houston Symphony’s “Sounds Like Fun” concert and the Children’s Hilltop Festival plays.

For Mom and Dad: Musical performances for every taste – from a Bee Gees tribute and a recreation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper’s last concert, to classic jazz and blues. Also, the Houston Shakespeare Festival and productions by Theatre Under the Stars and the Ensemble Theatre.


 2. Discovery Green

Light Rock Express plays Discovery Green.

Light Rock Express plays Discovery Green.


For the kids: Lots of outdoor fun, from splashing in the fountains and bounding across the playground to Gymboree activities for the little ones, and music and dance in the Children’s Discovery Series. This summer also brings opportunities to get up close with animals and plant life.

For Mom and Dad: Get healthy with Zumba!, yoga and tai chi, and browse the locally grown goods at the weekend farmers’ market. The park taps local talent for concerts every Thursday and Sunday, along with the occasional film screening or dance showcase.




3. Houston Public Library
(Various locations)

For the kids: The annual Summer Reading Program lets kids score cool prizes for completing books, and library branches all across the city offer storytimes, playgroups, movies, games, hands-on activities and more!

For Mom and Dad: Enjoy a reading by one of the many authors stopping by the library this summer, brush up your computer skills and fine-tune your resume for the job hunt, or pick up a new hobby. Ever try jewelry-making, cake decorating or crochet?


4. The Orange Show

For everybody!: The Orange Show Monument defies description; it’s one of those things that truly has to be seen to be believed. When people ask me to describe it, I say, “It’s big, it’s orange and it’s in the middle of the city.” Created by a postman with an obsessive love for oranges, it celebrates the fruit and its same-named hue in a stunning visual display. One catch – it’s not completely free. Admission is $1 for adults, free for the kids.



5. The Art Car Museum

Again, for everybody!: Like its affiliate, the Orange Show, this quirky museum can’t be fully explained by mere words. Home to many of the celebrated cars that make their way down Allen Parkway in the annual parade, this free museum also hosts a variety of special exhibitions (currently, the Great Texas Sculpture Roundup).


So tell us, what have we missed? What are some of your favorite, free things to do during the summer? It’s only the first week of June – there’s plenty of time to enjoy them all!

Helping Those Who Help Others

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

If anyone knows what it means to serve and be served by the community – it’s a not for profit organization. So, when Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center puts out a call for volunteer blood donors, non-profits are an obvious choice.

On Saturday, I made my way to a blood drive in conjunction with “Reliant Energy - Energy Efficiency Days” sponsored by one of our committed, non-profit partners, the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

The museum, like many of our giving partners, really shows an extra ordinary commitment to help meet our need of 1,000 daily donations. In fact, in 2008 they hosted four public drives, quarterly employee blood drives and then added extra drives in 2009 for their Body Worlds 2 exhibit. That’s what we at The Blood Center would say earned a great big WOW!

Volunteer Colette Ming discusses blood donation with young boy scout, Joey Perez, and his mom Nereyda Perez

Volunteer Colette Ming discusses blood donation with young boy scout, Joey Perez, and his mom Nereyda Perez.

Oscar Mendez stops by to make his donation before visiting the Body Worlds Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Oscar Mendez stops by to make his donation before visiting the Body Worlds Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Other non-profits working with The Blood Center to help save lives beyond the great things they already do for the community include: San Jacinto Girl Scouts, Discovery Green and the Houston Zoo, which will host its next blood drive Jan. 15.

Do you know an individual or an organization that goes above and beyond to help meet the needs of our community? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear about it.

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