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December 11, 2008

Supporters gather to celebrate ULM Natural History Museum; lecture planned for Jan. 20

More than 60 supporters of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Museum of Natural History gathered last week to celebrate the museum’s impressive displays and improvements on the third floor of Sandel Hall.

Dr. Michael Zambie, who serves as the first president of the Friends of the Museum of Natural History, was among the many supporters in attendance. The ULM graduate received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the university before attending medical school.

“We’ve had the collections or years scattered about in various locations, but it is only in the last year that all the collections have finally been brought together in one spot,” said Zambie.

“The event was an opportunity to show supporters all the improvements that have come about through their selfless support of the museum, as well as encourage more people to become a friend of the museum.”

Zambie said the holiday gathering was also an opportunity to thank the scores of volunteers who donate their time and talent to keep the museum operating. “Most of the things you see at the museum comes about through sweat equity,” he said.

Several dedicated professors squeeze as much extra time at the museum as possible, in addition to their teaching and research, said Zambie. The only scientist who is able to dedicate himself fully to the museum is Neil Douglas, Ph.D., who is retired.

The next project for the Friends of the Museum is a series of monthly scientific lectures that will be open to the public. The first lecture is slated to start at 6 p.m., Jan. 20, at the museum. The topic will be announced closer to the event.

“The lectures will also be a great time for the community to come in and see all the interesting and educational displays the museum offers,” said Zambie.

The museum houses significant research collections of fishes, reptiles and amphibians, plants, fossils and archeological artifacts, and its world-class vertebrate and plant collections are the largest in Louisiana. The museum recently received approval to participate in the National Museum Assessment Program, a first step toward full accreditation.

For information about the Friends of the Natural History Museum, or to become a member, contact Zambie at 318-322-5555.

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