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The Academy in the News

Check back here regularly for the latest stories about the Academy of Natural Sciences in the news. Our scientists, research, educational programs, special events, and exhibits are frequently highlighted in local, national, and international media.

Strands of History

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News/

Nov. 12

An interview with Senior Fellow Robert Peck about his Specimens of Hair book, exhibit and Academy Town Square talk. In the Daily News, the feature was pictured on the cover of the newspaper. 

Science Friction? Mermaids and dragons to join Academy’s dinos

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News,

Nov. 9

“The highly august, if sometimes playful Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, will mount an exhibit next year featuring mermaids, dragons, griffins, and other fantastical creatures. Is this presenting “fake News”? 

The Strange Allure of Hundreds of Samples of Hair

Atlas Obscura

Nov. 9

A feature on the Browne hair collection, the subject of Senior Fellow Robert Peck’s new book, Specimens of Hair. 

A hairy collection: Locks belonging to Washington, Jefferson and Napoleon on display in new exhibit in Pa. museum

Penn Live

Oct. 31

Academy is putting some of its famous hair albums on display to coincide with a new book and Academy Town Square talk by Senior Fellow Robert Peck. 

Parkway Soiree Celebrates the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s 100th Anniversary 

PHL 17

Oct. 26

Live interviews with Public Experience Manager Mary Bailey in Dinosaur Hall and with specimen display for Parkway 100 celebration and Dinos After Dark; Judi Rogers, Parkway Museums Council, also interviewed.

Philadelphia Shell Show


Oct 23

Live interview with Collection Manager Paul Callomon in the Malacology Collection in anticipation of the 35th annual Philadelphia Shell Show.

Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Threatening Parts of Pa. Agriculture, Environment

CBS 3 

Sept. 25

Entomologist Greg Cowper describes the spotted lanternfly invasion of Philly and Pa.

What it takes to restore an 80-year-old diorama at the Academy


Sept. 20

Exhibits Director Jennifer Sontchi and Designer Lauren Duguid describe the process or restoring the dioramas and the new signage to come. 


Drexel’s Academy of Natural Sciences to reopen 80-year-old dioramas after restoration


Philadelphia Inquirer,

Sept. 19

A feature highlighting the beauty in the small details of the renovated gorilla and takin dioramas, including the new snails and snail trail. 


Thieves stole 7,000 creepy insects and spiders from a museum. But why?

The Washington Post

Sept. 11

Live invertebrate specialist Karen Verderame says there is a thriving black market for exotic insects.

Philly insect museum heist reveals bugs are hot items on the black market

The Philadelphia Inquirer,

Sept. 5–9

Live Invertebrate Specialist Karen Verderame discusses the black market for exotic insects in light of the extensive theft from the Philadelphia Insectarium. 

Centuries-Old Plant Collection Now Online, A Treasure Trove for Researchers

NPR “Morning Edition” and more than 80 affiliate public radio stations across U.S.

Sept. 2

Botany Associate Curator Rick McCourt is interviewed about the Academy’s role in a multi-institutions project to digitize and make available images and data on preserved plants collected along the East Coast.

Podcast Jason Weintraub

I Hear America Talking


A podcast with entomologist Jason Weintraub about Bug Fest, the Entomology Collection and the Academy. The podcast aired online and on WRDV FM and its affiliates in Greater Philly area.

What fish live in the Schuylkill and which are safe to eat?

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Aug. 30

Senior scientist Richard Horwitz discusses the health of the Schuylkill River and how fish ladders help shad. 

These strands of Lincoln’s locks could sell for thousands of dollars. What’s behind the fascination with presidential hair?

TIME magazine

Aug. 23

Senior Fellow Robert Peck discusses the Academy’ famous presidential hair collection in a story about Lincoln’s locks gong on the auction block.

Among the dead flowers at the Academy of Natural Sciences, a Civil War mystery unfolds

The Philadelphia Inquirer 

Aug. 17

Academy botanist makes a surprising discovery in the Botany Collection: a plant plucked from the Gettysburg battlefield shortly after the battle.

Delaware Valley seeing one of the wettest years in a century

The Intelligencer 

Aug. 15 

Eight years ago, Academy Science VP David Velinsky predicted substantial increases in extreme precipitation events in the Philadelphia region.Aug. 15

Bug Fest Returns to the Academy

NBC 10

Aug. 8

Live interview at NBC studio with insect specialist Karen Verderame about Bug Fest.

Bug Fest is Back at the Academy


Aug. 7

Personality Pat Gallen visits the Academy for a live segment about Bug Fest and the importance of insects with insect specialist Karen Verderame.

Diorama Restoration at the Academy of Natural Sciences Confronts Loss & Conquest

Hidden City

Aug. 6

A spring cleaning of the dioramas 80 years in the making. A story of collection, conquest and colonialism.

BEN Around Philly


BEN FM 95.7


Aug. 4 

Podcast with insect specialist Karen Verderame on Bug Fest and insects role in the environment.


DelVal professor publishes paper on new species of ancient aquatic predator

Bucks Local News

Aug. 2

Academy Research Associate Jason Downs and paleontologist Ted Daeschler describe a new species of Devonian-age fish from the Arctic.

Check out live insects at Bug Fest at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Philly Voice

July 19

A preview of Bug Fest.

How Philly’s arts and cultural institutions are using booze to attract wider and younger audiences

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ News

July 19

Dinos After Dark and Door 19 are featured in a story about the trend of local museums using beer to attract younger audiences. 

Here’s why you might be seeing more fireflies than usual this year in the Delaware Valley

Philly Voice

July 6

Entomologist Jon Gelhaus describes the factors affecting local firefly populations.

Science museum to show off its dino might at night

The Philadelphia Tribune

June 23

A feature on Dinos After Dark, including July 17 with BalletX.

How fish meant for market might end up in a museum

Atlas Obscura

June 12

Feature with lots of images of ichthyologist Mark Sabaj’s quest to add an opah to the collection; includes historical perspective from Senior Fellow Robert Peck.

Get Up Close and Personal With ‘Xtreme Bugs’

Philadelphia Family and Main Line Parent

May 24

More than 20 massive animatronic bugs invade the museum in this new immersive exhibit.

A magnified look at the fascinating world of insects

KYW Newsradio

 May 22

“It’s a bug’s life and we’re just living it;” a look at the new Xtreme Bugs exhibit.

Xtreme Bugs opens Saturday


May 23

Live interview w Exhibits Senior Director Jennifer Sontchi from the exhibit. 

17 Gigantic bugs have crawled into the Academy of Natural Sciences for ‘Xtreme Bugs’ exhibit

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/

May 22

A preview features on Xtreme Bugs. 

10 Reasons You Should Visit the Academy of Natural Sciences this Month

Mommy Poppins

May 21

Dinosaurs is the first of 10 reasons to visit us.

Bird Nerd podcast


May 15

Ornithology Curator Jason Weckstein is interviewed as the first guest on a new podcast.

With nation’s first city-owned mussel hatchery, Philly employing bivalves in the battle to improve water quality

Plan Philly

May 2

Scientist Roger Thomas is interviewed in a story about the new partnership agreement with the Academy and six others to form the Aquatic Research and Restoration Center.

Malaria-carrying parasites spread more when they can jump into multiple birds

April 30

A new study by ornithologist Jason Weckstein on blood parasites and birds.

Wild in the Streets: Tracking Philly’s Coyote Connection

Hidden City

April 30

A story about a wild coyote running around Philly, include a bit about Thomas Say, one of the Academy’s founders and his connection to the mammals in the 19th century. 

How big cities like Philly are creating entirely new animal species

April 17

Entomologist Isa Betancourt’s insect survey in Logan Square fountain is featured in a story about the Academy Town Square “How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution.”

Haddon Township Therapy Chicken Rosebud Died


April 16

On the death of Rosebud the therapy chicken, Educator Hollie Barattolo comments on the important role the animal played at the museum’s Access to Autism events. 

William Penn Foundation gives $42M to protect Delaware River, bringing total to $100M

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/

April 4

Academy receives $3.2 million grant from the William Penn Foundation for its leadership role in the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.

Nerdy nightlife: 9 awesome after-hours events at Philadelphia museums

Penn Live 
April 2
Door 19 gets its due in this roundup of nerdy events at museum nights.

Dinos After Dark and Crocs

Fox 29

March 23

Fox 29 does a live segment about Dinos After Dark  in the Crocs exhibit, with an owl, Russell Byers kids and a table of beer, T. rex tacos and loaded nachos.

Giant chocolates commemorate first dinosaur skeleton ever mounted for display

Billy Penn

March 3

Shane Chocolates delectable offerings based on Academy specimens at Paleopalooza.

Why we need to do more to protect water quality in the Philadelphia region

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Daily News/

March 9

Op-ed by President Scott Cooper and Philadelphia Horticultural Society President Matt Radar calling for partnerships and other measures to protect our water in face of federal regulation rollbacks.

Cape Town water crisis reminds how Philly has been able to avoid its own drought disaster

Philly Voice

March 1

Rising sea levels not only could put portions of Philadelphia underwater, but they threaten to push the salt line farther upstream, says Carol Collier, senior advisor for watershed policy and management.

Mudsnails provide water quality indicators

Environment Guru

Feb. 28

Academy scientist Elizabeth Watson is lead author on a new study that is the first to show that eastern mudsnails can be used to determine water quality.

Plants found to evolve away from defenses that do not work for them anymore

International Business Times

Feb. 26

Tatyana Livshulz, associate botany curator, is lead author of a study about plant defenses; the findings can help scientists model the process of co-evolution.

Playtime for Grown-ups: Adult nights at your kids’ favorite spots 

Family Focus Media

Feb. 2

Door 19 and Dinos After Dark are among the great places where adults can have fun after hours.

Academy of Natural Sciences renovates its dioramas for the first time since the 1930s

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/

Feb. 20

A feature on the Academy’s diorama renovation project. Interviews with Exhibits Director Jennifer Sontchi and Senior Fellow Robert Peck.

Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World


Feb. 20

Live segment with Exhibits Director Jennifer Sontchi in Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World.

Long before Trump, we were obsessed with presidential hair


Feb. 19

Senior Fellow Robert Peck is interviewed about the presidential hair collection on the occasion of a N.Y. library finding an envelope of Washington’s hair.

After more than 80 years, dioramas at the Academy of Natural Sciences get a cleaning


Feb. 19

Coverage of the glass being removed from the two dioramas. Interviews with Senior Fellow Robert Peck and Exhibits Director Jennifer Sontchi.

The feverish competition behind the Academy of Natural Sciences’ legacy

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/

Feb. 15

The Cope and Marsh Bone Wars is recounted in an article about the diorama renovations.  

Learn all about crocodilians at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Pottstown Mercury

Feb. 14

Get to know the live crocs in Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World.

Fresh look at old animals

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Feb. 12

The Academy’s dioramas are featured in a photo spread in light of the upcoming renovation of two displays.

The wiring for walking developed long before fish left the sea

Science News

Feb. 8

Vertebrate Biology Curator Ted Daeschler comments on a study about  how ancient fish evolved the brain circuitry that led to walking on land.

New exhibit in Philly has a bunch of live crocodiles

Philly Voice

Feb. 6

“You can get within inches of them,” the live crocs in Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World.

Get up close to “Crocs” at the Academy


Feb. 6

A review of the new Crocs exhibit calls it “compelling.”

Academy of Natural Sciences to begin $400,000 renovations of 2 animal scenes

Philadelphia Business Journal

Feb. 1

Two wildlife scenes at the Academy will get their first renovations nearly 90 years after they were unveiled.

Crocs: Academy of Natural Sciences show opens Saturday with live, toothy, misunderstood….

Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News,

Jan. 31

Feature on the new Crocs exhibit.

Nighttime beer garden opening inside Academy of Natural Sciences


Jan. 6

The Academy holds its first Dinos After Dark evening beer and dinosaurs event.

DRBC’s new rule would protect against frack-waste contamination, officials say

NPR PA State Impact

Jan. 2

Watershed Management Senior Advisor Carol Collier comments on the new Delaware River Basin Commission rule regarding fracking waste water.

Barnegat Bay marshes help keep water clean


Dec. 27

VP for Science David Velinsky is interviewed about his Barnegat Bay marshland study.

Academy of Natural Sciences receives multi-million dollar donation

KYW Newsradio/CBS 3

Dec. 22

Relatives of a former Academy explorer will make a multi-million-dollar donation to the institution as part of his legacy.

Tibet explorer's Philly family to donate $3M to Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News,

December 6, 2017

Academy announces generous donation from the Dolan Family for watershed research.

» Read More

A few minutes with … Scott Cooper of Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Philadelphia Business Journal

November 22, 2017

Q&A with new Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper.

» Read More

Academy of Natural Sciences names Scott Cooper new president

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News,

November 15, 2017

The new leader of the Academy is a museum administrator with a background in construction, architectural conservation and helping the public connect with research and collections.

» Read More

New Exhibit Lets Kids Explore World of Baby Dinosaurs

CBS Philly

November 13, 2017

New exhibit “allows the little ones to get familiar with some dinosaurs their size.”

» Read More

Find a dead bird? The Academy of Natural Sciences would like to have it

The Philadelphia Inquirer,

November 10, 2017

Ornithology Collection Manager Nate Rice explains why backyard scientists bring the Academy dead birds and why they are useful to science.

» Read More

11 places to sleepover in NJ and Philly — from zoos to museums to ships

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

November 8, 2017


» Read More

Why are wildfires concentrated in the west?

Philly Voice

November 1, 2017

Q&A with Academy forest fire researcher Stephen Mason.

» Read More

Tragic baby opossums story has a happy ending (thank goodness) Harrisburg-Patriot News

October 26, 2017

It begins with tragedy - the death of a pair of mothers. Video of the Academy's new baby opossums.

» Read More

Explore the new ‘Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies’ exhibit at Academy

Main Line Media News

October 25, 2017

The Academy of Natural Sciences re-stakes its claim as Philadelphia’s dinosaur museum with 'Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.'

» Read More

Baby hedgehogs at the Academy, Patriot-News Online

October 23, 2017

A video of the Academy's darling new baby hedgehogs getting ready for their public debut.

» Read More

"Little" dinosaurs? Philly exhibit is a big hit


October 18, 2017

A review of Tiny Titans exhibit: "Seeing real dinosaur eggs from a time too long ago to imagine and handling some replicas are new ways to experience a familiar subject."

» Read More

The Myths Behind Winter Weather Forecasting


October 9, 2017

Entomologist Jason Weintraub busts the winter myth about the woolly bear caterpiller.

» Read More

Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies Now Open at the Academy


October 2, 2017

A review of the new Tiny Titans exhibit with a different take on dinosaurs.

» Read More

The Academy's new exhibit Tiny Titans

CBS Philly

September 27, 2017

Jennifer Sontchi, senior director of exhibits, gives an early peak at Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.

» Read More

Meet the woman behind Bugfest at The Academy of Natural Science

PHL 17

September 26, 2017

Insect specialist Karen Verderame introduces a range of live bugs that live at the museum.

» Read More

Parkway 100 Special


September 21, 2017

Senior Fellow Robert Peck talks about the Academy's history on the Parkway, and the museum's dinosaurs and dancing dinosaurs are highlighted. 

» Read More

Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Fish

WHYY "Radio Times"

September 20, 2017

Paleontologist Ted Daeschler talks about his fossil research in Antarctica. 

» Read More

Delaware River Watershed; It's Healthy, But Significant Threats Are Looming

NPR, NJ Spotlight

September 18, 2017

Carol Collier, senior advisor for watershed management and policy, weighs in on the looming threats to water quality in the Delaware. 

» Read More

ANTS! Not Gnats: Swarm Of Bugs Create Buzz In Philadelphia

CBS Philly

September 11, 2017

Academy Entomologist Isabelle Betancourt explains the swarming flying ants in the region.

» Read More

Trump’s EPA cuts threaten water quality in Delaware River Basin, report says

NPR State Impact Pennsylvania

August 29, 2017

Carol Collier, senior advisor for watershed and policy management, says proposed cuts to EPA funding could lead to decline in Delaware River water quality.

» Read More

A Philly scientist thinks an Australian parrot might eat flesh

The Philadelphia Inquirer

August 15, 2017

An Academy chemist, using the ornithology collection, is trying to figure out a puzzle about a species of rainbow lorikeet in Australia.

» Read More

Meet the baby skunks of the Academy of Natural Sciences

August 9, 2017

Introducing the Academy's newest live animals to hit the stage: stinkin' cute baby skunks.

» Read More

Confront the elephant (beetle) in the room at BugFest

The Philadelphia Inquirer,

August 9, 2017

A behind-the-scenes look at preparations for Bug Fest.

» Read More

Bug Fest is back at Academy of Natural Sciences


August 9, 2017

Entomologist Karen Verderame regales CBS' Pat Gallen with some giant live insects.

» Read More

Bug Fest will feature Richard's worst fear: Spiders

Fox 29

August 8, 2017

Fox 29 Richard Curtis gets a lesson in loving spiders from Bug Fest entomologist Karen Verderame.

» Read More