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Save the Date April 26, 2018
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Black Tie International:
American Museum of Natural History
Spring Lunch:  Science, Society and Our Environment


Museum Trustee and Spring Lunch Chair Katheryn P. Kempner, Museum Trustee Alexandra Mondre, Museum President Ellen V. Futter, Spring Lunch Chair Vicki Foley, Spring Lunch Chair Catherine B. Sidamon-Eristoff ©AMNH/R. Mickens

Museum Trustee and Spring Lunch Chair Katheryn P. Kempner, Museum Trustee Alexandra Mondre, Museum President Ellen V. Futter, Spring Lunch Chair Vicki Foley, Spring Lunch Chair Catherine B. Sidamon-Eristoff ©AMNH/R. Mickens





Panel Discussion With Leading Ocean Researchers including Fabian Cousteau, Curator John Sparks, To Take Place Under the Iconic Blue Whale


Annual Benefit Luncheon Will Address Oceans


EVENT      The Spring Lunch: Science, Society, and Our Environment


DATE                         Thursday, April 26, 2018


WHEN                        Noon–2 pm (doors open at 11:30 am)


WHERE                      American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life


CHAIRMEN              Sarah M. Belz, Katheryn P. Kempner, Alexandra Mondre, Catherine B. Sidamon-Eristoff


TOPIC                        The depths of the world’s oceans are little-understood—but cutting-edge technology and recent exploration is broadening researchers’ understanding of our planet and beyond. Join famed ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau; President of the New York Harbor Foundation Murray Fisher; National Geographic Explorer Tierney Thys; and the Museum’s own John Sparks, curator, Department of Ichthyology, and curator of our special exhibition Unseen Oceans, as they discuss their innovative research. Following this compelling roundtable in the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, linger under the iconic blue whale to share ideas and conversation.


                                    Lynn Sherr, an award-winning correspondent for ABC News’ “20/20” for more than twenty years, who currently freelances on the air, in print, and online. Throughout her career, she has covered a wide range of stories, specializing in women’s issues and social change as well as investigative reports.


John Sparks, curator, Department of Ichthyology, Division of Vertebrate Zoology,

at the American Museum of Natural History, and curator of the current Unseen Oceans exhibition. Principal investigator at Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and professor at the Richard Gilder Graduate School, Dr. Sparks travels the world in search of bioluminescent and biofluorescent marine organisms. His research focuses on the evolution and function of bioluminescence and biofluorescence in marine systems, and the role that these phenomena play in the diversification of both shallow-reef and deep-sea fishes. Sparks also studies the systematics and biogeography of bony fishes, the cavefishes of Madagascar, and the evolution of specialized hearing in marine and freshwater fishes. 


Fabien Cousteau, an aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, environmental advocate, and founder of Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center. He is well known for his study of sharks, and from 2000–2002, as an explorer-at-large for National Geographic, Cousteau collaborated on a television special aimed at changing public perceptions about sharks, titled “Attack of the Mystery Shark.” Then in 2003–2006, he produced the documentary “Mind of a Demon,” which aired on CBS. Cousteau created a 14-foot, 1,200-pound lifelike shark submarine named “Troy” that enabled him to immerse himself inside the shark world. In recent years, Cousteau has been working with local communities and children worldwide to help restore local water ecosystems. In 2014, Cousteau completed a monumental project, Mission 31, where he and his team lived and worked underwater for 31 days, based out of the world’s only undersea marine laboratory.


Murray Fisher, creator of the New York Harbor School and the Billion Oyster

Project, who has spent his twenty-year career working to connect people to the

natural places that sustain and enrich us. Over the course of his decade-long role

developing the Harbor School, Murray was responsible for leading the effort to design and create a marine-focused curriculum; raising operating expenses of $15 million; securing a $35-million academic facility on Governors Island; and running a $5-million capital campaign for a Marine Science and Technology Center. In 2010, he created the New York Harbor Foundation as a vehicle for expanding the effort to engage more people region-wide in restoring New York Harbor. The Harbor Foundation initially served to support Harbor School students but it was through this platform that he and aquaculture teacher Peter Malinowski created the Billion Oyster Project. Fisher transitioned out of the day to day at Billion Oyster Project as of September 1, 2017, to become the chairman of the board. He continues to look for ways to connect more people—particularly young people in cities—to nature.


Tierney Thys, marine biologist, science educator, filmmaker, National Geographic

Explorer, and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Her ocean

research focuses on the behavior of giant ocean sunfish and the effects of climate

change and bycatch. She also studies the effects of nature on human wellbeing and on incarcerated populations. Dr. Thys and her team have been tracking molas to learn about how they live and has current study sites in Indonesia and Galápagos. She was past director of research at the Sea Studios Foundation, a team of scientists and filmmakers that created media to raise awareness of environmental issues. Thys is a TED All-Star speaker and has produced numerous TED-Ed lessons. She also serves as the Daily Explorer in an online kids’ world called Animal Jam, where children choose an animal to play. Animal Jam boasts 80 million registered players worldwide. Time allowing, Thys lectures on trips for National Geographic Expeditions around the world.


PROCEEDS               All proceeds from The Spring Lunch: Science, Society, and Our Environment support the Museum’s scientific research and educational initiatives, including important work in biodiversity conservation.


TICKETS                   To purchase tables or tickets to The Spring Lunch, please call (212) 769-5932, email or visit




Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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