City Lights spotlights weather, nature at family event in Harrisburg

University Park, Pa. -- Penn Staters of all ages will learn about nature's impact on people and the landscape at the second City Lights event of the 2009 season on March 21 at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, Pa.

City Lights: Forces of Nature will give families a chance to get up close and personal with nature. The City Lights event includes access to all of the Whitaker's exhibits including Forces of Nature, as well as an 11 a.m. talk by Shirley Clark, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Penn State Harrisburg, about the interaction of people with the environment.

"After a blockbuster opening event in Philadelphia about African American history, we will be hosting a Saturday event for the entire family," said Roger L. Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. "This event combines hands-on learning and with an educational overview and will be engaging to Penn Staters, young and old."

Throughout the day, Penn Staters can spend as much time as they like experiencing the Whitaker's Forces of Nature exhibit, which shows how weather, geology and living things have combined to shape the landscape of central Pennsylvania. The gallery features a five-foot-diameter spherical display system that shows digital images of the whole Earth in three dimensions, revealing current weather patterns, hurricane tracks, seismic activity, ocean currents, and more. Interactive displays allow participants to experience the power of a hurricane and a tornado.

The cost for the City Lights: Forces of Nature event is $15 for Alumni Association members and $10 for their children; non-members are $30 for adults and $20 for children. The price includes admission to the Whitaker Center, the presentation and lunch. More information and registration information is available at online.

Additional City Lights events are scheduled through early summer in cities with the largest concentrations of Penn Staters. The rest of the 2009 schedule is:

-- May 8, "Cezanne and Rodin: The Fathers of Modern Art and Sculpture," Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Tour the popular exhibit "Cezanne and Beyond," then enjoy a wine and cheese reception with other alumni and Penn State friends. Samantha Kavky, assistant professor of art history at Penn State Berks, will discuss "Cezanne and Rodin: The Fathers of Modern Art and Sculpture" as well as other early modern artists such as Matisse and Picasso.

-- May 14, "21st Century Challenges and the United Nations," United Nations Headquarters, New York City. Join other Penn Staters for this unique opportunity at the United Nations. Hear about the challenges our world faces and the United Nations' role in meeting those challenges from Tiyanjana Maluwa, the director of the Penn State School of International Affairs and associate dean at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. An expert in public international law and human rights, Maluwa serves as a special expert and consultant to the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity and other organizations. Penn State Lehigh Valley Assistant Professor Ana Figueroa will briefly discuss globalization and gender equity.

-- June 19, "Marvin Does Motown," concert by the Pittsburgh Pops conducted by Marvin Hamlisch, Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh. Hamlisch and the music of Motown take center stage featuring the songs of a few of Motown's most famous artists, including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Gladys Knight and The Pips, and The Four Tops.

-- June 27, "Lions and Tigers and Penn Staters, Oh My!" Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. The littlest to the biggest Penn Staters can participate in this family day at one of the United States' premiere zoos. Enjoy the animals and fun of the zoo plus a lecture by one of Penn State's faculty stars.

All City Lights events require pre-registration and are open to Penn State alumni and friends. For more information, including exact times and ticket prices for each event, or to register, go to or call (800) 548-LION (5466), option 5.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009