Meet the Team: Dan Walsh

STEM Educator

Dan Walsh started his role at Explore & More back in the East Aurora days as the membership and bookings coordinator. Watching the museum grow from a one floor museum in East Aurora to a four-floor museum at Canalside was an amazing experience! During this time, Dan would fill in to teach Explore Even More, Culture Days at schools and libraries, and the STEM program Tinkering. It was during this time, that Dan found his true passion: teaching. Now, Dan is working on his masters in education at Buffalo State to perfect his craft. In his spare time, Dan enjoys drawing comic books and going for long walks with his fiancée Heather and their Shiba Inu, Bean.   

Dan’s STEM Corner: August 2021

Join us August 21st for STEM Saturday for our very special guests Penn Dixie Fossil Park. I’m a huge fan of Penn Dixie and I love to go fossil hunting there. Imagine stepping into the past to search for fossils from an ancient undersea environment that existed 380 million years ago. Located just south of Buffalo, the Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve is the result of quarrying operations of the now-defunct Penn Dixie Cement Corporation. Layers of rock deposited during the Devonian Period are now exposed at the surface and the 54-acre park provides ample opportunity for exploration. When you enter Penn Dixie, with the help of docents, the entire family can enjoy a day of fossil hunting. To learn more, visit https://penndixie.org/ 

Will’s Culture Desk: August 2021

Believe it, or not it’s already August, and Explore & More is continuing our plethora of summer programming. Events such as Trucking through the Summer, Molina Mondays, Waterfront Wednesdays, Free Play Fridays, Folk Art Fridays, and several summer camps, all fill our calendar! This packed schedule gives our Education Team opportunities to discuss culture in many different mediums, from lessons to camp kids, to drop-in crafts for museum visitors, and from presenters bringing activities for our guests to enjoy. This focus on cultural discovery and the awareness of the cultures of the world is something we take great pride in especially among the team members on the education staff. August like every other month will have its share of activities that will engage children in local, regional, and global traditions and cultures. As the Olympics attempts to bring the world together, Explore & More will attempt to do the same, creating projects inspired by the Olympics, that can hopefully spark interest in the global event among our visitor families. Furthermore, on Folk Art Friday’s a specific culture will be highlighted and crafts will be created in this light. For instance, in July, we brought in a friend from the Albright Knox for a lesson in making art that is traditionally made in Puerto Rico! This activity provided children the opportunity to engage with concepts that they may not be familiar with, allowing them to gain a better understanding and thus, appreciation of Puerto Rico. Expanding the minds of the children and families that pay us a visit is something we hope to continue to do, not only through the month of August but continuously into the future.

Meet the Team: Wall Kawalec

Lead Play to Learn Facilitator

Will has been a member of the Explore & More team since the museum opened on Canalside. As an educator, Will has many roles throughout the museum working both with guests on the floor and behind the scenes creating lessons and activities for visitors.

Will often leads outreach efforts, visiting schools, libraries, summer camps, and other community organizations, bringing a multitude of lessons and activities to children across Western New York. In this past year, Will has taken the lead on planning Au-some Evenings which is his absolute favorite event that Explore & More puts on. With regard to planning, Will works with other staff helping to organize events such as the Grown-Up Night of Play and summer camps. You can see Will working in the Tinkering Tank and throughout the museum interacting with guests both young and old. With his educational background in history, Will emphasizes both local and international cultures within his lessons and hopes to enlighten children with the cultures and traditions of the world. Will loves building relationships with guest families, so be sure to say hello to him while at the museum. He would love to meet everyone!