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Eye on the Sky Team

The Eye on the Sky voices are Mark Breen, Lawrence Hayes, and Megan Duncan. Steve Maleski and Christopher Kurdek fill in from time to time.

The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium has been a weather observation site continuously since March 1894. Even before Franklin Fairbanks founded the Museum, he kept meticulous weather records at his family home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont during the 1850’s and 1860’s. Shortly after the Museum doors opened in 1891, Museum staff kept recording daily weather statistics for the newly formed Weather Bureau.

Data still kept at the Museum such as maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, relative humidity, wind direction and speed, barometric pressure and general character of the day represent the longest continuous record of weather at the same location in Vermont.

Mark Breen, Senior Meteorologist

Mark Breen

Mark is the senior meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, and for over 30 years he has been heard on Vermont Public Radio’s an “Eye on the Sky” each weekday morning. Along with weather forecasting, his work at the Museum involves teaching weather and science, as well as serving as the Planetarium Director in Vermont’s only public planetarium. You can now hear Mark weekday afternoons on VPR, as he guides listeners through observable stars and constellations in “Eye on the Night Sky”, at 4:30 PM.

Mark Breen was involved with community theater while a student at Lyndon State College in the meteorology program. Friends and family in Vermont and his love of the outdoors brought him to the Fairbanks Museum in 1982, where he and Steve Maleski embarked on what would become an institution for weather fans. “In Vermont, in particular, weather plays a big role in the economy,” says Mark. “I enjoy wonderful conversations with farmers, skiers, factory managers, teachers, hang-gliders, bicyclists, hunters, hikers, just to name a few. They each help me understand the different parts of the weather that affect their activities, which in turn helps me to focus on certain aspects of the weather, say the wind, or humidity, or temperature.”

Originally from Dannemora, NY, Mark has lived in Vermont since graduating from Lyndon State College in 1982 with a B.S. in meteorology. He has been featured in a number of magazines, including Vermont Life, where he contributes to the Vermont Life Weather Calendar, and has occasionally appeared on Vermont Public Television. He is the author of the popular book, The Kid’s Book of Weather Forecasting (avaialable at The Nature Store in the Fairbanks Museum).

Megan Duncan

Megan Duncan joined the Fairbanks Museum as a meteorologist and science educator in April. “It’s a match made in heaven,” she says of the combination of weather science and the opportunity to reach students and a wide audience through the partnership between the Fairbanks Museum and Vermont Public.

Her on-air broadcasts will replace the decades-long forecasts delivered by Steve Maleski, who is retiring this summer. 

Originally from the East Coast, Megan had been living in Oregon when she applied for the position. She wanted to move back east, and she was interested in the opportunity to use her applied science skills along with the chance to inspire students.  Megan’s teaching roster includes classes on extreme weather, climate change, and she’s developing a new class about rainbows.

“Meteorology is a relatively new science, and it impacts everybody all the time,” Megan replied after thinking about why she enjoys this field. “It’s got a wide appeal, and there’s so much we don’t know about weather.” Her interests go beyond models and abstractions. Megan is excited about the Museum’s environmental education programs in Matsinger Forest – “amphibians are so cool” – and she’s eager to engage kids in conversations about climate change.

Megan studied Atmospheric and Water Resources Sciences at Oregon State University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Plymouth State University.

Steve Maleski, Meteorologist

Stephen Maleski

For Steve, the journey to St. Johnsbury seems almost fated from an early memory when he was five and he witnessed an approaching thunderstorm with the same awe and wonder he brings to broadcasts today. “At that moment I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to be a weatherman,’ almost as if someone were speaking to me. From that time, I always knew what I wanted to do.” Steve also found the meteorology program at Lyndon State offered the right mix of academic challenge in a beautiful setting. Except for a brief stint in Atlanta, Steve has lived in the Northeast Kingdom since 1978.

Lawrence Hayes, Meteorologist

Lawrence Hayes

Lawrence first joined the Eye on the Sky team as an intern in the summer of 2008, while he was studying Atmospheric Sciences at Lyndon State College. His academic research topics included cloud microphysics, the effect of soil moisture gradients on thunderstorm development, and the climatology of cold-air outbreak over the northeastern United States.
“I’ve been somewhat obsessed with weather from an early age,” he says. “So I took an affliction and turned it into a career. I really enjoy the eclectic mix of co-workers here at the Fairbanks Museum. I also enjoy being able to work in such a historic building.” When Lawrence isn’t forecasting the weather, he enjoys playing board games with his wife Julie, watching B movies, taking photographs, playing guitar (badly), and tending ornamental plants (jade trees are his favorite).

Chris Kurdek, meteorologist and science educator

Christopher Kurdek

Christopher Kurdek has always had a passion for math, science, and investing in the community around him.  His favorite weather to predict is winter weather, especially winter storms. He also enjoys sharing his science knowledge to younger generations, making for a more livable and sustainable future. Growing up in New Hampshire, he was avid skier and outdoorsman, and today you can find him skiing, riding his snowmobile, hiking, paddling his canoe, and working with his animals and garden when he’s not studying the weather.

He obtained an atmospheric science degree from Lyndon State College (Northern Vermont University) as a non-traditional student.  The atmospheric science program was a perfect balance of physics, math, and Earth science. His senior thesis, “The Climatic Effects on Maple Sugaring in Northern America,” gave him an opportunity to apply his climate science knowledge to an industry in Vermont.  Once he moved to the Northeast Kingdom, he pursued a sustainable farming business while going to school and bartending. Christopher still enjoys farming and currently raises lamb, ducks, and vegetables in the summer season.

After finishing his degree, Christopher wanted to combine working with children and science and became a classroom science teacher.  In the fall of 2018, he joined the Fairbanks Museum as an “Eye on the Sky” meteorologist and science educator. The position blends his multiple passions: science, working with children, and the chance to continue to live in a place he loves and calls home, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.