Tuesday, February 27, 2024

2024 Winter Birding Report

On February 17th the Bean Museum hosted its birding Nature Experienceship with Utah birding expert Merrill Webb. The group traveled to the Gunnison Bend Reservoir in Delta, Utah to see the snow goose migration. There was also a stop at Oxbow Lake for waterfowl viewing. 

Here is the full list of birds spotted:

Western meadowlark

Sandhill crane

Green-winged teal

Northern pintail



Canada goose

House sparrow

Snow goose

Ross’s goose

Trumpeter swan

American wigeon


Common goldeneye

Common merganser

Ruddy duck

Clark’s grebe

Ring-billed gull

California gull

Northern harrier

Northern flicker 

House finches

American goldfinch

Dark-eyed junco

Ferruginous hawk

Red-tailed hawk

American kestrel

Bald eagle

Trumpeter swan, which was a vagrant sighting for Delta.

Snow geese flying into the reservoir. 

The snow goose flock

Attendees using scopes at Oxbow Lake.

Sylvia, museum educator

Monday, November 27, 2023

2023 Fall Game Nights Report

Three game nights were held at the Bean Museum this semester and each was a blast! Participants were able to register for this free event and come play a mix of life science related games or games they brought in themselves. Along with free treats, getting to play board games with friends while seated beside a giant elephant and rhino is a pretty neat experience. With popular games like Pandemic and Wingspan, and other lesser known but just as enjoyable games like Planet and Ecosystems, this event is the perfect way to learn a little more about our planet and all its ecological intricacies. With plenty of opportunities to come next semester, this is an event that any board game and science loving individual won’t want to miss out on!

Joanna, museum educator

Thursday, November 16, 2023

2023 Fall Clue Murder Mystery Dinner

On November 11th, 2023, 60 of Utah’s finest were invited to an exclusive dinner with Monte L. Bean. Tragically, he would never arrive, as dinner was interrupted with the news that he had been murdered. Our spiffy guests were quick to act and solve the case.

Dining guests, mere moments before the tragedy of the century.

Our guests-turned-detectives being filled in on suspects and beginning their sleuthing.

After intense examination, it was determined that the murdered was committed by none other than Mr. Green in the conservatory with the hippo tusk. Mr. Bean was prepared to expose Mr. Green for his medical malpractice, so the phony physician performed his final operation - murdering Mr. Bean. All detectives that aided in the investigation were rewarded with cake.

The third place team.

The first place team.
Our second place team recognized that justice is reward enough, and chose to flee into the night before they could receive accolades through photography. Or perhaps they had more crimes to fight, more justice to exact. The first and third place teams enjoyed delicious cake and prizes.

Sylvia, museum educator

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Fall 2023 Halloween Family Night

Guests of all ages descended upon the Bean Museum once again for a night of spook-tacular, frightful fun!! From an interactive show with surprises from creepy crawlies to fun and educational crafts, there was no shortage of things to do at the Bean's Halloween Family night. 

Both guests and employees donned their most creative costumes to get into the Halloween spirit. Guests learned about spooky animals like bats, owls, frogs, toads, and all sorts of venomous creatures at stations throughout the museum.

All in all, Halloween Family Night was a truly frightening success!

Brooke, museum educator

Monday, October 30, 2023

Fall 2023 Wild Edibles Nature Experienceship Report

The Wild Edibles Nature Experienceship taught by Dr. Tom Smith has become a fast growing favorite among the programs offered by the Bean Life Science Museum. This year's class held on Saturday, October 14th began with a brief overview of the joys of cooking with native ingredients along with a demonstration on how to create homemade chocolate from scratch. This was just the beginning of both an exciting and delicious morning spent exploring the BYU grounds and discovering the plentiful sources of food found here. One of the first and most surprising edibles found here as shown by Dr. Smith are that the flowers of the Day Lily, located all around campus, are not only edible but also rather sweet to the taste. The red berries found on Yew bushes are also quite tasty even if a bit slimy. Remember to spit out the seeds if eaten raw, or cook them into a jam. 

After wandering around the gardens by the Life Science Building and learning about the wide variety of edible plant life found there we returned to the classroom. We were then treated to an array of sweets and treats all created from the plant life we had just observed. We proceeded to taste not only acorn flour muffins and cookies but also crab apple crisp, fresh chocolate, sumac tea, a variety of jams and syrups along with Juniper berry seasoned salmon. All in all the wild edibles class was an overwhelming success.

Joseph Riggs, museum educator

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

2023 Fall Insect Nature Experienceeship

Have you ever wondered what it's like to embark on a bug-hunting expedition led by an expert in the field? Recently at the Bean Museum we had the incredible opportunity to gather a group of enthusiastic nature lovers at the Bean Life Science Museum, where Shawn Clark, a research professor at BYU and the collections manager for insects and arachnids at the museum, took us on an entomological adventure.

On Saturday September 23rd, we gathered at the museum, armed with nets, vials, and an insatiable curiosity, we set off to explore the wondrous world of insects. Our mission: to collect and identify aquatic and terrestrial insects while learning how to properly obtain and preserve them for our own collections.

We traveled to the Lower Hobble Creek Wildlife Management Area where  Dr.Clark , with his boundless knowledge and infectious enthusiasm, guided us through the process of collecting aquatic insects from the creek. With our nets and soft forceps, we stood at the water's edge, sweeping our net through the aquatic vegetation. It wasn't long before we began to uncover a hidden world of water-loving insects, from water beetles to delicate damselflies.

But our adventure didn't stop there! As we transitioned to collecting terrestrial insects, Shawn shared invaluable insights into their habits and habitats. Despite the later season and the chilly morning air, we persevered. Insects may be cold-blooded, seeking warmth as the temperature drops, but our determination was unwavering. We scoured the grassy meadows and plants, discovering an array of terrestrial insects from assorted flies and true bugs to Green Lacewings.

One of the most memorable moments of the day was our encounter with some adorable little friends - praying mantises. These curious creatures seemed just as interested in us as we were in them, and they often decided to hitch a ride on our clothing. 

As we collected our insect treasures, Shawn taught us how to preserve them using alcohol, ensuring that our specimens would remain in a condition for further study and admiration. Throughout our adventure, Shawn's expertise and passion for entomology shone brightly. He not only helped us identify the insects we found but also shared captivating anecdotes about their lives and ecological roles. It was a day filled with laughter, learning, and an abundance of bug-related facts.

Our bug-tastic adventure with Shawn Clark at the Bean Life Science Museum was an unforgettable experience that left us with a newfound appreciation for the incredible diversity and beauty of insects. 

Emma, museum educator

Friday, September 29, 2023

2023 September Trivia Night Report


Trivia night at the Bean Life Science Museum this Saturday was “paw”sibly the most cat-filled fun ever! Nine tough teams joined us to test their knowledge of not just our legendary mascot Cosmo, but his real-life counterparts, cougars! Also included in “Cosmo’s Conundrums” were questions about other big cats, smaller species of cats, and famous cats, such as Shasta.

Teams got to pick their own mascots to represent them as well, and they sure did get creative with their names! We were happy to have the “Under-quail-ified quails” along with “You better put a ringtail cat on it” joining us. 

We congratulate “Cats (2019)” on their close win!

Not a purr could be heard over the excited discussion and cries of exclamation we had this Saturday at the Bean!  

Lexia, museum educator