Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Earth Day 2021 Summary

On Saturday, April 24th, we had the opportunity to partner with Provo City and Conserve Utah Valley in a project coined, “Purge the Spurge.” The hope of this project was to restore Slate Canyon through efforts such as picking up trash, cleaning graffiti, participating in citizen science projects, learning about the wildlife found in Slate Canyon, and various other activities. Volunteers from around Utah Valley signed up for different assignments and participated in the effort! It was great to see the community rally together to beautify and restore an important biological location.

One of the Bean Museum’s main objectives was to provide education stations for visitors to view as they participated in their volunteer assignments. We had 4 different topics: The Identification station, the “Leave No Trace” station, a geology station, and a prize station. Each was prepared and run by one or two educators and included posters, animal mounts, rocks, and lots of other supplies to help volunteers learn.

Photo credit: Kaye Wheeler Nelson

Brie was in charge of our Identification Station. With a variety of animal mounts, Brie talked with visitors about what kinds of birds and vegetation are commonly found throughout Slate Canyon. Brie said, “It was a lot of fun to see people of all ages coming with so much interest in Slate Canyon! They had a huge desire to learn about what kinds of plants and wildlife are in the area.” The Identification Station was a huge success! 

The “Leave No Trace” station was run by Kaitlin, and it’s goal was to teach volunteers about the importance of leaving things the way you found them. She taught about the importance of picking up after your dogs, because their excrement can damage the soil and get into drinking water! She also talked about the importance of leaving things like rocks where you find them, otherwise plants and fungus may be damaged. “There were lots of people who were invested in protecting and taking care of Slate Canyon. They were happy to learn and have this opportunity to do more to help the environment,” said Kaitlin. We hope that this station was able to inform volunteers about the importance of “doing their doody.”

Marie ran our geology station and taught volunteers about the different kinds of rocks they might find in the canyon. She also talked about how canyons are formed. This was especially fun because we were standing right in the middle of the canyon, surrounded by all the rock layers. “Everyone loved learning about how the canyon was formed and about the three main types of rocks. It was also fun to see the kids try to identify the rocks I had on the table,” said Marie. The geology station, to put it plainly, “rocked.”

Once volunteers visited a station, or completed one of the tasks given by our educators, they could visit the prize station. Here they met with Maren and Alyssa, as well as a large beaver mount (a few dogs found this part of the table especially interesting). Volunteers were able to spin a wheel and won one of our own “bio-cards.” Kids and adults alike were excited to collect a bio-card of their own.

The event was a great success, and we were able to gather quite a few bags of trash, as well as survey different areas of the canyon. Citizen science projects were completed, and the canyon looked better when we left it. Educator Maren said of the event, “I was really impressed with the community turnout. It’s so encouraging to see how many people care about our corner of the planet.” Likewise, educator Alyssa said, “I thought it was a great event! I love the variety of projects they had, so that anyone of any age could participate and help out!”

We want to give our thanks to the many organizers of this event, especially Provo City and Conserve Utah Valley. We are grateful we had the opportunity to be a part of this effort, and look forward to more similar projects in the future!

Lindsey Rees, student educator

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Join the Bean Life Science Museum, along with Conserve Utah Valley, and Provo City in a special earth day project to restore Provo’s beautiful Slate Canyon. On Saturday, April 24th from 9:30 AM until noon the event will include projects such as improving the trailhead and trails, eliminating graffiti, and improving the landscaping. Another project volunteers can help with is removing the cuttings, weeds and overgrowth that have been cut down to trim back the trees and shrubbery. Volunteers can also help paint over and remove paint from concrete as part of the graffiti removal team. Volunteers can also help with the citizen science project by meeting with scientists from BYU and UVU to learn about the different plant and animal species that live in Slate Canyon. They can use phone cameras and the iSeek and iNaturalist apps to document the different insects, birds, animals, and fungi of the canyon. The Bean Museum will also be there with fun education stations for all ages. This project will be launched on April 24th, but will continue through the year 2021. More activities will take place every fourth Saturday of the month in the summer. This effort and day can help the goal in restoring this canyon back to its beauty and glory!

To learn more about the earth day projects, visit this website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What's "bean" going on?

 What’s new at the Bean Museum?

Hello all! It has been a moment since we have updated you all. The museum is up and running for the new Winter semester on campus. The museum hours are still limited due to COVID-19 protocols. We are open from 2pm to 8pm, Monday through Friday and 10AM to 5PM on Saturday. It is still required that all guests wear their mask and that it covers both the mouth and the nose. This helps keep everyone safe and helps the museum doors stay open to all of you! We appreciate your understanding during this unique time. Just like all animals in nature, we too must adapt!

Can’t make it into the museum? There are still lots of online programs going on! Come and watch Life Science Live every Friday at 11AM on Facebook with Brie! Field Trip Science videos are being released every Friday from Maren and Sarah. Each video includes an activity for you to try at home! Organism of the Week videos are coming out on Mondays! Did you know that the Bean Museum now has a podcast? We sure do! Come and listen in as various science professionals are interviewed about their work. Y Life Science Podcast is on Apple Podcasts and Spotify so be sure to check it out.

Are you sad about Night of the Museums? Fear not! This year we will be doing March at the Museums! Come visit each of the BYU museums and solve each puzzle. You will have one month to visit each museum and complete the challenge! There are awesome water bottles on the line. Visit one museum each week of the month of March and you’ve got it.

In other news Bioboxes and FHE Monday programs with educators are all the rage! The educators are all booked up for Family Home Evening into May! We are so glad that we are getting to see so many families. Sign up if you would like to spend your Monday family night with an educator over Zoom. Bioboxes are also booked nearly through the whole school year. Due to COVID-19 protocols we are sanitizing the Bioboxes thoroughly. This means there is a little bit of a longer turn around for boxes. Remember that these boxes can also be checked out in the summer! Check for availability on our website.

It is great seeing you all back in the museum! Remember that if your child completes a Zoom program with an educator at their school that there are Bio-cards that correspond with each program! Have your child find an educator and we would love to give them the Bio-cards that go with their grade’s science standards.

See you around the museum! 

Sarah, museum educator

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Bean Museum Field Trip Videos - "Using Resources"

Bean Museum Field Trip Videos 

Week 4 - "Using Resources"

In our most recent Nature Field Trip video, we talked about identifying organisms while in the field. One of the resources you can use for identification is books. We've compiled a list of identification books that are especially good for junior scientists to use. These books are available for check out from the Provo City library, but there are many others that can be found online or at other libraries.

Trees, Flowers, and other Plants

Title Trees of Utah and the intermountain West : a guide to identification and use

Author Kuhns, Michael Richard, 1955-

ISBN 9780874212440

Title Trees

Author Hickman, Pamela. author.

ISBN 9781771388047

Title Plantopedia : a celebration of nature's greatest show-offs

Author Barman, Adrienne, author, illustrator.

ISBN 9781786031396

Title Wildflowers

Author Romero, Libby, author.

ISBN 9781426329968 9781426329951

Title Botanicum

Author Willis, K. J., author.

ISBN 9780763689230

Title Trees

Author Daniels, Patricia, 1955- author.

ISBN 9781426328923 9781426328916

Title Rocky Mountain plants : trees, shrubs, wildflowers

Author Pfaffmann, Garrick.

ISBN 9781882426263

Title Great Basin wildflowers : a field guide to common wildflowers of the high deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon

Author Blackwell, Laird R. (Laird Richard), 1945-

ISBN 9780762738052

Title Wild flowers of the United States and Canada.

Author Forey, Pamela. Wild flowers of North America.

ISBN 9780716642206

Title Trees

Author Coombes, Allen J.

ISBN 9780789489890

Title Utah Wildflowers : a field guide to northern and central mountains and valleys

Author Shaw, Richard J.

ISBN 9780874211702


Title The atlas of amazing birds

Author Sewell, Matt, author.

ISBN 9781616898571

Title Bird guide of North America : the best birding book for kids from a National Geographic bird expert

Author Alderfer, Jonathan K., author.

ISBN 9781426330742 9781426330735

Title Birds : discovering North American species

Author Raines, Shirley C., author.

ISBN 9781486713202

Title Birds

Author Beer, Julie, author.

ISBN 9781426323003 9781426322990

Title Look up! : bird-watching in your own backyard

Author Cate, Annette.

ISBN 9780763645618

Title National Geographic kids bird guide of North America : the best birding book for kids from National Geographic's bird experts

Author Alderfer, Jonathan K.

ISBN 9781426310942 9781426310959

Title National Geographic backyard guide to the birds of North America

Author Alderfer, Jonathan K.

ISBN 9781426207204

Title National Geographic field guide to the birds of North America

Author Dunn, Jon L. (Jon Lloyd), 1954-

ISBN 9781426208287

Title Peterson field guide to birds of Western North America

Author Peterson, Roger Tory, 1908-1996.

ISBN 9780547152707

Title Rocky Mountain birds

Author Pfaffmann, Garrick.

ISBN 9781882426287

Title Backyard birds of Utah

Author Fenimore, Bill.

ISBN 9781423603535

Title National Geographic field guide to the birds of western North America

Author Dunn, Jon L. (Jon Lloyd), 1954-

ISBN 9781426203312

Insects and Bugs

Title Dragonflies : hunting, identifying, how and where they live

Author Earley, Chris., 1968-

ISBN 9781770851856 9781770851863

Title Caterpillars : find, identify, raise your own

Author Earley, Chris., 1968-

ISBN 9781770851825 9781770851832

Title Caterpillars and butterflies

Author Trueit, Trudi Strain.

ISBN 9781608702435

Title Rocky Mountain bugs : insects and other crawly things

Author Pfaffmann, Garrick.

ISBN 9781882426324

Title Butterflies and moths

Author Carter, David J. (David James), 1943-

ISBN 9780789489838

Title Butterflies

Author Latimer, Jonathan P.

ISBN 9780395979433 9780395979440

Title Caterpillars, bugs, and butterflies

Author Boring, Mel, 1939-

ISBN 9781559714792 9781559716741

Title Peterson first guide to butterflies and moths

Author Opler, Paul A.

ISBN 9780395670729

Title The National Audubon Society field guide to North American butterflies

Author Pyle, Robert Michael.

ISBN 9780394519142

Mammals, Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians

Title Kids' guide to fishing : the young angler's guide to catching more and bigger fish

Author Maas, David R., author.

ISBN 9781633223820

Title Wildlife around us : field guide & drawing book. Volume 1

Author Fisher, Diana (Diana L.), illustrator.

ISBN 9781633223837

Title Reptiles & amphibians

Author Howell, Catherine Herbert, author.

ISBN 9781426325441 9781426325458

Title National Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians

Author Behler, John L., author.

ISBN 9780394508245

Title National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals

Author Whitaker, John O., author.

ISBN 9780679446316

Friday, September 25, 2020

New Programs at the Bean Museum!

School is back in session all over Utah county! The Bean Museum is so excited to be interacting with students again. It is a historical school year. All of our normal outreaches have been replaced with Zoom sessions with students. But, not only is the teaching format new, all of our programs are new!!


The state of Utah has revamped their science curriculum standards and so have we! This summer our educators, namely: Alyssa, Nathan and Carter, studied the curriculum requirements and created totally new presentations. They did an excellent job. Different grades received different updates according to the connected curriculum but some of the updates include: greater detail on the structure and functions of plants, conversations on energy and matter, and more! Each presentation also has a more streamlined presentation which better facilitates kids’ retention of the material. And do not get me started on the new videos! They are so interesting and helpful for us visual learners. Programs are still for kids ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. We also create some new "bio-cards" to go with each of these new programs.

We had a really successful educator training this summer where we revised and practiced every single presentation in preparation for the new school year. It was so nice to have all of the educators all together for the first time since the pandemic back in the museum. Everyone shared great comments about teaching skills and ways to better explain tougher material. We also were able to find efficient ways to make the newer, more difficult material understandable for kids. It was a really helpful day for everyone. 

Sign up for a school program

Check out our new online programs:

We also have brand new FHE programs via Zoom on Mondays! Presently we are totally booked for the next 6 weeks. These programs are a lot more interactive and adaptable to the ages of the participants creating a better experience for museum guests and making FHE more fun! We would love to see you there! 

Sign up for FHE

Overall, the museum and all of its educators have been working hard to try and create the best learning environment we can for our guests and students. We care very much about you all! The museum is now open for limited hours so we will see you soon to answer your questions and continue learning together. 

Sarah Robinson, museum educator

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Earth Day 2020

Happy Earth Month everybody!

This April 22nd we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This holiday was originally started in 1970 to celebrate the Earth and teach about conservation. In the past, many people have celebrated this historical event by cleaning up rivers and highways, planting trees, and holding conferences to help make better environmental decisions. This year has been very different however, and you may be thinking, how can I still celebrate the Earth this month? Here are some ideas for practicing conservation from home:

  • Start (Or continue!) to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce the amount of water you use by taking shorter showers, scraping scraps into the trash (instead of down the sink) or combining loads of laundry. Just don't skimp on that hand washing! 
  • Pick up trash around your neighborhood. When you are walking around your neighborhood, pick up any trash you see and put it in the proper receptacles. It may not feel as big as cleaning a whole river, but every little bit counts. This can help reduce the micro-plastic that is found in many waterways today. 
  • Plant a garden. Now is an excellent time to learn about and try your hand at growing your own food. Not only is it satisfying to see your hard work go straight onto your dinner table, it also reduces carbon emissions by cutting out shipping. 
  • Become an ereader! Many people may be missing their local libraries, but many of them still offer books through apps such as Libby or Overdrive. The "e" stands for "electronic", but it could also stand for "environmental", since reading digital copies of books cuts down on the amount of paper produced to create books. 
  • Practice citizen science. A big part of science is simply observation. Many scientists use citizens in their research to track the habitat and migration of different animals. Look for websites, apps, or Facebook groups that need observations of plants, animals, insects and birds, and submit what you see day to day! Share your observations on the website or app called iNaturalist. You can use lots of apps and internet communities to help you identify species, but here are a few to get you started: 
Comment below if you can identify the birds in these photos.
  • Look to see what others are doing! There are many people celebrating in their own way, look on social media to see how people are celebrating the Earth. And don't forget to post your own!