Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nature Experienceship - Insects with Dr. Shawn Clark

It’s a bug eat bug world out there! Did you know that there are over 900,000 different species of insects in the world?  It is estimated that there are still 2 million to 30 million species that still have not been discovered! That is a lot of creepy crawlies! Museum patrons were able to dive into this vast world of insects by attending the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum’s annual Insect Nature Experienceship.  Patrons were able to learn the basics of entomology (the study of insects), through the help of the museum’s very own Arthropod Collection manager, Shawn Clark.  Dr. Shawn Clark has dedicated much of his life to observing, researching, and collecting various species of insects found throughout our world. His superior ability to teach and inspire others made him the perfect person to lead the patrons through in-depth discussions about insects.
The Experienceship began with a backstage tour of the Arthropod Collection, where patrons were able to see why Dr. Clark collects insects for research, and how to properly document and display them as specimens. Though insects may be small, it still takes a large team of researchers to be able to maintain the vast collection of insects the museum has. Through the tour of the collections, patrons were able to see how collecting specimens allows researchers to learn more about insects, so that they may be able to understand each species and how they relate to the circle of life.
Once the patrons learned about insects and collections, they had the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to the test. As the collections tour came to an end, it was time for the patrons to pack up the van with supplies, and head to South Fork Canyon to capture their own insect specimens. With nets in hand, and with some guidance from Dr. Clark, the patrons began to search and capture their very own insects. Dr. Clark explained the best methods of capturing insects, and how to store them properly for later use in their collections. The patrons did not have to wander through the wilderness far before they had some exciting catches. Museum educators and Dr. Clark were on hand to help patrons extract many kinds of insects from their nets and assist in identifying each species. Some of the insects discovered included crab spiders, blister beetles, stinkbugs, wasps, caterpillars, and many more!
As the patrons collected their insects, Dr. Clark explained to them what insects were good to keep as specimens, and how to properly document them. This would not only help them remember the great experience they were having, but it would also help in properly documenting their research efforts for the future.  With every new species caught, the patrons would share their finds to one another as Dr. Clark gave background information on each species. In the end, every patron went home with a full jar of specimens to use for their own collections.

Throughout the Insect Nature Experienceship, the patrons had incredible opportunities to explore and discover the insect world that is always around them. Not only were they able to tour a real museum insect collection, but they also had the opportunity to head out into the field and have hands-on experience capturing their own insects. Each patron had a wonderful time on the trip and learned on a personal level, that it really is a bug’s life! We encourage anyone who would like to have this once in a lifetime experience to join us in the coming years to the Insect Nature Experienceship.  After all, it is the bee’s knees!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wildlife Adventures: Cave Crawlers

For the last week of summer camps our wildlife adventurers got to discover the mystery of caves. Before our adventurers could be entrusted to enter a real cave, they had to learn how caves are formed, the types of caves, formations in caves, and what kinds of animals live in caves. The most popular cave animal has to be the bat. So our adventurers briefly got to step into the life of a bat by listening to a variety of sounds (like walking on gravel or a dog growling) and trying to guess what made the sound. This activity was a demonstration that most cave animals, like bats, have to rely more on sound than on sight. Once the adventurers had an understanding of the characteristics of animals that live in caves they were able to meet some of the Bean Museum's live animals to try and decide if they could be found in or near a cave. Finally, they got to color and make their very own bat craft.
The field trip to Timpanogos cave was a test to see how much our adventurers remembered about caves. It was hot hiking up to the cave, so the cool temperature of the cave was most welcome. We got to experience how dark caves can get, see a variety of cave formations, and learn about the history behind the cave. We were very lucky to be able to enjoy the beauty of caves in such an up close and personal way.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wildlife Adventures: Animal Occupations

This week for the Animal Occupations Wildlife Adventure . We learned about various different careers, such as Zookeepers, Animal Trainers, and Veterinarians. Dr. Garrett, a veterinarian for BYU, came and talked with the kids about what her job is like, showing the kids various tools she uses. 
On Thursday we went to the Hogle Zoo, the kids were taken around the zoo in small groups led by our Museum Educators. The kids were able to see, lions, tigers, and bears. They also saw gorilla's and looked around the Small Animals Building which has a diversity of smaller animals.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wildlife Adventures: Reptile Retreat

This week campers gathered at the Bean Museum for Wildlife Adventure’s Reptile Retreat. On
Tuesday that kids learned about all sorts of reptiles and got to meet three of the Bean
Museum’s live reptiles! On Thursday the campers headed off to The Museum of Ancient Life at
Thanksgiving Point. Before reaching the museum, they made a pit stop at the BYU Museum of
Paleontology to see fossils collected from Utah and the surrounding areas. The kids loved
seeing BYU students at work chipping rock away from fossils in the museum. The kids had a
blast when we go to the Museum of Ancient Life. There were lots of hands-on activities that
helped the kids learn more about dinosaurs. The kids were amazed by the size of the dinosaur
skeletons! It was a very educational and fun week of camp!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Junior Naturalist Summer Camp Part 2

One of the many summer camps offered by the Monte L Bean Museum is the Junior Naturalist Summer Camp - a week long event in which we join with Thanksgiving Point to give children an opportunity to collect, identify and display a variety of plants and animals that can be found in the area! We visited a number of locations where the young scientists were able to search for and capture their very own bugs and plants! The youth then had the opportunity to learn how to pin the insects they had caught, allowing them to create a display box of insects - and many pressed plants - including all of their findings through the week. They were even given the chance to visit the private scientists in the Bean and see some professional insect and plant displays! Thanksgiving Point later helped them identify all that they had found, giving the children a fun chance to return to the Bean Museum and put all of their findings on display for - not only family and friends - but all visitors of the Bean Museum! It was truly a fun and gratifying experience!

Wildlife Adventures: The Bees Knees

 During the Bee’s Knees Wildlife Adventure, kids got to learn firsthand about honey bees. We went to a local beekeeper who took the children to view the hives from a distant. They could see the bees flying to and from the hives. He taught them about what the bees do in the winter and showed them how he collected honey. They were able to actually look at a portion of the hive and see how the bees make and store the honey. They were also able to try their own honeycomb. Yum!
We were also able to learn from our resident insect expert Shawn Clark. The children were able to tour one of our insect collections that are used for research. The children were able to choose and then view their own favorite insect and then many more different types of insects including praying mantises, cicadas, beetles, and other various insects.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

BYU Museum Camp

This past week the Bean Museum participated in the inaugural BYU Museum Camp with the intent of educating teenagers on the importance of museums and the critical role they play in education. Campers had the exciting opportunity to see life behind the scenes of the museum by touring exclusive research facilities and collections, talking to museum curators and researchers, and participating in a live animal show.
Museums play a crucial role in research, curation, and education. The Bean Museum strives to educate the public on both the facts and the importance of the life sciences. Our education programs, camps, and exhibits all function to make science fun and excite everyone to learn about and protect our planet. Check out our website for more summer camps, education opportunities, and live animal shows!