Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nature Experienceship - Aspen Forests with Sam St. Clair

Saturday morning we went up and around the Aspen Loop to look at aspen and pine trees. Sam St. Clair our gide was determined for everyone to LOVE plants by the end of the experienceship. He talked about adaptations and defences that trees naturally have. Fir trees have sap 'pustules' that squirt out sap when squeezed to deter pine beetles and other insects. He said that a big reason there is so much loss of pine forests to the beetles is because the drought prevented the trees from making the sap packets and the beetles were free to burrow in the bark. Aspen trees have chlorophyll in their bark which means that their trunks can photosynthesize even after they have lost all their leaves, and aspens have a waxy layer you can rub on your skin which acts like sunscreen. The experienceship was a blast and I walked away loving trees!

Paige Bryson, Museum educator

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nature Experienceship - Birding with Merrill Webb

We identified about 30 species of birds around the south end of Utah Lake last Saturday. Mr. Webb could spot any bird in the sky and name it, and by the end we could name a few birds ourselves. Mr. Webb taught us about the niche interactions of different species, specifically the White Faced Ibis and Snowy Egret who can coexist in the same niche because they are not competing for resources. The Ibis probes the mud using its long beak for insects and larvae, while scaring up fish for the Egret who uses its beak to catch them. I definitely left with an appreciation for the diversity of birds in the area, and how they have adapted to living together in the same ecosystem, managing resource and space competition.

Paige, museum educator

Species List (September 10, 2011):

White Faced Ibis
Barn Swallow
Yellow-headed blackbird
Marsh Wren
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorants
Snowy Egret
American Pelican
Black-necked stilt
Ring-billed gull
Greater Yellowlegs
Violet-green Swallow
Tree swallow - blue back
Clark's Grebe
American avocet
Cinnamon Teal
Franklin's Gull
American Coot
Marbled Godwit
Turkey Vulture
Caspian Tern
Sandhill Crane
Red-tailed Hawk

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nature Experienceship - Mammals with Duke Rogers

We started the Experienceship near Squaw Peak where Dr. Rogers had set 40 animal traps. He explained the population dynamic of the mountain and predicted we should find about 4 trapped rodents, most likely all deer mice. After opening and releasing at least 15 traps with mice and voles Dr. Rogers talked about population studies and his research in how rodents carry and transfer diseases to humans.

Back at the Bean, we saw the mammal collection, and for those who stayed Dr. Rogers, with his bare hands, dissected and stuffed a roadkill squirrel he had picked up the day before. He was un-phased by the operation, averaging 250 dissections per year, and having stuffed a black bear before had no reservations about the flattened squirrel. It was an amazing behind the scenes opportunity, thanks so much to Dr. Rogers!

Paige, museum educator

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nature Experienceship - Birding with Merrill Webb

We had a great group join us for our bird watching trip with Merrill Webb on a snowy April morning. In spite of the weather, we saw 37 species of birds and four of them were new for Mr. Webb's year list.

1. Black-billed Magpie
2. American Robin
3. Brewer's blackbird
4. Red-wing blackbird
5. Cinnamon teal
6. White crowned sparrow
7. European Starling
8. Western Meadowlark
9 Northern Harrier
10. Gadwall
11. Ring-necked Pheasant
12. Red-tailed hawk
13. American Kestrel
14. Rock Pigeon
15. Killdeer
16. Mallard
17. Sandhill Crane
18. Yellow-headed blackbird
19. House Sparrows
20. Snowy Egret
21. Osprey
22. American White Pelican
23. Canada Goose
24. Northern Shovelers
25. American Coot
26. Say's Phoebe
27. Barn Swallow
28. California Gulls
29. Redhead
30. American Wigeon
31. Greater yellowlegs
32. Snipes
33. Long-billed Dowtichwer
34. Willet
35. American Avocet
36. Black-necked stilt
37. Snowy Plover

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saturday Safari - A Dive into the Ocean

On our last Saturday Safari of the semester we took A Dive in the Ocean. We learned about all of the strange looking deep ocean fish, and other awesome animals in the deep blue sea. We watched a special ocean episode of the Magic School Bus, and then after that the kids made their own craft fish. It was a lot of fun. Saturday Safari is done for this semester, but it will start back up in the Spring!

Emilie, museum educator

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saturday Safari - Ecosystems

This last Saturday Safari we learned all about ecosystems and the animals that live in them. We focused mainly on the grasslands, wetlands, and the tropical rainforest. We watched a Magic School Bus episode dedicated to habitats, and then we created our own habitats for our craft. It was so much fun. Next week we will be learning about the Desert, and it will be very exciting!

Emilie, museum educator

Friday, March 18, 2011

CLUE - Date Night

This semester’s Date Night was a total success! The theme was Clue: Museum Caper. There was a giant game of clue set up, each of the rooms was represented by a section of the museum, and every character was there, including the Butler (Matt Meese) who was a crack up the whole night. The weapons were objects that could were found right in the museum. The guests came, all dressed up ready to solve a mystery. They sat and had a dinner beforehand polished off with a delicious slice of cheesecake. Afterwards they were split into six groups, and were given a checklist. The guests went from room to room, answering riddles and getting clues, trying to figure out who killed our generous host, Jimmer Fredette.

After many riddles and much deducing a group finally figured out that it was Mrs. White in the Kitchen with the Ram Horn! They even won a prize at the end, two fun filled Easter baskets. Fun was had by all; it was a great night with great food and great company! Check out the pictures!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Safari - Animals without feet

This last Saturday Safari we learned about the walrus, seahorse, and snake; and a whole bunch of different animals that do not have feet. The kids were able to touch different snakes in our museum, and we watched many educational and fun clips about all of the animals. Our craft that we worked on was a tissue paper seahorse. It was a lot of fun. This Saturday we will be learning about animals and their habitats.

Emilie, museum educator

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Safari - Butterfly

This last week’s Saturday Safari was such a fun treat. We learned all about the life of the butterfly from the hatching of the egg, to the forming of the chrysalis, we even watched The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Our day finished with working on two crafts. One was a coloring page of a butterfly, and the other project was a mobile that displayed the different stages of the butterfly. This next week we will be learning about Animals without Feet, it will be a lot of fun!

Emilie, museum educator

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Safari - Animal Defenses

On February 26th, the Saturday Safari group learned all about animal defenses. From raccoons to the glass lizard; the kids even had a chance to meet Bandit, the Honduran Milk Snake. Bandit defends himself with his patterning; he looks like a coral snake. The craft that we worked on were sock puppets, the kids made an animal that they had learned about. We concluded watching an episode of the Magic School Bus that was about sneaky spiders and how they survive. This next week will be all about Butterflies.

Emilie, museum educator

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saturday Safari - Biggest & Smallest Animals

On February 19th, we spent Saturday Safari learning about the biggest and smallest animals. Did you know that the coconut crab grows up to be three feet long, with legs that are three feet long as well? We learned about elephants, squids, and tarantulas, with a special visit from our very own tarantula MJ. Our craft was very fun. We had paper plates, and the kids were able to make their paper plate look like an animal that they learned about. There were some very creative art projects. This Saturday we will be learning about Sneaky Animals and Their Defenses. It will be a blast!

Emilie, museum educator

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saturday Safari - Animal Fur

On January 29th, we had a wonderful Saturday Safari Adventure! We learned all about fur and how it helps animals survive. We were able to go up to the Education Collection in the museum, there the kids pet animals like the Arctic Fox, Bobcat and the Porcupine. They also had a chance to feel many different kinds of fur. After that, we did a wonderful craft! The kids made up their own animal and the environment that they would be living in, then, with the ever so wonderful items we have in the craft room, they were able to give that animal many different “fur” textures. This Saturday we will be learning about animals without teeth.

Emilie, Museum educator

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saturday Safari - Camouflage

This last Saturday Safari we learned all about camouflage; from the mimic octopus which can change into any color and imitate shapes of other sea animals for protection, to the chameleon which changes its colors because of territorial purposes and emotions. We then, watched the special Eric Carle animated movie, “The Mixed up Chameleon.” After that, we took a tour of the museum, and looked at all of the different ways in which animals camouflage themselves; the kids even had a chance to pet a Horned Owl and an Arctic Owl. After the tour we went up to the craft room and made our own animal camouflage shirts. The kids had such a fun time with this Saturday Safari. Next week we will be learning all about animal fur.

Emilie, museum educator

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Saturday Safari - Looking into the Past

On January 15th we spent Saturday Safari by looking into the past. This year we are learning about different animal adaptations, and what better a way to start it than with prehistoric animals? We learned about the Mososaur and its modern day relative the monitor lizard (special appearance by Shi Shi). We also learned about all of the different animals that adapted well in prehistoric times, and the ones that did not quite make it like that Wooly Mammoth. We participated in a small craft, and ended with watching The Land Before Time. This Saturday Safari was so much fun, and next week will be even cooler! We are learning about camouflage!

Emilie, museum educator