Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wildlife Adventures - "Cave Crawlers" (Week 5)

To trogloxenes who this may concern:

Tuesday: This day we dedicated to preparing us for the awesome journey to middle earth. We learned about what lives in a cave, how the creatures are adapted to live (for example a Blindfish has to little to no eyes - literally - and has a head extra sensitive to vibrations so that the fish can navigate the black cave waters), we played Marco-Polo bat style with bats blindfolded and listening to the "eek" of their insect prey, and we found out that humans are trogloxenes (or "cave guests" we may use it as a home or to visit but not permanently). After our detailed preparation, we all readied ourselves for the field test.

Thursday: With nothing less than ecstatic excitement we made our first move at 11am. We piled in our vans, buckled up, and arrived safely to the foot of our climb. All 23 of us made the arduous, but worthwhile, journey up to Timpanogos Cave. It was amazing! Some of our favorites were the "cave bacon" (long, thin strips of calcite that forms from water running repeatedly over the same spot and it looks deliciously like bacon), stalactites and stalagmites, and thousands of tiny formations that look like curly fries covering an entire cavern. The uphill battle was well worth the amazing look into the mountain's brains (there were some crazy formations that could be compared to the inner workings of the human brain...or maybe the digestive system, it's debatable). We made our journey down happily and grateful to have seen such an amazing site. 

Mary, museum educator


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wildlife Adventures - "Feathered Friends" (Week 4)

This week for Wildlife Adventures we had a great time learning about our Feathered and (mostly) Flying Friends! Birds! We had a great time as we explored the world of all things Feathered and Winged both in the Bean Museum and at Tracy Aviary. On Tuesday we were able to make the first of our new feathered friends as we met Festus, a pearl cockatiel from Australia. We had a great time interacting with Festus and even giving him a snack as we learned the basics of bird biology. Another definite highlight was exploring the museum's bird collection using "Identify Me" an application developed for just such a task. "Identify Me" allows school groups, families, scout troops, and anyone else interested in all squawking, cooing, screeching and/or whooing things to identify bird species throughout the museum using a QR code system, simple questions, an Ipad borrowed from the museum's front desk at no charge and/or your own mobile device. We were able to learn about bird anatomy, coloring, beak shape/functions and a whole lot more. 

Whats more, we met a few more feathered friends on Thursday as we visited Tracy Aviary and put our recently acquired bird identification skills to the test! We saw birds from all across the planet, including Andy, an Andean Condor with a wingspan of 10 feet whom we followed as he hopped, waddled, and dare I say it, swaggered through the aviary on his daily walk. He may not live on Sesame Street but he was definitely a BIG bird!  Now, if you as a simple ground dwelling mammal just like all of us, are still wondering what you can do to make up for lack of avian experience and knowledge, there is hope yet! Use "Identify Me" the next time you visit the museum and feel free to bring the whole flock! For the best feather covered adventure around! See you then! 

Nathan, museum educator