Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Date Night Fall 2016

Breaking News!
At our annual Clue date night, somebody murdered Mr. Bean! Nobody had seen who did it or how it was done. The crowd of detectives who assembled were the best in the business, however, and caught the culprit red handed! Or should we say... White handed? Mrs. White had committed the crime in Mr. Bean's own billiard room with a feather! The disappearances of her previous nine husbands are under current investigation. If you missed out on all the excitement, join us next semester for our winter date night! You never know what mysteries might ensue...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Halloween Family Night

Thanks to all the princesses, pokemon, jedi knights, sith lords, monsters, superheroes, wild animals, and 80's rock stars that joined us for our Halloween family Night!
We sure had a lot of fun with you guys this year! We made animals out of pipe cleaners, monsters out of paper bags, won prizes, took pictures in our photo booth, drew caricatures, and met the Conservation Kids, Katy and Ken! We even had some live animals join us throughout the evening at our Spooky live animal shows. Special thanks as well to Jim Fowers for sharing those beautiful owls with us that evening!

And hey, if you missed out, there's always next year...

Nature Experienceship - Wild Edibles with Tom Smith

Embracing our gatherer heritage we met together on Saturday the 15th in the basement of the Joseph Fielding Smith Building on BYU campus to be instructed by the BYU professor, Dr. Tom Smith. He shared some of his knowledge of edible plants, talked about books to look at like Stalking the Wild Asperagus, and then prepared some acorn flour muffins for us to eat later. As we wandered on campus we gathered acorns, both from White and Bur oaks. Native peoples lived off of acorns because, "they are just a package of fat!" Tom said, "You can't get that much energy from one food source!". We also gathered yew berries from yew bushes. While the leaves and stems are usually toxic, doctors have discovered a way they can be used to treat ovarian cancer. We also collected Oregon grapes (which taste like sour peas), the flowers, buds, and stems of the day lily (which taste like asparagus), and pine nuts from the local pinyon pine, a tree naturally abundant in Utah.  Tom also taught us about how you can eat wild sunflower seeds. Although they are tiny, you can mash them up to eat them. 
After traipsing all over BYU campus, finding all sorts of edible plants, we returned to the kitchen to whip up some wild concoctions. Our feast consisted of Oregon grape and smooth sumac juice (which is tart, like cranberry juice), acorn muffins, pine nut cookies, birch syrup, cacao beans (very bitter...), morrel mushrooms, bacon, and purslane (which is a succulent weed that grows in our gardens and tastes a lot like spinach when cooked.) 
Nature is still full of food that we can use, the key is simply knowing how and where to find it. Not as many plants are actually toxic as we expected. Most of these plants are not exactly what we are used to eating but they are worth knowing. And hey, at least now we can freak people out by eating, what is to them a random flower, but is actually a sweet and spicy nasturtium. 

Here are some pictures from the event. If you are ever interested in joining us for one of these Nature Experienceships, check our website for details on how to sign up!