Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SNAKES! An Interview with Dr. Jack Sites

Thank you BYU radio for interviewing our wonderful curator of herpetology, Dr. Jack Sites! In this interview, Julie Rose and Dr. Sites talk about the ancient snake, Titanoboa, and how it compares to modern snakes. Follow the link to listen to the interview, and be sure and check out the Titanoboa exhibit at the Bean Museum, coming December 16th!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nature Experienceship: Wild Edibles with Tom Smith

Everyone loves to eat! We were lucky enough to join Tom Smith as he led us around BYU campus, collecting and trying different edible plants. We had quite the group, thirty happy participants (and a few young adventurers) come out to discover what amazing and delicious plants could be identified and used.
We started off in the lab, where Tom gave us acorn flour cookies and explained the plan for the morning. We walked along the trail on the south side of campus, stopping every couple feet to learn about a new plant and it's delicious and nutritious roots/leaves/berries/blossoms. Most of the plants were familiar, but were brought into a new light during this Experienceship. A few of the plants we enjoyed included yew berries (which have a poisonous pit, but a very sweet fruit), elderberries, black walnuts, prickly pear, wild strawberry, and even basil and kale! 
After our morning walk, Tom led us back to the lab where he prepared some samples made from wild plants and fungi. The spread was amazing, including alder smoked salmon (caught and smoked by Tom on his last trip to Alaska), acorn flour bread, Oregon grape jelly, and a wild mushroom soup. Everyone learned so much and were very appreciative of everything Tom shared with us. 

If you want more information on wild edible plants, consider reading Euell Gibbons', Stalking the Wild Asparagus or contact Monte L Bean Life Science Museum for more information. And remember, never eat any plants unless you are as sure it is as safe as eating a plant you bought from the grocery store.