Thursday, April 23, 2020

Earth Day 2020

Happy Earth Month everybody!

This April 22nd we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This holiday was originally started in 1970 to celebrate the Earth and teach about conservation. In the past, many people have celebrated this historical event by cleaning up rivers and highways, planting trees, and holding conferences to help make better environmental decisions. This year has been very different however, and you may be thinking, how can I still celebrate the Earth this month? Here are some ideas for practicing conservation from home:

  • Start (Or continue!) to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce the amount of water you use by taking shorter showers, scraping scraps into the trash (instead of down the sink) or combining loads of laundry. Just don't skimp on that hand washing! 
  • Pick up trash around your neighborhood. When you are walking around your neighborhood, pick up any trash you see and put it in the proper receptacles. It may not feel as big as cleaning a whole river, but every little bit counts. This can help reduce the micro-plastic that is found in many waterways today. 
  • Plant a garden. Now is an excellent time to learn about and try your hand at growing your own food. Not only is it satisfying to see your hard work go straight onto your dinner table, it also reduces carbon emissions by cutting out shipping. 
  • Become an ereader! Many people may be missing their local libraries, but many of them still offer books through apps such as Libby or Overdrive. The "e" stands for "electronic", but it could also stand for "environmental", since reading digital copies of books cuts down on the amount of paper produced to create books. 
  • Practice citizen science. A big part of science is simply observation. Many scientists use citizens in their research to track the habitat and migration of different animals. Look for websites, apps, or Facebook groups that need observations of plants, animals, insects and birds, and submit what you see day to day! Share your observations on the website or app called iNaturalist. You can use lots of apps and internet communities to help you identify species, but here are a few to get you started: 
Comment below if you can identify the birds in these photos.
  • Look to see what others are doing! There are many people celebrating in their own way, look on social media to see how people are celebrating the Earth. And don't forget to post your own!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

2020 Tomb Raider Date Night



On March 7, 2020 approximately 30 couples gathered in the Bean Life Science Museum for Tomb Raider’s date night. The mission was simple enough: retrieve the jewel encrusted skull of Monte L. Bean for Madam Duvalt. After eating a delicious meal and being briefed on the dangers of the mission guests were ready to begin the mission. This particular group was quite brave and enthusiastic in the face of danger. Guests were asked to maneuver through the museum completing various riddles from our cast members, remaining wary of the shadow guards who would strike when thunder would sound throughout the museum. 






Guests made use of strategy and pure speed to evade the shadow guards’ cold grasp. In order to receive a map piece guests had to shoot the shadow guards in the nautical themed shooting gallery ran by the Ship Captain and her First Mate, overcome their fears as they went through the Mystic’s blind folded maze through some of the exotic animals from her past, and cautiously move through Cleopold’s laser course, among others challenges in the museum.


The last map piece is always the most elusive! Guests would have to really face their fears by facing the shadow guards themselves in order to truly succeed, even though it would be risky and dangerous. In the end, one couple was victorious over the rest, and Madam Duvalt finally had her prized skull at last.  




Sarah Robinson, museum educator

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

2020 Night at the Museums

Last Friday, BYU’s seventh annual Night at the Museums event brought over 1,000 visitors to the Bean Museum!


Guests had a blast participating in the Vertebrate Variety Program, taking pictures at our photo booth, getting a hands-on experience with specimens from Utah’s native animal species, and snacking on “mini Cougar tails”—maple bar donuts—after exploring the exhibits. They also participated in the Night at the Museums scavenger hunt, where each of the five museums awarded a sticker to guests who could solve their riddle.


Congratulations to anyone who figured out all five clues and won a water bottle!


If you weren’t able to join us, here’s a chance to see if you can solve the Bean Museum’s riddle. The answer is below the picture!


I’m silent but deadly, and move in the night.
To mice I’m not friendly; I kill and take flight.

lʍo :ɹǝʍsu∀

Brie Hardy, educator


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Winter 2020 Birding with Merrill Webb




Before the sun even rose, patrons gathered with birding expert, Merrill Webb, in the parking lot of the Bean Museum. Rising before the sun was key to see the species we were hoping to spot: Bald Eagles. Our nation's symbol can be seen in Utah during the winter when the eagles fly south from Alaska and Canada to roost. The best viewing time for these rapturous raptors is during the month of February.


Driving out to Palmyra, Utah, the group stopped at a known roosting site, and immediately spotted a subadult Bald Eagle in it’s nest. These hunters leave their nests at sunrise to begin hunting, and we were able to watch this one take off in search of food. Three other eagles were spotted in the area, flying, or occasionally landing in the trees.

Continuing the drive, several different bird species were spotted from the vans, including American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, European Starlings, Black-billed Magpies, and Great-tailed Grackles. Pulling up by the airport, several Northern Flickers were spotted, and a tree full of the gorgeous red-bellied American Robins.



The next spot that was chosen was the shores of Utah lake. Right away, there were many different species of birds all around us. Red-winged Blackbirds flitted about in the trees; Grebes and Coots swam around in the water; and Canada Geese, Mallards, and an American Wigeon called out to each other from every direction. Excitingly, a Great Blue Heron rested directly across from us, about 15 yards away. Once everyone got out to see him, he flew a little further back, but we were still able to capture him in our scopes, binoculars, and cameras.


Moving down the shore, we found a cluster of gulls resting on the ice. We were told that if they have yellow legs, they were Ring-billed Gulls, and if they had pink legs, they were Herring Gulls. After examining all the legs of the birds, one sharp eyed birder was able to spot a single Herring Gull out of dozens of Ring-billed Gulls.


Moving along the lake, we were able to spot more gulls, more Canada Geese and Mallards, a Green-winged Teal, and five more Bald Eagles. Everyone was very excited to see more of the birds we had originally set out to look for, and we stayed watching them until it got too cold to stand it.




Finally, we took a short detour by the new Provo High to try and see some new species, and were able to spot some Song Sparrows and one Northern Harrier, before we headed back to the museum, everyone feeling excited about a morning well spent.



Birds Seen:
Bald Eagle
European Starling
Black-billed Magpie
American Kestrel
Red-tailed Hawk
Great-tailed Grackle
Ring-billed Gull
Northern Flicker
Canada Geese
American Robin
Mallard
Red-winged Blackbird
Great Blue Heron
American Coot
Pied-billed Grebe
American Wigeon
Herring Gull
Green-winged Teal
Song Sparrow

Northern Harrier

Maren Hatch, educator