Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Birding with Merrill Webb Nature Experienceship - March 26, 2022

As the sun was rising on a beautiful spring Saturday morning, a group of excited birders gathered in the BYU Life Sciences Museum parking lot. The group eagerly anticipated the five destinations between Provo and Mona picked by birding expert and our guide, Merrill Webb. Mr. Webb gave the group a breakdown of the day and expressed his high expectations to see many unique bird species. 

First stop: Salem Pond

When we arrived at the Salem Pond, everyone quietly exited the vans and pulled out their binoculars. It was a picturesque scene as the waterfowl swam and the birders fixed their binoculars on the beautiful birds. The birders identified several different waterfowl species. Mr. Webb brought everyone’s attention to a Belted Kingfisher, Virginia Rail, and Steller’s Jay. Everyone observed them in awe. As we drove away from our first spot, a few of the birders saw some species – a Kestrel and others – that intrigued the group enough to pull over and once again commence birdwatching. 

Second stop: Payson City Cemetery

Mr. Webb took the group to the Payson City Cemetery in search of one bird – the Great Horned Owl. Immediately upon arrival, Mr. Webb spotted a couple that was there for the same reason. They were kind enough to show us where they had spotted the owl. Our group of birders followed and admired the beautiful owl perched in a tree overlooking a field of gravestones. 

Third stop: Cedar Hollow Reservoir

The next stop took us on dirt roads and right by a beautiful orchard. Cedar Hollow Reservoir was a prime location for observing waterfowl. The group spotted Green-winged Teal, Red-winged Blackbird and others.

Fourth stop: Goshen Playa

The fourth stop took us to a reservoir a mile or so east of Goshen. With Mt. Nebo in the backdrop, the group observed more species of waterfowl. 

Fifth stop: Mona Reservoir

Mr. Webb took the group to Mona Reservoir to observe more waterfowl. The drive through Goshen Canyon had the passengers amazed by the beautiful views. Upon arrival at the reservoir, one of the birders heard a Meadowlark and had all of the birders searching for the beautiful birds. After observing it for a while, everyone’s attention returned to the beautiful waterfowl. 

Sixth stop: Rowley's Red Barn in Santaquin for some ice cream. :)

Alex, museum educator

Species spotted:

Canada Goose


American Wigeon


Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler

Green-winged Teal



Lesser Scaup


Common Goldeneye

Ruddy Duck

Pied-billed Grebe

Eared Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

Virginia Rail

American Coot

Sandhill Crane


Ring-billed Gull

California Gull

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Great horned Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Say’s Phoebe

Steller’s Jay

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

American Robin

European Starling

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

House Finch

BYU Night at the Museums 2022

It was a night to remember as we had record amounts of people participate in the BYU Night at the Museums event this past Friday (March 25, 2022)! Thousands of people came pouring through the door, searching for the answer to one of the five clues they had to solve to win a free water bottle. To find what they were looking for at the Bean Life Science Museum, they had to make their way to the basement where one of our educators, Holly, was waiting by the bat display with stickers for the visitors who had solved the riddle.

But that’s not all the fun that was waiting for them! There were education stations where patrons could learn more about animal furs and skins or native Utah plants; 

a craft room where they could make their own butterfly or dragonfly out of pipe cleaners, paper and beads; and donuts for visitors - at least until all 1,000 of them had been handed out! 

Visitors who came later also got the chance to guess the name of a mystery animal that stumped everyone but our museum director! And even he had to think for a while before he could think of ‘ringtail cat’.

All in all, it was a great night. If you couldn’t make it, don’t feel too bad - there’s always next year! 

Check out the Daily Universe article about the event.

Arissa, museum educator

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Winter 2022 Date Night - Tomb Raiders

On Saturday, March 5th the BYU life science museum ran a date night for thirty couples. Dinner was catered by Brick Oven and included pizza, pasta, and salad. Afterwards, we ran a series of games and riddles with a tomb raider theme. The games included a nerf gun shooting range, two scavenger hunts, a laser maze, a trust exercise where one partner guided the other blindfolded through a maze, and a series of five riddles. Throughout the games, the players had to avoid being captured by a group called the shadow guard. All in all, it was an enjoyable night at the museum. 

Daniel, educator

Monday, March 14, 2022

Winter 2022 Trivia Nights

On January 29 and February 26, 2022, we had our first Bean Museum Trivia Night! For January we had trivia about Mandela Effects, Geography, and Mythological creatures. As participants came out of the elevator they were met with a difficult choice, which animal they wanted to have represent their team. With options including a hawksbill sea turtle, coral, and an eared grebe it was not an easy choice. As the questions began, participants were under the threat of Karl G. Maeser’s ghost as they scored themselves through the rounds. After totaling their points the winners were announced, earning the right to choose their prize from some of the best options left over from the store. Even though only three teams got to bring a prize home, everyone got a prize they could eat. The perfect consolation to those who lost, and an added bonus to those who won, donuts were available to all of the guests. 

The February Trivia Night was just as successful. We focused on life science questions this time with rounds requiring you to identify animal sounds and close up animal pictures, determine if the image was a plant or if it was a fungus, invertebrate trivia, how to interact with animals and finally an animal fact kahoot speed round. This time there was a three way tie, meaning that those three groups in first place were able to choose their prize from some animal figurines or a bean fidget toy. The winners of the kahoot round were also able to choose a prize. We had table mascots again, but this time there was a small write up to teach the groups about the animal they chose to represent them. Of course we had to follow it up with donuts again, as they were a big hit at the first trivia night. Kahoot Winners:

February Trivia Night: