Monday, November 27, 2023

2023 Fall Game Nights Report

Three game nights were held at the Bean Museum this semester and each was a blast! Participants were able to register for this free event and come play a mix of life science related games or games they brought in themselves. Along with free treats, getting to play board games with friends while seated beside a giant elephant and rhino is a pretty neat experience. With popular games like Pandemic and Wingspan, and other lesser known but just as enjoyable games like Planet and Ecosystems, this event is the perfect way to learn a little more about our planet and all its ecological intricacies. With plenty of opportunities to come next semester, this is an event that any board game and science loving individual won’t want to miss out on!

Joanna, museum educator

Thursday, November 16, 2023

2023 Fall Clue Murder Mystery Dinner

On November 11th, 2023, 60 of Utah’s finest were invited to an exclusive dinner with Monte L. Bean. Tragically, he would never arrive, as dinner was interrupted with the news that he had been murdered. Our spiffy guests were quick to act and solve the case.

Dining guests, mere moments before the tragedy of the century.

Our guests-turned-detectives being filled in on suspects and beginning their sleuthing.

After intense examination, it was determined that the murdered was committed by none other than Mr. Green in the conservatory with the hippo tusk. Mr. Bean was prepared to expose Mr. Green for his medical malpractice, so the phony physician performed his final operation - murdering Mr. Bean. All detectives that aided in the investigation were rewarded with cake.

The third place team.

The first place team.
Our second place team recognized that justice is reward enough, and chose to flee into the night before they could receive accolades through photography. Or perhaps they had more crimes to fight, more justice to exact. The first and third place teams enjoyed delicious cake and prizes.

Sylvia, museum educator

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Fall 2023 Halloween Family Night

Guests of all ages descended upon the Bean Museum once again for a night of spook-tacular, frightful fun!! From an interactive show with surprises from creepy crawlies to fun and educational crafts, there was no shortage of things to do at the Bean's Halloween Family night. 

Both guests and employees donned their most creative costumes to get into the Halloween spirit. Guests learned about spooky animals like bats, owls, frogs, toads, and all sorts of venomous creatures at stations throughout the museum.

All in all, Halloween Family Night was a truly frightening success!

Brooke, museum educator

Monday, October 30, 2023

Fall 2023 Wild Edibles Nature Experienceship Report

The Wild Edibles Nature Experienceship taught by Dr. Tom Smith has become a fast growing favorite among the programs offered by the Bean Life Science Museum. This year's class held on Saturday, October 14th began with a brief overview of the joys of cooking with native ingredients along with a demonstration on how to create homemade chocolate from scratch. This was just the beginning of both an exciting and delicious morning spent exploring the BYU grounds and discovering the plentiful sources of food found here. One of the first and most surprising edibles found here as shown by Dr. Smith are that the flowers of the Day Lily, located all around campus, are not only edible but also rather sweet to the taste. The red berries found on Yew bushes are also quite tasty even if a bit slimy. Remember to spit out the seeds if eaten raw, or cook them into a jam. 

After wandering around the gardens by the Life Science Building and learning about the wide variety of edible plant life found there we returned to the classroom. We were then treated to an array of sweets and treats all created from the plant life we had just observed. We proceeded to taste not only acorn flour muffins and cookies but also crab apple crisp, fresh chocolate, sumac tea, a variety of jams and syrups along with Juniper berry seasoned salmon. All in all the wild edibles class was an overwhelming success.

Joseph Riggs, museum educator

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

2023 Fall Insect Nature Experienceeship

Have you ever wondered what it's like to embark on a bug-hunting expedition led by an expert in the field? Recently at the Bean Museum we had the incredible opportunity to gather a group of enthusiastic nature lovers at the Bean Life Science Museum, where Shawn Clark, a research professor at BYU and the collections manager for insects and arachnids at the museum, took us on an entomological adventure.

On Saturday September 23rd, we gathered at the museum, armed with nets, vials, and an insatiable curiosity, we set off to explore the wondrous world of insects. Our mission: to collect and identify aquatic and terrestrial insects while learning how to properly obtain and preserve them for our own collections.

We traveled to the Lower Hobble Creek Wildlife Management Area where  Dr.Clark , with his boundless knowledge and infectious enthusiasm, guided us through the process of collecting aquatic insects from the creek. With our nets and soft forceps, we stood at the water's edge, sweeping our net through the aquatic vegetation. It wasn't long before we began to uncover a hidden world of water-loving insects, from water beetles to delicate damselflies.

But our adventure didn't stop there! As we transitioned to collecting terrestrial insects, Shawn shared invaluable insights into their habits and habitats. Despite the later season and the chilly morning air, we persevered. Insects may be cold-blooded, seeking warmth as the temperature drops, but our determination was unwavering. We scoured the grassy meadows and plants, discovering an array of terrestrial insects from assorted flies and true bugs to Green Lacewings.

One of the most memorable moments of the day was our encounter with some adorable little friends - praying mantises. These curious creatures seemed just as interested in us as we were in them, and they often decided to hitch a ride on our clothing. 

As we collected our insect treasures, Shawn taught us how to preserve them using alcohol, ensuring that our specimens would remain in a condition for further study and admiration. Throughout our adventure, Shawn's expertise and passion for entomology shone brightly. He not only helped us identify the insects we found but also shared captivating anecdotes about their lives and ecological roles. It was a day filled with laughter, learning, and an abundance of bug-related facts.

Our bug-tastic adventure with Shawn Clark at the Bean Life Science Museum was an unforgettable experience that left us with a newfound appreciation for the incredible diversity and beauty of insects. 

Emma, museum educator

Friday, September 29, 2023

2023 September Trivia Night Report


Trivia night at the Bean Life Science Museum this Saturday was “paw”sibly the most cat-filled fun ever! Nine tough teams joined us to test their knowledge of not just our legendary mascot Cosmo, but his real-life counterparts, cougars! Also included in “Cosmo’s Conundrums” were questions about other big cats, smaller species of cats, and famous cats, such as Shasta.

Teams got to pick their own mascots to represent them as well, and they sure did get creative with their names! We were happy to have the “Under-quail-ified quails” along with “You better put a ringtail cat on it” joining us. 

We congratulate “Cats (2019)” on their close win!

Not a purr could be heard over the excited discussion and cries of exclamation we had this Saturday at the Bean!  

Lexia, museum educator

Thursday, September 28, 2023

2023 Fall Birding Nature Experienceship Report

On Saturday, September 16th, nature enthusiasts gave up a morning of sleeping in and gathered at the museum before the sun came up to leave on an exciting bird watching event. The group was guided by Merrill Webb, a bird expert well known across the state. Webb had scouted out the event for several days prior to ensure that we would have the best experience possible.

The day revolved around the bird life near Utah lake and the Provo River Delta. At only the first stop, the group was able to identify several species of waterfowl (including heron, cranes, mallards, egrets, gulls, and pelicans) and spotted 2 bald eagles in the distant tree line. After moving a ways down the water’s edge, the group spotted an Avocet, Wood Duck, Kingfisher, Cooper’s Hawk, and even a Peregrine Falcon. Everyone was equipped with a pair of binoculars, and some in the group brought spotting scopes that were shared for an even better sighting.

The group continued south along the lake spotting several new species. A favorite among the group was seeing a mother Clark’s Grebe swimming in the lake with 2 chicks resting on her back, while watching others dive for fish, holding their breath for impressive amounts of time. Other species included ravens and crows, pheasants, terns, vultures, and sparrows.

The last spot the group stopped at was a more wooded area where Webb successfully called over a few black-capped chickadees (another favorite sighting of the group) and were also able to spot several yellow-rumped warblers, although it was hard to get a good look in the binoculars because they moved around so fast. Then, across the water, the group spotted 2 ospreys and some Canadian geese, for a total of 50 species for the day!

The event was wonderful for beginner and experienced birders alike. We are grateful to Merrill Webb for taking the time to help the group appreciate the diverse birdlife so close by, and reinforce the need to protect and cherish our natural world.

Ben, museum educator

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

2023 Back to School at the Bean

Welcome back to school everyone! Students and families alike came and enjoyed the event. As they explored the museum, they participated in various activities, each giving a sneak-peak at an upcoming event in the semester. People were immediately excited to finish their passport, get all the stamps, and spin the prize wheel. We had fun games and trivia to advertise our game and trivia nights, and brain-tickling riddles and eye-catching costumes to support our Murder Mystery Dinner. We also showed off our live invertebrates to showcase the nature experienceships and Halloween night.

Our photo booth was available for those who wanted to capture the moment, and had the opportunity to snap a pic with one of our specimens, the most popular being the otter. Our new Utah exhibit was also on display, with a curiosity cart showing off some of the local fauna and flora. People especially loved the great horned owl. Cookies and brownies were also available for people to enjoy while they explored the museum. A very busy and exciting night at the Life Science Museum.

Ethan, museum educator

Thursday, July 27, 2023

2023 Biology Bootcamp Report

Plant Day

Can you identify the diverse leaf types around BYU campus? Our Biology Bootcamp troops can! To kick off their camp we spent a whole day learning about plants, including their structures and the incredible processes that make them tick. We hit the field right off the bat by sleuthing around the trees on campus and identifying leaves. The kids got to learn all about plant anatomy as they performed an experiment and dissection with petunias. They learned all about photosynthesis and got soaked while they were at it outside with an all out Bean Museum water fight. We painted some flower pots so they could engage in plant science once they got home with a bean seed of their own.They finished off with carnivorous plants and made their very own venus fly traps! The seed of excitement for the rest of Biology Bootcamp was planted and they were ready for more!  

McCady, museum educator

Insect Day

For insect day, we started off by learning all about arthropods! Then we trekked down to the botany pond on campus to look for these organisms, mostly arachnids and insects! It was hot, but the kids loved seeing the ducks and looking in nooks and crannies for different bugs we had talked about. We then learned about butterfly life cycles, pollination, and all types of ants. We also talked about how different types of crustaceans moved and had a presentation about arachnids. Our campers could agree that insect day was un-bee-lieveably fun!

Larisa, museum educator

Mammal & Fish Day

Who would win in a fight? A lion, leopard, gazelle, or zebra? Just ask our Biology Bootcamp kids, who know that out in the wild it’s survival of the fittest! For our day on mammals, the kids took on the roles of these animals and fought for points by avoiding hunters, other animals, finding food and water, and completing dares. Not only did we create the African Savanna on BYU campus, but we learned about the adaptations and skills of different types of mammals. Habitats were learned and discussed over matching games, and we even talked about the importance of hair! To dive under for the end of the day, we transitioned from mammals to fish. It sure was fun to learn about the different types of fins and fish body types! 

Lexia, museum educator

Bird Day

We kicked off our bird section with a field trip down by the Provo River Delta to go bird-watching! The kids learned to use their binoculars to observe and record all sorts of birds, from quail and blackbirds to herons and ibises. After stopping at a park for lunch, we jumped into our section on reptiles and amphibians, where the kids learned to tell them apart and about the wacky and wild varieties of species there are. We did some games and crafts to learn about the many different “superpowers” that they have, like heat vision, breathing through their skin, and regeneration. With our last day of museum activities done, the campers were ready for the zoo!

Sage, museum educator

Friday, July 7, 2023

2023 Junior Naturalist Report

Don’t be surprised if you bug out reading this post- these kids are more than just a couple of naturalists, they’re survivalists! During Junior Naturalist our participants had the chance to not just collect insects and plants, but to preserve them as well. In conjunction with Thanksgiving Point, these campers had a ton of fun. On Tuesday the kids visited Aspen Grove, Vivian Park, and the Provo River Delta. Bugs- watch out for these naturalists! They caught everything from wasps to mosquitoes to cabbage white butterflies. 

But these naturalists aren’t just about insects! Understanding plants is crucial to understanding any ecosystem, so they gathered those as well. By the time Wednesday rolled around it was time to do the dirty work- preserving the findings! Plants were pressed and dried before glued to paper, while insects were being pinned. Our friends then made their way to Thanksgiving Point on Thursday to identify all their findings. 

Friday was the day for our naturalists to share what they’d learned. Scientists don’t mind sharing, in fact, they embrace every opportunity! Posters, drawings, and demonstrations were created to show off their incredible findings and hard work. There was nothing junior and everything natural about the great time our participants had during this camp! 


Lexia, museum educator

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

2023 Critter Camp (Land, Water, and Air)

Critter Camp Week One - Land

The first week of critter camp really landed with kids and educators alike. The critter kiddos in question had a great time learning about land animals ranging from elephants to wolves. The kids participated in crafts, games, and exploration of the museum.

Finally the time came to apply all they’d learned and practiced in the real world! The kids truly became scientists as they trekked through Big Springs Hollow Loop, identifying insects and observing plants around them on the way. Not even a little bit of rain could stop these explorers! Although, I’d say many of them might recommend a poncho. Let’s hear it for these brave critter camp kiddos! 

Lexia, museum educator

Critter Camp Week Two - Water

We got in the flow of things for the second week of critter camp! We had a fantastic time learning about all of the different sea creatures and what helps them to survive underwater! The Critter Campers played a game about echolocation and created their own sea creatures. 

On Thursday, we got to see adaptations in action as we explored the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. The kids enjoyed seeing all the types of creatures we had learned about (and many more) and pointed out other characteristics that they discovered. These small scientists really blew us away with their sea creature knowledge!

Larisa, museum educator

Critter Camp Week Three - Air 

The last week of Critter Camp really flew by! We had so much fun learning about flying animals and what makes them fit for the skies. We explored the museum’s exhibits looking for flying birds and insects and used cheetos to demonstrate pollination. We even made our own wings!

For our second day, we got to see some ducks and ducklings at the duck pond on BYU campus, and the kids had a blast building and testing out nests made of sticks and leaves. We then headed for the Provo River Delta, where we saw several different species of birds and butterflies through our binoculars. Nothing like an up-close view to put some wind under the wings of these little scientists!

Alexis, museum educator