Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week Six - Cave Crawlers

So our last week of Wildlife Adventures finally came!  We had been looking forward to this as much as the explorers that accompanied us.  On Tuesday, our class learned about caves and the many living things which inhabit them. We learned how a cave is "alive", ever growing as long as it is left untouched.  We found out the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite is quite easy to differentiate.  StalacTites are found at the TOP of the cave, while stalaGmites are found on the ground of the cave.  In regards to our cave critters, we discovered that some of them are only guests in the cave (trogloxenes), some are cave lovers (troglophiles), and then there are those that depend on the cave for survival (troglobytes).  After learning all about our cave friends, we made our own bat!  Next, we went outside to try our own little echolocation to find our friends throughout the “cave”.

Thursday was a blast, we enjoyed the outdoors as we hiked our way up to Timpanogos Cave.  This was quite a long journey for our shorter explorers, but they were all troopers.  We all kept going to reach our goal – the cave where we would soon feel and see the environment of a cave critter.  We stopped for lunch at the cave’s entrance, where we were able to learn about the fossils within the mountain from one of the park rangers.  This was a special, yet unexpected treat!  They even explained how the cave forms for us before we even entered the cave.  When we finally got to enter the cave, our guide, Ranger Nick, explained a few rules to us.  Since the cave is "alive" and continuously growing, we don’t want to hurt it so we needed to keep our hands to ourselves and not touch the rock formations.  We learned that the oils from our hands could damage the rock and cause it to stop growing.  Our little explorers didn’t have a problem with this at all and were super excited to see the cave.  As we went further into the caves, Ranger Nick turned all the lights off for us so that we could “see” how cave critters live, in complete darkness.  Later on, we learned that there is one cave formation that no one knows how it forms, the helictites.  These formations are stalactites that defy gravity!  So how do they form?  Ranger Nick suggested that maybe one of our explorers would one day find the answer.  This week was definitely an adventure for our explorers and Timpanogos Cave definitely gave us all a lot to think about.

As always, come visit the Bean Museum Monday through Friday from 10-9 and Saturday from 10-5 for some free fun!

Heather, Museum Educator

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week Five - Feathered Friends

Feathered Friends Jul 29- 31
Our Feathered Friends week was awesome!  In our class on Tuesday, we had our very own educator, Allie, who volunteers at the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, come and bring in some of their rescued birds. She brought in Grommet, a Western Screech Owl; Moonshine, a Barn Owl; and Cheyenne, a Red-tailed Hawk. Afterward, we dissected owl pellets. We found all kinds of bones and fur from small rodents, we even found some bird bones. We learned a lot about what makes birds unique, like feathers and hollow bones. It is really cool to see how different birds can be from each other.  We got to touch hummingbirds, ducks, and even eagles from the museum’s collection! We finished off our class time making bird masks.
On Thursday, we visited the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. It was really fun seeing the California condor, who is one of the largest flying birds in the world and also happens to be very endangered. We got to see birds from all over the world. It was cool to see all of the different adaptations that birds have, like their different kinds of feet or their differently shaped beaks and bills.  We finished off our visit watching the macaw show. Macaws are really loud! They can be heard up to 2 miles away! Birds are really amazing.

Josh, Museum educator

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week Four - Reptile Retreat

This week we had a great time at Wildlife Adventures. On Tuesday our focus was on reptiles, we talked about the main characteristics of reptiles. How they have scales, are ectothermic, and usually lay eggs. We also had the opportunity to look at several live animals, including two very large animals, Simon the Red Tegu Lizard and Oatis the African Spurred Tortoise. After we were through with the discussion about the Reptiles we went through the museum and looked at the various reptiles, we even had a chance to practice our ability in telling the difference between an alligator and a crocodile. We also had a fun time creating our own snakes out of tube socks and rice.

On Thursday our focus changed from modern day reptiles to their ancient relatives—the dinosaurs. To do this we visited the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. We had a great time and got to do a variety of activities at the museum, we say how much we weighed in relation to the dinosaurs. We also got a good look at the variety of the dinosaurs and tried to figure out which animals were truly related to modern day reptiles. One of our favorite animals was a prehistoric sea turtle that was about 15 feet long from head to tail. We also got a chance to see how the way that reptiles looked changed over time from there beginnings to the modern day. At the end of the trip we got the opportunity to practice our paleontology skills. Everyone got a real fish fossil and was able to trace it with an air powered drill and they even got to keep the fossil.

Overall we had a great time on our Wildlife Adventure this week and we hope that you can join us for more in the future.

Brendon, museum educator

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week Three - The Bees Knees

Week 3 of our Wildlife Adventures program was buzzing with fun!  In our Tuesday class this week, we learned about how important bees are for the world around us and we learned about the social network of a beehive.  We even learned how bees communicate with each other and helped our classmates find different animals that we hid by dancing to show the direction.  We quickly learned the specific clues to look for to know where to look.  Our hive definitely learned to work together like the bees we learned about.

Our field trip on Thursday was definitely a treat!  We went to The Honey Company here in Provo and learned about bees from an expert!  He taught us how beekeepers find the beehive if they are looking for new bees and  then we got all dressed up in beekeeper's gear to get close to the hives!  In the hives we were able to see the different parts of the hive including where the baby bees are growing!  Our friend the beekeeper then took us to where he extracts the honey and showed us the whole process.  We were even able to taste fresh honey from the hive which was definitely a yummy treat!  At the end he even gave us each some honey to take home to share with our families.  After learning about the bees from the expert, we went bee hunting ourselves and caught many different ones.  After lots of fun catching bees, we decided to look at them under a microscope to see if we could find specific parts of the bees.  It was a great week in Wildlife Adventures and the trip to The Honey Company was definitely the sweetest part!

Check back this coming week to read about our "Reptile Retreat" adventure!  It's still not too late to register for some of our later programs this summer!

Feathered  Friends - July 29 & July 31
Cave Crawlers - Aug 5 & 7

As always, come visit the Bean Museum Monday through Friday from 10-9 and Saturday from 10-5 for free summer fun!

Heather, museum educator

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week Two - Rock On!

We had a rockin' week here at the Bean Museum with week two of our WILDLIFE ADVENTURES program! For our Tuesday class this week, we discussed the importance of rocks in everyday life, the difference between rocks and minerals, various types of rocks, the meaning of igneous/metamorphic/sedimentary, and the wonder of the rock cycle. We even went on a treasure hunt and found all sorts of different rocks to classify! Ask us the difference between black tourmaline and obsidian, and we can tell you!

Our Thursday field trip was a blast! We went to the Museum of Paleontology here at BYU to discover how sedimentary rocks can contain fossils and clues to the past. We then visited Rock Canyon Park and Bridal Veil Falls to look at different sediment samples and observe erosion and the rock cycle in motion. Here you can see some pictures of us beginning our rock cycle scavenger hunt at the base of Bridal Veil Falls. It was my favorite part of the week by a landslide!

Watson: Holmes! What kind of rock is this!
Holmes: Sedimentary, my dear Watson. 

Check back this week to read about our "Bee's Knees" adventure! It's still not too late to register for some of our later programs this summer!

Reptile Retreat - July 15 & 17
Feathered Friends - July 29 & Aug 1
Cave Crawlers - Aug 5 & 7

As always, come and visit the Bean Museum Monday through Friday from 10 - 9 and Saturday from 10 - 5 for free summer fun!

Museum Educator

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wildlife Adventures Week One - Water Wildlife!

Wow! We had an incredible first week of our summer WILDLIFE ADVENTURES program here at the Bean Museum. On Tuesday, we learned all about what a wetland is, why they are so important, and what kinds of plants and animals live there. Thanks to the incredible Education Collection here at the Bean, we could look at and touch all sorts of wetland specimens: muskrat, caiman, weasel, duck, mink, Woodhouse toad, rainbow trout, and so much more. Even some of our live animals came out for the experience, like Lemon the Pac-Man frog and Houdini the Ornate Box turtle!

After becoming wetland experts on Tuesday, we ventured to the Provo River Restoration Project in Wasatch County on Thursday to spot all sorts of wildlife in their natural habitat. We saw everything from coyote prints to garter snakes, from mink to blackbirds! Check out the photographic proof of our adventure!

Can you spot the garter snake sunning himself on the rock?

A family of goslings for an afternoon swim.

A mink pup! He came right up to us to say hello, before his mother came to drag him off! (Probably to remind him not to talk to strangers!)

Cattails and a yellow-headed blackbird in the distance.

A caterpillar who tried to hitchhike with us. Smile little guy!

A beautiful day at the pond.

Josh was an excellent tour guide. Thanks Josh!

A beaver has done some damage to this log here. They have to always be chewing on something or their teeth would grow forever!

Stay tuned for more pictures and news about Wildlife Adventures for the rest of the summer! It's not too late to register for some of our later programs. Coming up....

The Bee's Knees - July 8 & 10
Reptile Retreat - July 15 & 17
Feathered Friends - July 29 & Aug 1
Cave Crawlers - Aug 5 & 7

For more summer fun, come and visit the Bean Museum, Monday through Saturday!

Museum Educator