Biodiversity Museum Day Feb. 12 at UC Davis
Feb. 6, 2012
|Theme of the open house at the Bohart Museum on Feb. 12 is "Bug Lovin'. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)|
DAVIS--The University of California, Davis, will celebrate “Biodiversity Museum Day” on Sunday, Feb. 12 when four museums or centers that engage in education and research involving insects, vertebrates or plants will host open houses.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology and the Botanical Conservatory will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m., while the Center for Plant Diversity will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. These events are free and open to the public.
"This will be a fun day where people of all ages can visit UC Davis and check out a number of our research and teaching collections," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum and Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. "Each collection is special and an important scientific resource. I think people will be amazed."
"This is a behind-the-scenes look at some top research collections," Yang said. "There will be staff and students on hand to answer questions and engage people. With Valentine's Day close by there will be some exhibits with a bent toward our love of the natural world, attracting a mate, and mating! But don't worry--it will be appropriate for all ages. For plants this means pollination and that ties back to insects and other animals like bats! "
The event is the first-ever on campus and may become an annual event. "The various collections have talked about doing a museum day," Yang said. "In early February, there is an annual Museum Day for the Sacramento area. This involves the zoo, the railroad museum and other attractions. All are free and people wander between the various places. Here at UC Davis, for the past two years the Bohart Museum has been hosting special weekend hours. This year it grew when the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology decided to do quarterly special weekend hours on the same days.'
A few months ago, Yang approached Ernesto Sandoval of the Botanical Conservatory and asked about the possibility of weekend hours. Then all four collection centers committed. "Everyone was enthusiastic and that is how Biodiversity Museum Day was launched. Hopefully, this will become an annual event."
Theme of the Bohart Museum open house will be “Bug Lovin.’” The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is home to more than seven million insect specimens; a live petting zoo (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks; and a gift shop. The director is Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. The museum is affiliated with the Department of Entomology.
The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MWFB) is a vertebrate museum dedicated to education, outreach, conservation, and research. It is located in 1394 Academic Surge, California Drive and is part of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. MWFB is managed by curator Andrew Engilis, Jr. and collections manager Irene Engilis.
The UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, directed by Ernesto Sandoval, is a 3,600 square-foot greenhouse complex.located north of Storer Hall on Kleiber Hall Drive. Its mission "to inspire, facilitate, promote and engage our visitors with an understanding and appreciation of plants, their diversity and the pivotal role they serve in the environments where they are found," Sandoval says. The Botanical Conservatory is part of the Plant Biology Section, Department of Plant Sciences. The conservatory includes more than 3,000 live specimens from 150 families. Among the specimens: the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum); the blooms smell like rotten meat. The Botanical Conservatory maintains one of the largest collections of carnivorous plants in the world.
The Center for Plant Diversity, directed by Dan Potter of Plant Sciences, is located in 1026 Sciences Laboratory Building, near Briggs and Storer halls. Part of the Department of Plant Sciences, it houses the J.M. Tucker and Beecher Crampton Herbaria. "We are going to have plant pressing and mounting demonstrations as well as tours," said curator Ellen Dean.
Feb. 12 also marks the birthday anniversary of naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). "We won't have a birthday cake, but Darwin was inspired by exploring and collecting plants and animals from all over the world," Yang noted. "This connection to nature and curiosity is what fueled Darwin's research. Our collections can inspire that same sort of curiosity and questioning.”
"The various UC Davis collections continue to grow because of the research of past and present scientists," she said, adding "The collections are here to inspire the next generation of scientists and as a resource to understand our changing world. Our tribute to Darwin is simply to encourage people to spend time outside exploring and getting to know the plants and animals all around us."
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology