- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
As of Friday noon, Aug. 25, there's also one tree.
It's a fir.
And no, it has nothing to do with the pending holiday season.
It's for the Bohart Museum's open house, “Bark Beetles and Trees, Forest Health in California," being organized by chemical ecologist Steve Seybold, a research entomologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and a lecturer/researcher with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology,
The open house, open to the public, with free admission and free parking, is set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27 at the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane.
“The Bohart Museum on Sunday will be Bark Beetle Forest Central,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
The attendees will learn a lot about the beetles that are attacking our forests.
“As of last winter, bark beetles had killed 102 million trees in California during the last drought period,” said Seybold, a Davis resident who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and a bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Tree mortality in the western USA over the past 15 years caused by native bark beetles exceeded 21 million hectares, which surpasses all other disturbances, including fire.”
Seybold is known for his pioneering research on the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, associated with widespread mortality of black walnut in the western United States.
Said Seybold: “We are planning to have a series of four to five ‘stations' that illustrate the mass attack of native bark beetles on pine and fir trees; the biology and impact of invasive species of bark beetles and woodborers; and the flight trapping and chemical ecology of bark beetles. We are also planning some craft activities for kids that involve the gallery patterns that bark beetles etch on wood during their life cycles.”
They will be joined by local environmental artist Ann Savageau, a mixed-media artist whose work includes creating sculptures from wood with gallery patterns on it. Savageau, who retired as a professor of design from UC Davis in 2002, is now a full-time artist. She describes her work as dealing with :the natural world, human culture and their intersections."
Seybold's scientific crew at the Bohart Museum on Sunday will include be Yigen Chen, former research entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now with Gallo Wines in Modesto, Jackson Audley and Corwin Parker, UC Davis entomologist graduate students; Irene Lona, graduate student at California State University, Chico; Megan Siefker, UC Davis junior specialist; and Crystal Homicz, UC Davis, undergraduate student.
Numerous Bohart Museum scientists and volunteers also will participate. “We'll have a family craft project that will deal with the beetle gallery,” Yang said.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.