- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you've ever seen youngsters jumping up and down in pure delight--and pure enthusiasm--you've probably been to an event spotlighting the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology insect specimens.
And now you can help.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology has launched a CrowdFund project to raise $5000 by 11:59 p.m., Oct 31 to purchase traveling display boxes for their specimens, which include bees, butterflies and beetles.
These are portable glass-topped display boxes that travel throughout Northern California to school classrooms, youth group meetings, festivals, events, museums, hospitals--and more--to help people learn about the exciting world of entomology (insect science).
“When COVID halted our in-person outreach programs, we were still able to safely loan these educational materials to teachers,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
Supporting the Talent. “Now that UC Davis is open again to students we have all these bright, students on campus with fresh and diverse perspectives,” she said. “We want to support their talent, so the funds we are raising will go to students for the creation of new traveling displays. This fleet of new educational drawers will expand and update what we can offer. Some of our current displays were created 15 years ago! One can only imagine all the places these drawers have been and all the people who have been inspired."
The Bohart Museum, a research collection and public museum dedicated to understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity, is now celebrating its 75th year. It maintains a robust outreach program that typically connects with more than 10,000 people annually, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
Portable educational boxes are considered a great way to share the museum experience with others. They are housed in the same specimen boxes that the Bohart scientists use for their research collections. UC Davis students, staff, teachers and scout leaders routinely borrow these materials to enrich their programs.
"Our current educational boxes were created 15 to 20 years ago by staff and students at UC Davis," the scientists related on the CrowdFund page. "After years of wear and tear and new developments in biology, we need to update and create a new suite of display boxes. These displays will not only be scientifically accurate, but they will be intriguing to view by all ages. With every $500 in donations, a student will be able to create a fresh new box, complete with an informational sheet and a short video. The goal of this fundraiser is to provide 10 students the opportunity to create 10 portable educational displays that will enhance the outreach mission of the Bohart Museum and the University of California."
Virtual Tour. The public is invited to access the Bohart's Facebook Live virtual tour for Aggie Spirit Week on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The "Bugology" link is https://fb.me/e/XKtXPrsB. Plans are to spotlight Professor Kimsey; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Lepidoptera collection curator Jeff Smith; and graduate student Socrates Letana (who researches bot flies), among others.
The Bohart Museum, temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It houses nearly eight million insect specimens, collected from around the world. It also houses a live "petting zoo" comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas, as well as an online gift shop stocked with insect-themed jewelry, clothing, books, posters and other items.