- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Biodiversity--that's what it's at on Sunday, Feb. 12 at the University of California, Davis.
That's when four museums or centers that engage in education and research involving insects, vertebrates or plants will host open houses.
And folks will be amazed, officials promise.
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.
"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," says 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."
Yang calls it a "behind-the-scenes look at some top research collections."
"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."
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.
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," says curator Ellen Dean.
Feb. 12 also marks the birthday anniversary of naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). Yang pointed out that "Darwin was inspired by exploring and collecting plants and animals from all over the world. This connection to nature and curiosity is what fueled Darwin's research. Our collections can inspire that same sort of curiosity and questioning.”
Yes, it promises to be an amazing day!