- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
DAVIS--Crowds will "explore the diversity of life" at 13 museums or collections during the seventh annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day on Saturday, Feb. 17. The event, set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is free and open to the public.
Displays will range from ancient dinosaur bones to live praying mantises, from hawks to honey bees and from California condor specimens to carnivorous plants. Last year's Biodiversity Museum Day drew more than 4000 visitors to campus.
This is a family friendly, science-based event, said Biodiversity Museum Day chair Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology. All 13 museums or collections are within walking distance on campus except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road and the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road. Openings vary from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m.
The following will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- Arboretum and Public Garden, Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Science Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- California Raptor Center, 340 Equine Lane, off Old Davis Road
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Room 1394, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- Paleontology Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
The following will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:
- Anthropology Museum, 328 Young Hall and grounds
- Design Museum, 124 Cruess Hall, off California Avenue
- Botanical Conservatory, Greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road (take West Hutchison Drive to Hopkins)
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, Yang said, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. In the event of rain, alternative locations are planned for the outdoor sites. Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, online, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.
Capsule information about each museum or collection:
The Arboretum and Public Garden display will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Science Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus. It will join two other collections: Phaff Yeast and Viticulture and Enology. The Arboretum activities will be interactive; Learning-by-Leading Students are creating the content that will be featured on the day of Biodiversity Day. Coordinator: Melissa Cruz, outreach and leadership program coordinator.
Bohart Museum of Entomology
The Bohart Museum of Entomology will be open from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road. The Bohart is the home of a global collection of nearly 8 million insect specimens. Highlights will include the 500,000-specimen butterfly/moth collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith; display of praying mantises, including orchid mantises, by UC Davis entomology student Lohit Garikipati; and a Belize insect collection display by Smith and fellow Bohart Museum associates Fran Keller and Dave Wyatt from their latest expedition. "You'll be able to see the tremendous diversity of butterflies, moths and mantids, and talk to the scientists who have just returned from there," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "There will be orchids and orchid bees connecting the Bohart Museum's work with plant biology and science."
California Raptor Center
The California Raptor Center on 1340 Equine Lane, Davis, just off Old Davis Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A living collection of non-releasable raptors will be on exhibit. The center's educational ambassador birds will be out "on the fist" in the fenced yard by the museum, so visitors can get a close look at wild raptors while talking to the volunteers and learning about the magnificent birds of prey that live in this area, said Julie Cotton, volunteer and outreach coordinator. The on-site museum, recently renovated, features redesigned exhibits and a new touch-screen display. Coordinator: Julie Cotton, volunteer and outreach coordinator.
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane (off LaRue Road) will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors can view the bird and mammal museum specimen taxidermy demonstrations; explore the research collections with museum docents; see the newly acquired California condors on display, and see other specimens on display, including Papua New Guinea birds and mammals, reptiles and amphibians, primates and marine fishes. Note that strollers are not allowed in classroom or museum, they can be parked them under adjacent stairwell. Visitors are also asked to wash their hands before entering museum. Coordinator: Andrew Engilis Jr., director.
The Paleobiology Collection will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road. Visitors can view fossil specimens dating from as old as 550 million years ago to more recent animal skeletons. Paleontology graduate students in invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology will answer questions and provide interesting factoids. Coordinator: Mark Deblois, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection
These collections will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus. Visitors can learn about the importance of microbes in research, biotechnology, and food and beverages, and about the proud history of two of the world's prominent microbe collections. The Phaff Yeast Culture Collection is part of the Department of Food Science and Technology department, and the Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection is part of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. Visitors can see and smell dozens of yeast species, learn how yeasts and bacteria are important for making fermented foods and beverages (even clothes can be made from microbes), taste vegemite, marmite and kombucha tea; learn about cutting edge research using these microbe collections; and tour the UC Davis teaching winery and brewery.
The microbe collection activities will be in the Robert Mondavi Institute Brewery, Winery and Food Processing building, which is in the southwest area of the complex of orange buildings at Old Davis Road and Hilgard Lane. Coordinators: Kyria Boundy-Mills, Phaff collection curator and specialist, Food Science and Technology, and Lucy Joseph, Viticulture and Enology collection curator and senior museum scientist.
The Department of Anthropology Museum in 328 Young Hall will be open from noon to 4 p.m. The Anthropology Museum curates collections of archaeological, ethnographic, biological and archival materials. The theme is "Year of the Dog" and there will be a scavenger hunt for kids to find all the hidden dogs in the exhibits, and people can test their skills as an ancient hunter and toss an atlatl dart or learn to make a tool from volcanic stone, says zooarchaeologist Christyann Darwent. The Anthropology Museum curates collections of archaeological, ethnographic, biological and archival materials. The museum maintains a teaching collection that includes casts and reproductions of artifacts from a variety of prehistoric human groups. Coordinator: Christyann Darwent, associate professor.
The Design Museum will be open from noon to 4 p.m. in Room 124 of Cruess Hall. Professor Timothy McNeil and curator Adrienne McGraw will staff the exhibit, It's Bugged: Insects' Role in Design, which explores the connections between people and insects. This is a special opening just for Biodiversity Museum Day. (The exhibit opened Jan. 8 and continues through April 22; regular hours are weekdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.) "It's Bugged" includes art from hornet nest paper; beetle-gallery sculptures, and insect-themed clothing from the Department of Design faculty and graduate students; and insect specimens from the Bohart Museum of Entomology and insect photos from UC Davis alumnus Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin. Coordinators: Timothy McNeil, professor, and Adrienne McGraw, exhibition curator.
The Botanical Conservatory
The Botanical Conservatory, greenhouses on Kleiber Hall Drive, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors can expect a multi-sensory experience of a plethora of plants primarily from the tropical and subtropical biomes. Featured plants and displays include the always popular carnivorous plants, fruiting specimens of Chocolate (Theobroma) and Coffee (Coffea), various Amorphophallus species at various stages of leaf and possibly flowering individuals, an assortment of cacti, succulents and other desert dwellers, and finally an assortment of winter blooming South African Bulbs to further entice the senses. Coordinator: Ernesto Sandoval, collections manager.
Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium
The Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium, open from noon to 4 p.m. in Room 1026 of the Sciences Laboratory Building, central campus (off Kleiber Hall Drive), will exhibit Hmong medicinal and culinary herbs. Viewers can view and identify plants under the microscope and watch plant pressing and mounting demonstrations. A kids' area activity will include pressed plants/glue/paper. Coordinator: Ellen Dean, curator.
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee demonstration garden next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Bee Biology Road, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Activities include catch-and-release bee viewing and making "Feed the Bees" seed cookies. The haven was installed in the fall of 2009. A six-foot-long bee sculpture, Miss Beehaven, by artist Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, anchors the haven. Other art, coordinated by entomology professor Diana Ullman, co-founder and director of the Art/Science Fusion Program, and Billick, also graces the haven. Guests will see bee condos occupied by leafcutter bees and mason bees. Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, has recorded more than 80 different species of bees in the garden. Coordinator: Christine Casey, academic program management officer.
The nematode collection will open from noon to 4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Building, central campus (off Kleiber Hall Drive). Visitors can expect to see live and preserved nematode specimens. Highlights include the huge jars of whale intestinal worms. Nematodes, also called worms, are elongated cylindrical worms parasitic in animals or plants or free-living in soil or water. They exist in almost every known environment. The many different species eat everything from bacteria and fungi to plant and animal tissue. Coordinator: Corwin Parker, nematology doctoral student.
For further information about the Biodiversity Day, access the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website.