Biodiversity Museum Day at UC Davis

Last Saturday, Trevor and I went to Biodiversity Museum Day at UC Davis. This kid-friendly, free Open House event is on a much, much smaller scale than Picnic Day, but is another great opportunity for the public to learn more about the incredible teaching and research that takes place at UCD. This was the 13th year of Biodiversity Museum Day, but the first time we attended. 

Trevor has applied to UC Davis in hopes of studying Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, (he should hear in mid-March.... fingers crossed!) so this was a great opportunity for him to check out the department and see the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, which is not normally open to the public. 

We worked a shift at the Food Bank with the Scouts that morning and the Scouts served at a crab feed in the evening, so unfortunately we didn't have time to visit all of the offerings at Biodiversity Museum Day. But what we did see was great. We started with the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection at the Robert Mondavi Institute. We toured the brewery and food processing plant, looked at a bunch of exhibits, and took an incredibly difficult trivia quiz about yeast. 

We did poorly on the quiz, but had a lot of fun. The prizes were these budding Super Yeast guys. 

I would have loved to have walked the length of the Arboretum and checked out their Habitat Garden exhibits, but I had to settle for a quick view from a bridge. 

Next stop: the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. 

As I said before, this museum is not open to the public, so it is not set up for hundreds of people trying to see the exhibits. I didn't get photos of most of the displays. 

Other things I intentionally didn't photograph. In one space, there were about a dozen museum interns each preparing a wide variety of animal specimens for display. While it was extremely interesting, it was quite gruesome. For me, anyway. I'm not a blood and guts kind of person. 

The completed specimens were fascinating. I had a lot of questions. 

This exhibit is about identifying diving ducks.

The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology was born in 1972, just like me. I literally didn't know it existed the entire time I was a student, as I never took any classes in the department. 

This was fascinating. Did you know that there's a peak date for passerine bird singing? It's June 13. Mark your calendars!

Our next stop was the Bohart Museum of Entomology

It was packed. So much so, that as I waited for my turn to squeeze through and glance at the exhibits, I spent time browsing their fascinating library. I would not have expected a 2" thick book on Mosquitos of the World, let alone two volumes! (Lucky you - that's an affiliate link, meaning you can buy the 2-volume set on Amazon. It's a bit pricy, so maybe you'd prefer the much more affordable and more kid-friendly Cricketology. )

There wasn't any maggot art, but I enjoyed this display of entomology origami. I especially like that there is a full tick and a hungry tick. 

Speaking of hungry, Trevor and I were. We would have loved to eat in the Dining Commons again, but since we were short on time, we took advantage of the quick service at a food truck. After eating, we went to see the Nematode Collection. (Insects before lunch, worms after lunch. Nothing weird about that.) No photos - it was ridiculously crowded. I did take a photo outside. It was a gorgeous day. 

Our final stop on Biodiversity Museum Day was at the California Raptor Center


This is where Trevor did his Eagle Scout project, two years ago. It was really neat to see so many people posing in front of the silhouettes. 

It was also great to see the gorgeous tile wall they've added to the museum! 

So what didn't we see during our time at Biodiversity Museum Day? A lot. We skipped the Anthropology Museum, the Arboretum, the Botanical Conservatory, the Center for Plant Diversity, and the Paleontology Collection. Maybe next year! 


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