Florida Museum of Natural History
In an effort to provide under-served communities the opportunity
to visit the Museum, the UF Center for Latin-American Studies
partnered with the Museum to fund bus transportation for field
trips. The initiative served 635 participants from seven schools.
The Museum’s Admission Assistance Program allowed 642 children
and 118 adults to visit the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit.
Three events provided area educators the opportunity to learn
about the Museum’s statewide resources and learning experiences
for teachers and students, including the annual Educator Open
House and teacher programs in February and April.
Education Programs - Camps
Spring campers learned the ABC’s of animal “Hunting Tactics” in
January, took flight in an educational “Space Odyssey” in February
and discovered the alluring topic of “Antarctica” in March. Spring
break camps, “Ways We Eat” and “Florida Cowboys,” allowed
participants to learn about animal eating habits and provided
additional insight on a popular temporary exhibit.
Young scientists filled 486 spots in Museum summer camps
during seven weeks in June, July and August. Campers immersed
themselves in ancient cultures, discovered new facts about the
animal kingdom and gained valuable insight on environmental
topics. Camps such as “Marine Mammals,”“Blue Florida,”“Ice Age”
and “Creature Construction” provided students with a broad range
of experiences highlighting the importance of science in daily
life. Field camps on invasive species, insects and plants provided
additional hands-on learning opportunities.
An internship program provided staffing for camps and assisted
in guiding UFTeach students and other future educators to
pursue informal science education careers. Many interns made
commitments to focus on science-based learning, continuing
their work in education at museums and other youth-oriented
institutions. UF Senior and UFTeach minor Nicholas White said his
experience at the Museum enhanced his understanding of youth.
“I want to teach middle school, and through the Discovery Room
and the summer camp, I gained experience with children who
are just shy of entering middle school,” White said. “I have a vastly
expanded notion of where kids are before they get to me.”
Anthony Finelli, another UFTeach student who interned at the
Museum, echoed this sentiment, adding that he found new
confidence in his abilities as a result of the program.
“As a mathematics major, developing curriculum guides and lesson
plans for topics in science and natural history was something that
I was uncomfortable with initially,” Finella said. “I now feel confident
in my ability to research unfamiliar topics and even develop lesson
plans on those topics.”
Florida Cattle Ranching exhibit opening
More than 2,700 visitors attended February’s opening of the
exhibit, making it the second-largest exhibit opening
in Museum history. Twenty-four organizations participated in the
event, planned in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability.
Other Public Programs
The Museum collaborated with the UF geological sciences
department for the annual “Can You Dig It?” event. More than 1,500
visitors enjoyed hands-on activities while learning about geology,
gems, fossils and minerals. The Gainesville Chamber Orchestra also
performed a soundtrack to echo the natural melodies of the Grand
Showcasing prized possessions and favorite mementos, 93
collectors participated in Collectors Day in January, sponsored by
Home Court Sports. More than 2,500 visitors viewed the collections,
which included Titanic memorabilia, Star Wars collectables and
Starry Night visitors watch a rose being broken
after it was frozen with liquid nitrogen.