Celebrate Earth Day with exploration event, plant sale April 18-20

March 25th, 2014

Earth Day Logo ideas_4color_outlinedGAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History invites visitors to explore the wonders of the planet this Earth Day weekend with activities April 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a butterfly-friendly plant sale April 18-20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The museum’s Earth Day exploration event features outdoor activities in the adjacent University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory and diverse specimens from the museum’s collections.

“This year’s theme is ‘Florida Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity,’ ” said Florida Museum public programs coordinator Catherine Carey.  “Guests will have a rare opportunity to see treasures from the museum collections and (more…)

Dig into geology at eighth annual ‘Can You Dig It?’ March 15

February 27th, 2014

Editors: A complete list of activities follows this release

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors will have their world rocked with volcanic eruptions and geological discoveries at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s eighth annual “Can You Dig It?” event on Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This free, family-friendly event provides hands-on activities and demonstrations to educate visitors about the many aspects of geology and the Earth.

“At ‘Can You Dig It?’ we try to create things of interest for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said event coordinator Matt Smith, a senior (more…)

Summer, field camp registration begins March 15

February 19th, 2014

Early sign-up for museum members opens March 1

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A summer camp participant uses clay to create a leaf imprint.
Florida Museum photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Register your child beginning March 15 for discovery and exploration at the Florida Museum of Natural History summer and field camps.

Students in grades 1-6 for the 2014-2015 school year can investigate natural history, examine fossils, discover ancient cultures and meet some of the most interesting members of the animal kingdom during the weeklong camps that run June 9 through Aug. 1.

“Museum camps are always educational and fun,” said Florida Museum of Natural History public programs coordinator Catherine Carey. “This summer, campers will learn about everything from great inventions and archaeology to wolves and dogs in our new temporary exhibit, ‘Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs.’”

Morning, afternoon and full-day sessions are available for summer camps. Students in grades 5-6 may register for field camps focusing on Florida archaeology and (more…)

Museum to celebrate new ‘Wolf to Woof’ dog exhibit Feb. 22

February 6th, 2014

0e1632871_wolf-2-woof-logo.jpgGAINESVILLE, Fla. — On Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Florida Museum of Natural History is answering the age-old question of “Who let the dogs out?” with the celebration of its newest temporary exhibit, “Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs.”

The free, family-friendly event includes demonstrations by Pepe Dogs detection dogs and agility demonstrations by the Greater Ocala Dog Club. Visitors also will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Alachua County Animal Services, Patriot PAWS, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Florida Museum and more.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for the student (more…)

Feb. 9 film tells life story of nature, conservation advocate ‘Ding’ Darling

January 13th, 2014
Autographed portrait of Darling with his pipe.  Beloit College Archives.

This autographed portrait of Darling with his pipe is used courtesy of the Beloit College Archives.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the great American story of an artist who changed the face of conservation education and preservation in the screening of “America’s Darling: The Story of Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling” at the Florida Museum of Natural History Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.

The movie depicts the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and wildlife advocate Jay Norwood Darling (1876-1962), who was appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt as the head of what would later become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Darling later helped found the National Wildlife Federation.

Though Darling took on national issues, his story touches Florida in a special way. The “J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge” on Sanibel Island was named in his honor and (more…)

Museum announces 2014 spring ‘Science Café’ programs

December 23rd, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will continue its “Science Café” series Jan. 13, 2014, with University of Florida anthropology professor Connie Mulligan discussing “The First Settlers of the New World: Who, Where, When and How.”

This is the third year of the program in which guest speakers and community members gather at local establishments and discuss contemporary science over food. Seating and food orders begin at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 6:30 p.m.

“Our spring series features a variety of topics from the first settlers in the New World to bird intelligence and fossils of Panama,” said Betty Dunckel, director of the Florida Museum’s Center for Science Learning.

The Jan. 13 program at Saboré, 13005 SW First Road, Suite 129 in Town of Tioga, features Mulligan, who will describe how her work on human genetic variation is used to reconstruct who the first settlers in the New World were, and (more…)

Museum to celebrate 35th Collectors Day Jan. 25

December 17th, 2013
Visitors exploring collections during the 2012 Florida Museum Collectors Day. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kate Martin

Visitors explore ice cream memorabilia during the 2012 Florida Museum Collectors Day.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kate Martin

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity to view a variety of collections — from antique cars to Coca-Cola memorabilia and stamps to Legos — during the 35th Collectors Day Jan. 25, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This free event is the museum’s longest-running and one of its most popular public programs, allowing visitors to speak with collectors and learn more about the uniqueness, history and context of their collections.

Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland said the program’s goal includes celebrating collectors and their collections, as well as bringing awareness to the importance of collections and (more…)

Museum hosts four school holiday camps Dec. 23-Jan. 17

December 2nd, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This winter break students can ring in the holiday season with scientific exploration and natural history investigation during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s school holiday camps beginning Dec. 23 through Jan. 17, 2014.

The camps for students enrolled in grades K-5 for the 2013-2014 school year provide natural history exploration through museum exhibits and hands-on activities.

“Holiday camps are always an opportunity to have fun while learning about something new – whether it’s engineering feats or how prehistoric people managed day-to-day living,” said Florida Museum of Natural History public programs coordinator Catherine Carey. “Museum camps are hands-on and sometimes messy, but always fun.”

“Float My Boat” on Dec. 23 will dive into engineering principles while students learn to construct a plane, float a boat and (more…)

15th annual Trashformations showcase to be held Nov. 22

November 1st, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For some Alachua County students, trash doesn’t equate to garbage, but instead may be morphed into creative works of art. The Florida Museum of Natural History will display these artistic creations during the 15 annual Trashformations showcase Nov. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Trashformations recycled art show and competition is open to middle school, high school and college students. All entries are constructed from 70 percent or more recycled material and judged on the criteria of “most creative expression” and “most innovative use of recycled materials.”

“This event helps you look at recyclables in a new way,” said Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland. “It’s always interesting how someone turns milk jugs into an ibis or cans into an owl. This is an opportunity for us to showcase our local, young talent. Every year you always get wowed by something.”

Students in each division compete for cash and other prizes and (more…)

Murdering, tyrant plants topic of final fall ‘Science Café’ Nov. 11

October 30th, 2013

Grant Godden preparing an RNA extraction from a species of mint. Photo by Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo, National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity in Mexico.

Grant Godden prepares an RNA extraction from a species of mint.
Photo by Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo, Mexico National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Liars, crooks, murderers and tyrants­ find out more about plants and how they evolve to compete for resources at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s next “Science Café” on Monday, Nov. 11.

The final “Science Café” of the fall series will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Saboré, 13005 SW First Road, Suite 129 in Town of Tioga. University of Florida department of biology and Florida Museum of Natural History doctoral candidate Grant Godden will discuss “Despicable Plants: A Botanical World of Liars, Crooks, Murderers and Tyrants.”

“My ‘Science Café’ explores the origins and evolution of seemingly sinister strategies such as fraud, theft, murder and oppression,” Godden said. “It draws from numerous botanical examples of despicable plants. These include deceptive orchids, parasitic witchweeds, and carnivorous and allelopathic plants.”

The program format provides a comfortable setting for community members and (more…)