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Naturalist Notebook 

September 14, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

Our favorite alligator turns sixteen tomorrow, Thursday September 15th.

Photo by Ron DeCloux
Come help us celebrate Claude’s Happy Hatch Day!



From now until Sunday September 18th, we invite you to make a Claude hat here in the Naturalist Center, and then stay to check out our alligator books and specimens.

Photobucket
Photo by N. Sincero 2011

Join our friends from the Early Explorer’s Cove by the swamp on Thursday September 15th at 1:15 pm to sing him Happy Hatch Day.

We hope you’ll be able to make the party, but if not, feel free to share your best wishes and Claude stories in the comments section.


Filed under: News — nature @ 1:28 pm

September 13, 2011

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!



(Pictured below, really close up!)



09132011
Photo: N. Sincero 2011



Can you guess what it is?



Here are some hints:

  • If you were alive 5,000 years ago and happened to be in China, you could see examples of this specimen.
  • Today you can find examples of this specimen all over the world.



Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, September 16th at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight in order to find out if you’re right.


Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 7:46 am

September 9, 2011

Who Pooped?

Use this one
Replica Scat Photo: N. Sincero 2011, Scat Wrangler: S. Sumrall



This scat is composed of small, dry pellets filled with plant material. This scat can be found in a wide range of habitats stretching from Southern Canada to Bolivia.



Who pooped?



Leave a comment below with your guess. We will reveal the answer on in the comments section on Tuesday, September 13th.



If you have your own natural history mystery (an unidentified animal, plant or other specimen), send a photo or two to naturalist@calacademy.org. We’ll do our best to help out. Please include location, date and any other details that seem pertinent.



Source:

Scats and Tracks of the Pacific Coast, Including British Columbia: A Field Guide to the Signs of 70 Wildlife Species / James C. Halfpenny ; illustrated by Todd Telander. Helena, Mont. : Falcon, c1999. Naturalist Center Reference QL768 .H36 1999


Filed under: Who Pooped — nature @ 11:20 am

September 6, 2011

A Docent Reviews: One Beetle Too Many

This is the first post in our new feature entitled A Docent Reviews.

Docents are some of our most dedicated volunteers here at the Academy of Sciences. They are the folks in the orange lab coats who inspire visitors (and staff) by sharing their love of science and the museum. They are also regular patrons of the Naturalist Center library. We are happy that they have generously agreed to share some of their opinions about our resources.

Today, A Docent Reviews:

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
By Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009.
Naturalist Center Juv. QH31.D2 L37 2009

This book is beautifully written; the illustrations are exceptional (almost 3D) and the information is abundant and accurate. The story covers Darwinʼs life — highlighting his journey on the Beagle and subsequent research and pointing to specific moments of evolutionary discovery. Lasky describes Darwinʼs discoveries and surroundings in detail and with whimsical flair. She also acknowledges Alfred Russel Wallace and addresses the controversy of the Origin of Species. This book is a gem. Keep it in mind next time youʼre looking for something to check out from the Naturalist Center or when shopping for a gift. Although it is intended for ages 7-12, the information is extensive and should captivate teens and adults as well.

Nan
About the Reviewer:
Nan has been an Academy of Sciences docent for two and a half years. Her background encompasses many years as a naturalist, including teaching wilderness survival skills to at-risk and incarcerated youth. She has also been a literacy teacher at San Quentin for the past nine years. Her favorite Academy exhibit is the Galapagos tortoises, because she feels “it is the best place to explain natural selection and adaptive radiation.” Her favorite thing about being a docent is getting to work the baculum cart during NightLife.


Filed under: A Docent Reviews — nature @ 1:33 pm

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!



(Pictured below, really close up!)



Photobucket
Photo: N. Sincero 2011



Can you guess what it is?



Here are some hints:

  • This animal has a gizzard.
  • This animal has a very sharp tail, which it can use to turn itself over.



Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, September 9th at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight in order to find out if you’re right.


Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 7:17 am
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