A variety of animals have made appearances at The Great Valley Museum’s Wild Planet Day – from eagles and pythons to kangaroos.
On Oct. 14, the event returns to the Modesto Junior College West Campus, this year celebrating California’s Brown Bear. For obvious reasons, there won’t be one on site.
Once a common animal found throughout the Central Valley, brown bear numbers have been reduced over time to the 27,000-30,000 found today in California. For its eighth annual Wild Planet Day the GVM will host informational talks by Ranger Shawn Estes, an interpretive specialist from the Stanislaus National Forest.
Previous Animal Planet Days have seen animals such as a 100-pound python brought to the event by Wildlife Rescue. The second Wild Planet Day featured an animal I met at the old Science Building on the East Campus. While turning a corner I came face-to-face and eye-to-eye with an adult kangaroo, which, to my good fortune was a very polite kangaroo. We said our hellos and off we were to our different endeavors.
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While a California Brown Bear will not be there, Smokey Bear will be to raise fire prevention awareness. In addition, arts and crafts will be available for children with other Wild Planet Day scientific fun – dissecting owl pellets, dissecting squid, chemistry experiments, giant bubbles, rock painting, solar telescopes on the roof and a chance to make your own family bird feeder.
The MJC Anatomy club will host a bone extravaganza and returning this year are Enochs High School’s CSI students, who always have interesting hands-on scientific experiments for children. The bot machine will be making bear bot pancakes and 3-D printing will be demonstrated in the lobby where our own GVM reptiles will be shown. Dr. Martin’s huge African tortoise, Miss Piggy, will be joining us, as well.
The Great Valley Museum’s building also has a Planetarium. The thing most of you drove to the Bay Area to see is now right here in the valley and on Wild Planet Day you can come by and witness one of a series of impressive shows at the Planetarium. In the museum we also have our Science on a Sphere where a large globe displays the current weather, air traffic and earthquakes, the surface of the moon or the planets in our solar system.
All of the above and more will be seen at this year’s Wild Planet Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday Oct. 14, so come and bring the family to learn and to enjoy what the sciences have to offer. Cost is $5, $20 for a family of six. The Great Valley Museum is on the MJC West campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave.
McAndrews is a docent at the Great Valley Museum and a community columnist. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.