Animal Love Languages

Animal Love Languages

Love is in the air, and humans aren’t the only romantics in the world. Today we’re looking at the courtship rituals of the animal kingdom!

Do you know what your love language is? Is it words of affirmation like a sweet letter, quality time like a romantic night in, receiving gifts of flowers and jewelry, acts of service, or physical touch like a hug or a cuddle? Humans have different ways of showing affection, and so do animals. But instead of things like poetry, romantic getaways, and chocolates, animals have their own unique love languages. Which animal love language do you relate the most with?

The Singer
Much like the romantic poet, some animals like to shout their love from the rooftops. Frogs, birds, crickets, and even whales use their songs to attract mates, constantly trying to out-do their competition with the loudest and most attractive voice. Frogs even have regional dialects – members of the same species may have different croaks if they have originated from different places where their local songs are slightly different. And in places where there are several different species of frogs all singing at once – like in Florida, where the invasive Cuban tree frog has been introduced into the territory of native American green tree frogs – the frogs will purposefully alter their croaks to differentiate between species and avoid confusion.

The Dancer
But maybe you’re more of a visual person. There are plenty of animals whose main courtship rituals involve elaborate dances and displays of beautiful fur and feathers. But some animals forget the flashy outfits and just focus on their moves. Hirtodrosophila mycetophaga is a species of australian fly which performs mating displays on shelf mushrooms. The males wave their wings around and perform a dance – but only on lighter-colored fungi, as these mushrooms act as a better backdrop for their performances. On darker fungi, they blend in too well, and females pass them by!

The Show-off
Not to be outdone, some animals go all in, with song, dance and color! Take the peacock spider: while you may be familiar with this small jumping spider’s namesake and its colorful plumage, this arachnid goes a step further and incorporates sound and movement into its mating display.

While displaying their brightly-colored abdomen, they wave their legs in an elaborate dance and create deep rumbling vibrations while they perform. The males who put the most effort into their displays, including both the dancing and vibrating, are more likely to get the girl.

The Collector
Some animals speak the love language of gift-giving. Native to New Guinea and Australia, bowerbirds build elaborate ‘bowers’ from nature to attract mates. First, the male Bowerbird gathers sticks and arranges them into an upright structure, often in the shape of an arch or an avenue. Then, he populates his bower with brightly-colored objects. These can be shells, flowers, even pieces of plastic and metal that he finds. Some bowerbirds even have favorite colors, and will collect only pieces that fit into their preferred color scheme! When she’s ready to find a mate, the female bowerbird tours the bowers of all the local males, and chooses the bird with the best crib to be her mate.

The True Romantic
But maybe you’re a real classical romantic. You want long walks on the beach, hand-holding, and slow-dancing. Don’t worry. Not everything is about flashy displays. Some animals like to take it slow, and build up deep bonds with their mates. Seahorses have an elaborate courtship process, with each step of the ritual being repeated again and again, often over the course of days. First, they meet and change colors, brightening in turns at each other. Then they grab hold of the same anchor-point and spin around each other in an elaborate dance with many distinct moves and steps, including leaning away, pointing, quivering and spinning. Finally, they end their dance by floating up through the water column together. While they might only be fish, seahorses are quite the romantics – they mate for life, and their specialized tails, used to anchor themselves to coral and seaweed, also allow them to “hold hands” with their significant other.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at FCMoD!

Post written by Willow Sedam, Live Animal Husbandry Team Member

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#ArchivesBlackEducation

#ArchivesBlackEducation

Every month Fort Collins Museum of Discovery participates in a themed #ArchivesHashtagParty on Twitter. This month’s theme is #ArchivesBlackEducation in honor of Black History Month.

What is an #ArchivesHashtagParty you ask? That’s a great question! This article from the New York Times, The Record Keepers’ Rave, helps explain just that. Started by The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, participating archives, museums, and libraries tune in to share a treasure trove of photos, stories, collections, and more.

For #ArchivesBlackEducation, the museum shared the following on Twitter (@focomod) of our local history from the Archive & Collections at FCMoD.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This #ArchivesHashtagParty we’re exploring local African American history with #ArchivesBlackEducation. Pictured here is Ella Mae Cook, Fort Collins Resident from about 1931 to 1944.

Grafton St. Clair Norman was the first Black student to attend and graduate from CSU, then Colorado Agricultural College. He became the 2nd lieutenant in the Army and teacher in Kentucky. This photo appeared in the 1896 CAC yearbook.

Charley Clay arrived in Colorado in 1864. By the early 1900s, the Clay home was a center of Black social life in Larimer County, hosting groups such as the local chapter of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Literary Society.

William Clay, son of Charley Clay, served with the Fort Collins Volunteer Fire Department in the 1890s and was a member of the State Champion Hose Team in 1897.

As a child, Academy Award winning film star Hattie McDaniel briefly lived in this home on Cherry Street in Fort Collins and attended Franklin School. She would later move to Denver on her way to Hollywood.

In March of 1939, Mattie Lyle sued the owner of the State Theater in Fort Collins for discrimination and won damager. Her daughter Joyce, pictured here, served as a witness to her mother’s testimony.

During the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Charles and Mamie Birdwhitle’s home on Oak Street in Fort Collins was a gathering spot for Black gospel groups, jazz orchestras, and scholars visiting Northern Colorado.

Virgil Thomas was a star left tackle – and the only Black player – for the Fort Collins High School Lambkins in the late 1930s.

In 1969, members of the Mexican-American Committee for Equality & the Black Student Assn. demanded more recruitment of minority students and faculty. Shown here is a protest they held at the home of college president William Morgan.

That wraps up this month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty! Explore more Black history with a walking tour from our friends at the Fort Collins History Preservation Department.

Thanks for tuning in! We’ll share next month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty content with you back here on the blog.

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Mindful Mondays: Understanding and Expressing Emotions

Mindful Mondays: Understanding and Expressing Emotions

This activity is recommended for ages 3-7.

Happiness, fear, frustration… let’s get to know our emotions! Make your own paper plate emotion face and see how our faces help convey how we are feeling.

Supplies:

  • Paper plate 
  • Construction paper, all colors
  • 6 brass fasteners
  • Scissors 

Instructions:

  1. Take a paper plate to use as your face. Use the crayons to color the plate however you like!
  2. Using construction paper, cut out eyes, eyebrows, a nose and a mouth for your face. If you need a guide, use a pencil to draw the shapes before you cut them out.
  3. Use 6 brass fasteners to attach the facial features to your plate.
  4. Try it out! Move the facial features to create different emotions. Ask another per-son to guess what the face is expressing, or challenge another person to create that expression.

 

Each mind matters. Taking care of our mental health is important to all of us – everywhere and always. Learn more by visiting FCMoD’s special exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters, open through January 10th.

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Mindful Mondays: Changing Minds

Post written by Brian Ferrans, Manager with Behavioral Health Strategy and Implementation Community Impact Team Health District of Northern Larimer County

Mindful Mondays: Changing Minds

Let’s talk about addiction. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. One in 10 of our neighbors lives with drug and/or alcohol addiction in Larimer County. It’s not a choice — it’s a disease that changes the brain, and it can happen to anyone. Understanding how substances re-wire our brains is essential in helping us to get rid of negative stigma and stereotypes about those experiencing an addiction, which can encourage more people to seek out treatment. Watch our 5-minute video to learn more about how addiction changes the brain.

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Mindful Mondays: The Best Life-Saving “Drug” I Found

Written by Carl Nassar, President of Heart Centered Counseling

Mindful Mondays: The Best Life-Saving “Drug” I Found

Therapy saved my life. That wouldn’t come as a surprise to you if video footage of my childhood was available for you to view.

The screen would zoom in on a boy whose constant companion was loneliness. A boy whose imaginary friend Bucky tried valiantly, but without success, to fill the relational void. You’d discover a boy attending a religious elementary school promoting the fear of God over the love of God, and a fear of the world rather than a love for it.

In therapy, I came to understand how my past was shaping my future (Freud called it “the transference of everyday life,” and Berne labeled it “replaying your life script”). I learned how my scared-ness was trampling over my vitality (Perlz called it the “dilemma of secondary Gestalts”). I learned what it looked like to open my heart, first to my own pain, as something to go through (and not around), and then to the world, as a way to lean in (instead of leaning out).

I loved therapy. It helped me to reclaim my excitement and energy for life. It also gave me my voice. That love grew into a professional desire to become a therapist myself. I wanted to help good people realize that they no longer needed to simply get by in this life, but rather to discover and learn to thrive. I wanted to help others work through the traumas (of childhood and later life) to become the people they’re meant to be—to find their voice in the world and to use it to express all of who they are, in its endless unfolding.

After 20 years in the field, I’m more convinced than ever that the popular song from 1965 speaks a profound truth, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…” and, while not in the song, I might add a line about therapy being a beautiful way to discover that love within ourselves.

I’m more convinced now than ever that each of us can become the hope we long to see in the world. I believe this so much that I created a video series called “What if a Therapist Reported the News?” It’s my way of helping people break free from the paralysis of waiting for the news to change, and instead encouraging each one of us to find the courage—in how we live our everyday lives—to take the small steps that allow us to create the news we’re waiting for.

As we come to the end of our time together in this blog post, I want to share my gratitude for you…not only for taking the time to read this, but for each small act of courage—each small step toward kindness—you show in your everyday life. Because one final lesson therapy taught me was that each us matter far more than we image, and each small act adds up to create a new world, even if we don’t see its dawning quite yet.

Carl Nassar is known differently to different people. To some, he’s a professional counselor offering a safe space to reclaim hope and tenderness. To others he’s the president of Heart Centered Counseling, supporting a team of 250 providers that together provide access to a counseling and psychiatric care throughout Colorado (www.heartcenteredcounselors.com). And to those who find his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW3MmwKez76a51rQRp17qwQ/), Carl offers a thoughtful and inspiring answer to the question What if a Therapist Reported the News?

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Mindful Mondays: Local Mental Health Resources

Mindful Mondays: Local Mental Health Resources

The Mental Health: Mind Matters special exhibition opens the door to greater understanding, conversations, and empathy toward the challenges of mental health. It’s just one way our community can come together to reduce the stigma and #MakeItOK to talk about mental health.  

It’s okay to ask for help. There are many resources available here in our community to support you or anyone you know who might be struggling with their mental health. 

Experiencing a mental health crisis? 24/7/365 support is available through Colorado Crisis Services: Call1-800-493-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741. 

FCMoD is grateful to be working directly with these community partners on programming and community outreach: 

Alliance for Suicide Prevention – We prevent suicide in Larimer County through training and education, providing outreach, and offering support. 

Colorado State University – Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center – The Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center provides resilience-based trauma assessments and offers recommendations that focus on helping youth and families recognize, understand, and value their own strengths in responding to and healing from trauma. 

Early Childhood Council of Larimer County – Leap Coalition – Strengthening and connecting our systems so that all young children in Larimer County, Colorado will be supported in their social development and emotional wellbeing in a culturally responsive manner. 

Foundations Counseling – Foundations Counseling provides a proven, collaborative approach to counseling in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor, Colorado. We offer caring, expert assistance in an environment built around personal respect and dignity. Throughout Northern Colorado our experienced therapists rely on time-tested and proven techniques to help you find your way.  

Health District of Northern Larimer County – The Health District of Northern Larimer County is a public agency that has been meeting local healthcare needs since 1960. Today, we provided residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health and preventive health services. The Connections program offers answers, offers and support to individuals and families looking for help with mental health or substance abuse concerns. CAYAC (Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Connections) is a service of Connections that helps young people (up to age 24) with the early identification, assessment/testing, and treatment of mental health and substance abuse concerns. Connections also offers regular classes and trainings to the public, often at no cost. 

Lifestance Health – Lifestance Health (formerly Heart Centered Counseling) provides caring support for the people of Colorado. We counsel people to get them through the hard times, through the broken hearts, and through the painful emotions. We are a growing team of 300+ counselors who provide a comprehensive therapy practice. 

Larimer County Behavioral Health Services – Through a publicly approved .25% Sales and Use tax, Behavioral Health Services responsibly invests in community-driven work to increase access to behavioral health services and improves outcomes for all Larimer County residents. 

Music Minds Matter – We are committed to supporting the brain health and mental wellness of music communities everywhere. 

Poudre School District – Counseling Department – School counselors are vital members of every school’s education team. Currently, 80 professional school counselors serve students in 39 schools in Poudre School District, assisting kindergarten-12th grade students in academic success, college and career readiness, and social/emotional development. 

SummitStone Health Partners – For more than 60 years, SummitStone Health Partners has been transforming lives through recovery, renewal and respect by providing unsurpassed behavioral health prevention, intervention and treatment services in Larimer County. SummitStone provides more than 50 services dedicated to treating mental health and addiction disorders for people of all ages. 

Additional community resources highlighted within the exhibit or during programming: 

Carl Nassar, President of Heart Centered Counseling, reports on“What if a therapist reported the news?” 

Support for people experiencing homelessness is available through Homeward Alliance and the Murphy Center for Hope  

Healing and support for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color is being convened by the BIPOC Alliance 

CSU Center for Mindfulness 

Colorado Spirit COVID-19 Support Program – Larimer County

Colorado Spirit COVID-19 Support Program – Weld County

North Range Behavioral Health – At North Range Behavioral Health, we believe that everyone deserves high-quality treatment that leads to recovery. North Range Behavioral Health provides compassionate, comprehensive care for people who face mental health and addiction challenges. This organization is located in Weld County, and is also a provider of Colorado Crisis Services.

QPR Gatekeeper Training – The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. You can find local trainings on the website – SummitStone Health Partners provides monthly trainings that are also posted on the FCMoD calendar!

Colorado-National Collaborative for Suicide Prevention

Recordings of FCMoD’s Discovery Live mental health expert panels and events are available on YouTube 

We will continue adding resources to this post as they are shared by our community partners.

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Your True Colors Suffragette Sash Project

Post written by Linda Moore, Curator of Collections

Sip and Stitch At-Home Edition: Your True Colors Suffragette Sash Project

Woman working to get the right to vote in the 19th and early 20th centuries faced a tricky problem: how could they influence the vote to get the vote without the vote? Savvy suffragettes recognized that optics matter, and set out to shape the images of their movement to convey its strength. At the same time, many activists felt they had to be careful to avoid any appearance that could be dismissed as emotionally unstable, hysterical, or even unwomanly.

The suffragette sash, which appeared first in Britain and was quickly adopted by the American suffragist movement, seemed to have walked that line, and stands out today as emblematic of the movement. Sashes bore the traditional colors of the American National Woman’s Party: purple for loyalty and unswerving steadfastness to a cause, white for purity, and gold as the color of light and life “as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving”.

Here is your chance to express you own “unswerving” devotion to the right to vote: use these instructions and your own creativity to create a sash you’ll be proud to wear!

Materials

To make stripes in the traditional white, purple, and gold you will need 2 strips of each that are the length you want your sash to stretch, from your shoulder across your body –from 34 to about 40 inches. If you are buying fabric by the yard, the most economical way to get that is to buy:

  • ¼ yard of each of the 3 colors

You’ll also need:

  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (or a good chunk of time for hand stitching)
  • An iron
  • Extra scraps of fabric and interfacing if you want to applique your message; you can also use embroidery, iron-on lettering, or fabric paint

 Instructions:

  1. Cut 2 2.5” wide strips of white fabric (or whatever you are using as the center band of your sash) and 2 3.5” wide strips of each of your colors.
  2. Putting the right sides of your fabrics together, sew one colored strip of fabric to each side of one white band, along the long edge, stitching ¼” from the edge. Repeat for the other set of strips. You should have 2 identical, long strips, with the white bands in the middle.
  3. Use an iron to press the seam allowance away from the center band.
  4. This is the point when you should add your message. I backed scraps of fabric with interfacing (to prevent raveling) and cut out letters with pinking shears; then stitched them on. Your message will be whatever you choose, of course –it’s your right! But if you use fabric paint be sure to put paper or cardboard under your fabric in case the paint bleeds through.
  5. Now you sew your 2 wide strips into 2 tubes: with right sides together, fold each strip in half long-ways, joining the edge of each color. Stitch the long edges together.
  6. Press your inside-out tubes flat so that one side has the white band in the center and a color on each side, and the other side has the 2 colors only. Sew the bottom short edges closed. Then turn both tubes right-side out and press again.
  7. Almost done! A fussy bit that will make your sash sit nicely on your shoulder is to cut the short edges that are still open at a slight angle, sloping down from the left corner to the right. Finish these cut edges with a zigzag stitch to prevent raveling. Now put the right sides (with the white bands together and sew these cut edges together. Flip them over and the seam should form a gentle point that will sit nicely on your right shoulder.
  8. Put on your sash and join the open ends at your hip –either by tying them together or by pinning them with an appropriate political button.
  9. Now you are ready to march!

(P.S. Don’t forget to vote before 7:00pm on November 3, 2020!)

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Mindful Mondays: The Feelings Volcano

Mindful Mondays: The Feelings Volcano

This activity is recommended for ages 5-11.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a strong emotion? Maybe you were angry with a friend for taking your favorite book, or frustrated that you couldn’t figure out that math problem? We all have strong feelings sometimes, and that’s okay! Try this is a twist on the classic baking soda-and-vinegar volcano experiment, and explore why it’s important to express and regulate our emotions in healthy ways!

Supplies:

  • Empty plastic bottle or 8 oz cup 
  • Measuring cup 
  • Funnel 
  • 1 tbsp baking soda 
  • Distilled white vinegar 
  • Food coloring (if desired) 

Instructions:

  1. To get ready: Place the baking soda in the empty plastic bottle or 8 oz cup using the funnel. 
  2. Think about a time when you were overwhelmed by a strong emotion (feeling sad, embarrassed, mad, nervous, etc.). Talk with your grown up about what happened. What happened to make you feel this way? What did you do about it?
  3. Pour a little bit of vinegar into the measuring cup. (Add food coloring if desired). This vinegar represents the feelings you had in your story. Now, let’s say that instead of expressing your feelings and doing something to manage them, you let them keep building and building and building up inside of you!
  4. Add more vinegar “feelings” to the cup until it reaches the ½ cup mark. What do you think will happen when you act on your feelings by adding the vinegar to the baking soda?
  5. Pour the vinegar into the baking soda. What happened? All of those sour feelings came out!
  6. Time for another experiment! What if instead of letting those sour feelings build up, you did something to manage them? Maybe you talked to your grown up about how you were feeling, or maybe you took some long, deep breaths! When you take steps to manage them, your feelings aren’t so sour anymore – they’re more like water than vinegar! What do you think will happen if you add water to baking soda?
  7. Pour the water into the baking soda. What happened? This time, we didn’t let our emotions get the best of us!
  8. There’s nothing wrong with having feelings! They’re part of being human. But it’s important that we learn how to express and manage our feelings so that we can control them instead of them controlling us. Work with your grown up to make a list of ways you can express and manage your emotions in hard situations, when you sense a feelings volcano brewing! Some ideas you might include: 
  • Take 10 slow, deep breaths. 
  • Draw or write about your feelings. 
  • Talk about your feelings with a friend, family member, or teacher. 
  • Dance to your favorite song.  
  • Stretch your body. 
  • Hang your strategies up somewhere to reference throughout the year! 

 

Each mind matters. Taking care of our mental health is important to all of us – everywhere and always. Learn more by visiting FCMoD’s special exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters, open through January 10th.

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Mindful Mondays: Let’s Talk About It!

Mindful Mondays: Let’s Talk About It!

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD) is honored to bring the groundbreaking traveling exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters to our community from October 3, 2020- January 10, 2021. With the generous support of our community partners this exhibit and the museum are free during the run of this exhibit 

In the fall of 2018, FCMoD secured this exhibit knowing that mental health would be a timely topic for our community. And while this topic was important two years ago, the need for us as individuals, neighbors, parents, children, community members and community leaders to engage in conversation about mental health and mental illness has only grown.

Between the COVID-19 public health crisis, economic recession, wildfires, and unrest around racial justice, the year 2020 has given us all our share of challenges. Although uncertainty and difficulties still walk with us through this time, so do the threads of hope and greater resiliencyThis year, we found new ways to connect with one another, had opportunities to challenge assumptions and reframe narratives, and refocused areas in our lives that we find to be most important. This exhibit provides yet another opportunity to step into a conversation that touches all of our lives, in an environment that is safe, welcoming and hopeful. 
 

Mental Health: Mind Matters is an interactivetrilingual exhibit that provides experiences for visitors of all ages to help open the door for greater understanding, conversations and empathy toward the challenges of mental health. Walking through the exhibit you will have the opportunity to engage with empathy-building experience like hearing from people – in their own words – about how mental illness affects their lives. Interactives like noise-distorting headphones help visitors experience the difficulties some people have with symptoms of psychosis. Another interactive lets you dance around to learn about the connection between physical activity and mental wellnessTest your knowledge with a multi-player quiz about common misperceptions around mental illnesses and mental health. Anchored toward the back of the exhibit, you can check out a resource area that includes both children and adult activities, books and other helpful resources on mental health. Don’t forget to visit the Worry Shredder to shred your worries away! These are just some of the many incredible experiences in this remarkable exhibit. 
 

Working with our community partners, FCMoD will feature virtual and in-person programming throughout the dates of this exhibit. Forest therapy walks encourage participants to relax in nature. FCMoD’s virtual lecture series, Discovery Live, offers opportunities to hear from the mental health experts in our community and learn about the amazing work their organizations are doing. Programming in the museum’s gallery demonstrates different mindfulness techniques and relaxation activities. Visit fcmod.org to find the programs that resonate with you and learn how to take this conversation to the next level. 

As you consider visiting FCMoD, we want you to know about our deep commitment to keeping you safe during your visit. Gallery hosts regularly clean the museum throughout the day, with special attention to high-touch areas. All visitors over the age of two to are required to wear a face covering, and contact information will be requested at the beginning of the visit to help with contact tracingAlthough the museum is free through January 10, ticket reservations are required to help manage capacity and appropriate physical distancing. Groups 15 should contact the museum to reserve blocks of tickets. Ticketing information is available on the Plan Your Visit webpage. 

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Daily Discovery: Polly Brinkhoff

Post written by Archive & Collections team.

Daily Discovery: Polly Brinkhoff

Get Inspired!

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, we’re highlighting the paths of local women in Fort Collins history with a series of video presentations created by the Archive & Collections staff at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Today Curator of Collections Linda Moore will present on Polly Brinkhoff, artist and long-time resident of Skin Gulch off Poudre Canyon.

After you have learned about Polly Brinkhoff, be sure to create your very own shrink-plastic charm.

Click here to download the printable Polly Brinkhoff Charm.

Want to download the charm bracelet directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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