Get to Know our Animal Encounters with Alexa

If you’ve checked out our Animal Encounters Zone recently, you’ll have come across a vibrant tribe of animals of all sorts. From bees to snakes to local fish and turtles, it’s a fun spot with members of the animal kingdom. Now, every fourth Saturday from 10 to noon, the Animal Encounters team will be leading special programming in the museum.

Let’s catch up with Alexa, who makes the whole thing shine!

Hi Alexa!  You do such a great job with our Animal Encounters department! Might be a silly question, but how are the animals doing?

Thank you! The animals are doing great right now!

For those who haven’t visited Animal Encounters recently, can you give us a broad overview of what we can see and learn there and what it takes to keep such a vibrant part of our museum functioning?

In the Animal Encounters Zone at FCMoD, our visitors can see a pretty wide variety of animals from all over the world! We have a lot of arthropods – like the Emperor scorpion, the Chilean rose tarantula, and the Blue death-feigning beetles. We also have several amphibians, including the official Colorado state amphibian, the Tiger Salamander. There are some reptiles, like our Ball python, “Slinky,” and our Ornate box turtle, “Tara.” We have a big tank full of native Colorado fishes. And we have the ever-inquisitive, ever-adorable rats.

All of our animals require daily husbandry care to make sure that they are healthy. Each kind of animal requires different care though – when and what they eat, what kind of cleaning is necessary, common health problems to watch for, what kind of activities they need to keep alert and engaged. Our Animal Encounters staff needs to know about each animal’s native environment and diet, so we can replicate it in the tanks at the museum. We also need to know what kind of behavior to expect for each animal, so we can spot when they don’t feel well. The animal care all takes place before the museum opens, and happens every day of the year – even Christmas!

Almost all of the animals that we have at FCMOD are available through commercial pet trade. (The primary exception being the native fish, which require permitting.) If you are considering getting an unusual pet but don’t know how to take care of it, you can always visit the museum to check out our setup to keep the animals healthy and happy.

You all just recently started up with “Meet the Animals” programming. Can you tell our visitors a little more about that and what makes our animals so cool to meet?

We are now hosting a Meet the Animals program from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of every month! At each MTA, staff will have some of the museum’s animals out of their tanks so you can see them close up. Some of them you can even pet! Have you ever wondered what the Leopard gecko’s skin feels like? Now you can find out for yourself!

One of my favorite parts of MTA is that not only do you meet the animal – the animal meets you too! When you get to see one of our rats close up without the tank glass between you, you can see how she wiggles her whiskers and sniffs her nose to figure out what kind of person you are.

How does working with animals like this fit into your background and passions?

I have always been interested in all the living things around me! My parents supported me with some more unusual pets as I was growing up – including a couple Ball pythons (just like Slinky!) and a pet Black widow spider. As an adult, I love traveling to new places and seeing what kind of animals have adapted to live there. I recently got to see sea otters and Coastal brown bears in Alaska. (So cool!)

I have spent a lot of time volunteering with different organizations to take care of animals and improve the human-animal relationship, including the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program and the Clearwater Nature Center. I enjoy learning about new animals, their native environment, and the challenges that they face. And I am glad to share what I learn – once you see how adorable a Tiger salamander is (just check out his googly eyes and his smile!), and then learn how susceptible they are to water pollution, won’t you be more careful about what gets into the water supply?

What does it take to keep animals enriched and happy? Take us a little bit behind the scenes.

Do you ever get bored? No project to work on, no book to read, no TV show to watch? The animals can get bored too. We provide something called enrichment to our animals, where we offer things to make each animal more engaged and curious. For a rat, for example, that could be a puzzle where they have to figure out how to find the kibble inside. For the gecko, it could mean offering a new material in his tank, like dirt or wet moss. Having something new to explore keeps the animals mentally healthy and rewarded.

I think this is an important thing for any animal to have, so I even offer enrichment to my pet cats at home! I like to hide kibble around the house for them to find, or put it in puzzles that they have to figure out. Cats and dogs both respond really well to learning new games (and getting treats in the process), so you might try it at home with your furry friend.

The beehive is going gangbusters I hear! Who are we working with there and how do they do such a good job?

The museum has a partnership with Copoco’s Honey, a local beekeeping and honey company in Fort Collins. Beekeepers from Copoco’s regularly visit the museum to check on how the bees are doing. They like to look at how the bees are behaving (or should I say, bee-having?), for anything in the hive that might need fixing, and for any signs of illness in the bees. They always look for the queen bee to make sure she’s still healthy, and for all stages of life for the thousands of worker bees (egg, larva, pupa, and adult). I am not a professional beekeeper, but I love getting to watch and help out when they go over the hive. The last time they were here, I got to see some brand new adult bees chewing their way out of their cells!

You also partner with the American Fisheries Society. Can you tell us more about that rewarding work?

The American Fisheries Society is a student club at CSU for college students interested in fish and other aquatic life and activities. The AFS provides FCMOD with all of our native Poudre River watershed fishes. Going out in the river and sampling (collecting live fishes) is a great experience for these students as they work on becoming fisheries professionals.

Do you love all the animals equally, or do you have a favorite and why? Mine is the python!

My favorite animal is always the one I am working with at the moment! However, I am especially partial to the White’s tree frogs, the Fancy rats, and the Ornate box turtle. They are all extra-good at being memorably adorable.

Thanks! Is there anything I should add or I left out?

For those of you wondering about my grammar in using “fishes” as a plural instead of “fish,” there is a difference! “Fish” is used when you have many individual fish of one species. “Fishes” is used for multiple individual fish from a variety of species.

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Special Screening: The Ants & The Grasshopper

Presented by Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and in collaboration with ACT Human Rights Film Festival, join us at the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater for the documentary The Ants & the Grasshopper. Winner of multiple awards and an official selection at film festivals across North America, The Ants & the Grasshopper follows the story of Anita Chitaya, who travels from Malawi to the United States. With her, she brings experiences from her homeland, including living with extreme weather, inequality, and child hunger. She is on a quest to persuade Americans that these issues are real and can be solved.

Tickets are available as Pay What You Can. We will host two showings. 

While at the showing, be sure to visit our special exhibit, FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects. It is on view in our Woodward Special Exhibition Gallery.

Order a ticket for the 11 a.m. showing

Order a ticket for the 2 p.m. showing

The Ants & the Grasshopper is directed by Raj Patel and Zak Piper and has a runtime of one hour and 14 minutes.

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A Sneak Preview of our August 10 Women’s History Event

By Lesley Struc – Curator of the Archive

We are so excited that, for the first time since 2019, we will be hosting our annual Women’s History presentation live in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater here at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Join us on the evening of Wednesday, August 10 from 7:00-8:30pm to learn about these fascinating Fort Collins women through Museum collections, archival images, and more. Get inspired!

A black and white photograph of Mary Ault. She was part of the Betsy Ross Flying Corps, a pre-WWII organization of female pilots formed to support the Army Air Corps by flying ambulance, transport, and passenger planes during emergencies.

Mary Ault was born in 1911, grew up in Fort Collins and began flying at age 19, when only 117 American women had earned a pilot’s license. In March 1931 she became the first licensed female pilot from Fort Collins. Mary became a member of the Betsy Ross Flying Corps, a pre-WWII organization of female pilots formed to support the Army Air Corps. When tragedy struck in 1945, Mary’s life took an unexpected — and personally meaningful – direction. In Mary’s own words, seen on the National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor, “I didn’t make a career of it but never lost my love for flying

Adrienne Jean Roucolle hailed from France and arrived in the Fort Collins area with her family circa 1888 when she was about 13 years old. She lived near the present-day intersection of North Shields Street and Highway 287 at a home the locals called “Lafayette’s Place,” a cottage surrounded by gardens and fruit orchards. A long illness by her little sister Marie Antoinette inspired Adrienne to concoct wondrous stories to entertain and enchant her sibling; these fairy tales were gathered and published in 1898 into her first book – The Kingdom of the Good Fairies. She went on to write several more books, plays, and newspaper serials, that celebrated adventure, fantasy, and romance. 

Belva Williams Cahill in about 1923. She was the wife of Fort Collins, Colorado businessman John Barry Cahill.

Belva Williams Cahill, born 1896, moved to Fort Collins with her family when she was a young woman. She lived with her parents until she got married to JB Cahill in 1921. The Cahills had two daughters, Shirley and Beverly. The typical life of a wife and mother can be hard to trace in an archive, but the snapshots of Belva’s life help answer the question of who around Fort Collins. Who worked at Wolfer’s grocery store? Who got their hair done at Varra’s Beauty Salon? Belva Cahill.

Frances Withers Bigelow was born on March 15, 1913, in Denver, Colorado.  Women ministers seem commonplace now, but when she was ordained in 1958, she was one of the first six ordained women in the Methodist Church nationwide. From 1973-1977 Frances W. Bigelow served as the Associate Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins.  Even after she retired, Frances led church services as needed.  Leading churches in Colorado and Wyoming was only part of Frances’ legacy.  In Fort Collins, she was instrumental in the planning of Elderhaus and the first substance abuse center in the city. 

Object collections like the Historical Artifact Collection at FCMoD often harbor insights into the lives of people who are not well represented in the written record. Teasing out these stories, however, can be tricky. Join Collections Curator Linda Moore as she shares the stories of local women that are contained within FCMoD’s collection of objects. These women include a surprising number of artists, as well as adventurers, educators, and community activists.

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The B&M Printing Company: Tear-a-day Calendars, How One Thing Leads to Another

By Sarah Frahm, Archive Assistant, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

In the Cahill Collection, a collection of items from the Wolfer and Cahill families who were grocers and bankers in Fort Collins, there is a tear-a-day calendar. The Wolfer and Cahill collection will be featured in an upcoming Women’s History presentation by the Archive and Collections staff, and the tear-a-day calendar stands out.

This little calendar, about three inches by five inches, starts in the middle of the month with half of the pages already torn out. Each page is mostly blank space for jotting down notes but there are a few printed sentences at the top, part of a story told over the whole month.

The B&M Calendar in 1941, part of the local B&M Printing company

Sometimes, when going through a collection, either for processing or researching, there isn’t time to wonder deeply about an item. Other times, something is so odd or striking that it demands more time and investigation. The answers for questions about this calendar, a singular item from the folders of the Cahill Collection, came from another collection and newspapers.

Newspaper clipping for B&M Services, courtesy the Express-Courier, June 28, 1931

In 1930 William Berry, a foreman for The Fort Collins Express-Courier newspaper and Joseph H. McClelland, grandson and son of McClellands who were newspapermen, bought a press and started a printing company, B&M Printing. To advertise their business beyond newspaper ads, McClelland came up with the idea of a calendar notepad that could be given to potential customers. The calendar would be useful and therefore likely near-to-hand so that customers would be reminded often of B&M Printing.

B&M’s No. 48 Scratch Pad
A collection of B&M Calendars from 1945

Although McClelland left B&M Printing in 1933 to help run the family orchards south of town, Berry continued to print the calendar notepads. Roughly a hundred of these calendars covering the years from 1936 to 1953 are in the Archive in the B&M Printing Collection. The features of the calendars cover a whole range of topics. Some notepads were partnerships with other companies and organizations in town, such as The Business and Professional Women’s Club. One notepad had a story written by local author Agnes Wright Spring.

Sometimes Berry informed his customers about the slow rate of deliveries for office supplies due to lingering wartime shortages, other times he used the covers to stump for his own views on political questions of the day from fencing along a ditch at City Park to federal spending and taxing. Berry wrote his own histories of Fort Collins and Larimer County as well.

The story in the June 1941 calendar pad was borrowed from the Nebraska State Journal and supposedly from the Nebraska Senator Don Hanna. The whole tale is quite a tall one, involving the gentleman spending a night inside the chest cavity of his dead horse in order to survive a blizzard, only to be awoken by two hungry wolves biting at his hiding place. According to Hanna’s telling, he then managed to grab the tails of the wolves and drive them like sled dogs with Hanna inside the horse behind them to the homestead where Hanna’s wife dispatched the wolves and chopped Hanna free of the frozen carcass.

Including such a wild story in a calendar for Mr. Berry was likely a marketing tactic. Indeed, the final page of the June 1941 calendar calls for a customer submission of any tale better than the one told by Don Hanna. A subsequent calendar from December 1945 reminds users of the calendar notepads that while the notepads may be useful and entertaining they are advertisements for B&M Printing, printers and suppliers of office equipment.

The final page of June 1945 calendar
            The cover of December 1945 calendar

This exact aim of Berry’s calendars is probably why one of them ended up among the items of the Cahills. J.B. Cahill was a local grocer and businessman, as well as a member of the board for the First National Bank. He was the kind of person whom Berry would want as a customer, perhaps printing flyers for the Wolfer-Cahill grocery stores or letterhead for the bank. It is unknown if B&M Printing actually ever fulfilled a print order for Mr. Cahill or his associates but the connection between these two collections in the Archive points to how former residents of Fort Collins might have interacted with each other.

Sources:

Fort Collins Express-Courier, September 11, 1930

Fort Collins Express-Courier, June 28, 1931

Cahill-Wolfer-Blattspieler Collection, The Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

B and M Printing Company Collection, The Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

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Event at OtterBox Digital Dome Theater: Women’s History in Fort Collins

It’s the fifth year of exploring local women’s history at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Join us on August 10 as the Archive and Collections staff at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery share stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. It all takes place in our OtterBox Digital Dome Theater.

We’ll be highlighting the paths of many local luminaries for an inspirational evening full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information. We’re so excited to return to a live, in-person event for this occasion.

This is a free event. RSVP is required.

Find out more on our Women’s History collections. 

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Join us August 17 at the museum for Music Industry Night

Calling all music industry folks: you’re invited to our Music Community Family Dinner on August 17 in the museum’s Big Backyard. Join us in sharing four courses under the stars, using rescued food from Vindeket Foods, a no-cost grocery store located in Fort Collins. After dinner, More Than Physics will be hosting a musician’s yoga session and we’ll have tricks of the trade to staying healthy on the road.

You’ll also have the opportunity to view FOOD FOR THOUGHT, our new special exhibition. This exhibit offers a unique lens on the ways in which food is connected to climate change and other ecological issues of our times. 

Special thanks to Fort Collins Musician Association and Music Minds Matter for working to present this event with the museum. 

MusiCares, Alliance for Suicide Prevention, The Phoenix, and Blast N Scrap will all be sharing resources and information at the event.

The Music Community Family Dinner is free to attend. Pre-registration is required. 

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Now on View: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, Photomontages by Robert Dash

 

“When I sit down to eat a meal, I want to know that the food on my plate hasn’t been grown at the expense of the planet.”

“Cuando me siento a comer, quiero saber que la comida que encuentro en mi plato no se ha cultivado a expensas del planeta”.

– Robert Dash

En español

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is very excited to announce that we will host our next traveling exhibit from June 18 through September 4.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects offers a micro perspective on how one part of nature –our food– is connected to climate change.

Using photomontages, Robert Dash’s work ponders threats to our staple foods and provides hopeful prospects surrounding the issue of climate change.

The subjects and sources of Dash’s intriguing images were primarily found in the San Juan Islands, Washington. and he was granted permission to use the University of Washington, Friday Harbor Lab’s electron microscope for these spectacular images.

Robert Dash is an educator, photographer and naturalist whose work has been published by National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed and LensWork. In 2016, he presented a widely viewed TEDx talk entitled “The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.”

More of Dash’s work can be seen at www.robertdashphotography.com.

Photo courtesy of Robert Dash | Foto cortesía de Robert Dash
Photo courtesy of Robert Dash | Foto cortesía de Robert Dash

El Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins se complace en anunciar la próxima exhibición especial, que se llevará a cabo desde el 18 de junio al 4 de septiembre.

La exhibición especial Alimentando ideas. Microvistas del sustento: amenazas y posibilidades, ofrece una perspectiva micro sobre cómo una parte de la naturaleza, nuestra comida, está conectada directamente con el cambio climático.

Por medio de fotomontajes, el trabajo de Robert Dash reflexiona sobre algunas de las amenazas a nuestros alimentos básicos y brinda perspectivas distintas y esperanzadoras en torno al tema del cambio climático.

Los temas y las fuentes de las intrigantes y espectaculares imágenes de Dash se encontraron principalmente en las Islas San Juan, en Washington, y para poder llevarlas a cabo, se le concedió permiso para utilizar el microscopio electrónico de Friday Harbor Lab de la Universidad de Washington.

Robert Dash es un educador, fotógrafo y naturalista cuyo trabajo ha sido publicado por National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed y LensWork. En 2016, presentó una charla TEDx ampliamente vista titulada The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.

Para aprender más sobre su trabajo, visita www.robertdashphotography.com.

Experience FOOD FOR THOUGHT Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Visita Alimentando ideas. Microvistas del sustento: amenazas y posibilidades en el Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins

June 18 – September 4, 2022

18 de junio – 4 de septiembre, 2022

This exhibit is made possible with generous support from:

Esta exhibición ha sido posible gracias al generoso apoyo de:

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FCMoD Squad: Year Two Applications are open

We are just finishing up our inaugural year of FCMoD Squad. For the past nine months, FCMoD Squad members worked with our FCMoD Squad Leadership Team to get involved in the music community.

We are starting our second year this summer, and we’d love for individuals between 15 and 19 years old to consider taking part.

If you love music, and want skills in leadership, public speaking, and collaborating with like-minded folks, fill out our application up until July 11. Jam sessions are highly encouraged.

Read on to learn more about FCMoD Squad.

So, what is FCMoD Squad?

One of the best things in town. Really.

The FCMoD Squad is a youth advisory board consisting of individuals from across the Front Range. The FCMoD Squad ranges in ages from 15-19 and meets twice a month at the museum for a 9 month period. In that time, they actively engage the community in a variety of ways, including reviewing and judging entries for local music competitions and events, touring world class studios, participating in college level presentations and discussions, emceeing stages at concerts, and much more.

The purpose of FCMoD Squad is to provide hands on experience and education pertaining to the local music community as well as represent the voice and influence of our emerging youth.

Who are the FCMod Squad?

The FCMoD Squad are individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who are interested in becoming more involved within Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and their community.  By participating in FCMoD Squad, you are dedicated, open to learn, and participate fairly. Most of all, you are open to positive new experiences to learn from and pass on.

FCMoD Squad members will: 

  • Actively provide insight into current and future museum exhibits, programs, and events
  • Participate in outings with other community groups and organizations
  • Work behind the scenes in music events such as Sonic Spotlight and FoCoMX
  • Members will serve a total of nine months from August to April, with a maximum of two terms

Responsibilities of a FCMoD Squad Member:  

  • You’ll attend meetings twice monthly from 6 – 8 p.m. at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
  • You’ll work on monthly activities guided by our FCMoD Squad Leadership Team
  • You’ll actively engage and contribute in meetings and activities
  • You’ll embody Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s Mission and Vision 
    • Mission: The museum creates meaningful opportunities to learn, reflect, and have fun through hands-on and collections-based explorations in science and culture
    • Vision: To inspire inquisitive thinkers and encourage responsible stewardship of the future 

How do I apply?
Go right here.

Questions?
Email Nick Duarte our Senior Manager, Museum Engagement.

Thank you for considering FCMoD Squad.

We can’t wait to get started.

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The Story of Telstar and Fort Collins

By Barbara Cline, Archive Assistant – Processing, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Is there anything special about July 12, 1962?  I imagine there are several reasons for that date to be special.  According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration article on their website, it was “The Day Information Went Global.”  It was the day that the world first witnessed communications via satellite.

On July 10, 1962, the first active communications satellite, Telstar, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Thor/Delta 316 rocket. 

A Thor/Delta 316 launches with the Telstar 1 satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 17B, July 10, 1962. Courtesy: NASA

The first transatlantic television signal was relayed via Telstar two days later on July 12, 1962, from Andover Earth Station, Maine, to Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France.  Maine and France had the two tracking stations for Telstar.

Bell Laboratories – A Telstar 1 satellite, courtesy Bell Laboratories.

Though only operational for a few months, the Telstar satellite transmitted images from President John F. Kennedy’s press conference, short clips of sporting events and images of an American flag and Mount Rushmore.

The first telephone call via Telstar was between Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and Fred Kappel, President of AT&T. 

“Good evening, Mr. Vice President,” Kappel said. “This is Fred Kappel calling from the Earth Station at Andover, Maine.  The call is being relayed through our Telstar satellite as I’m sure you know.  How do you hear me?”

“You’re coming through nicely, Mr. Kappel,” said Vice President Johnson.

Courtesy, The Coloradoan, 9/29/64

So, we see the beginning of the information age.  But what is the connection between Fort Collins and Telstar, you ask?  Let me tell you!

Telstar 2 was launched by NASA on May 7, 1963 and remained active for two years.  As part of a Memorial Day-Centennial event on May 21, 1964, Myron “Mike” M. Braden, president of the Fort Collins Rotary Club and Rotary district governor in Sweden, Percy Hallencruetz, spoke via Telstar 2.  By using the satellite, the Swedish Rotarian was able to express congratulations on the occasion of Fort Collins’ Centennial anniversary.  Mr. Hallencruetz tied the Centennial slogan to the use of Telstar in making this phone call:

“This is probably why we are making this call the way we are.  But I didn’t tell you, Mike, that this call is taking place by way of Telstar.  The most advanced means of communication in this fast-moving world of ours.  This is our way of helping you make your Centennial slogan come true:  Past Achievements Challenge the Future.  It’s an excellent slogan, and I cannot think of any better way to challenge the future, nor to fulfill the dreams of the past than to speak to you on this historic occasion through the reality of today’s modern communication achievement, the Telstar satellite.”

You can listen to the recording and see a transcript on our website

Courtesy The Coloradoan, May 24, 1964.

When you use your cell phones and other handheld devices, laptops, and televisions, you can proudly note that Fort Collins was at the forefront of the use of satellites.  And as you ponder this piece of local, national, and international history, you can listen on YouTube to “Telstar” by the Tornadoes.  Inspired by the first of the famous satellites, the pop song went to number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

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National Pollinator Week is June 20 – 26. Here’s why pollen is so important.

By Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Pollination is one of the most important things that happens in the natural world and without it, life on Earth would look very different. Here are key points that I would like to share out.

What is pollination?

Many plants use a technique called pollination to reproduce. The plant produces pollen, which must be transferred to another flower of the same species. Once pollination happens, the plant can make seeds, which grow into new plants.

Plants need some help to get pollen moved around, since they don’t move on their own. Only 20% of plants manage to get pollinated with only wind or water as a vector. The vast majority of flowering plants require an animal to help: a pollinator.

What are pollinators?

Many species help pollinate plants: bees, wasps, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats.

In Colorado, our most common pollinators are: more than 250 species of butterfly, 946 species of bees, and more than 1,000 species of moth.

Why should you care about helping pollinators?

Humans depend on plants for many things. A small sample:

  • Take a deep breath. Feel that good clean air in your lungs? Plants consume carbon dioxide, which is a poison for us, and produce oxygen, that we breathe.
  • Eat a strawberry. Many fruits and vegetables we enjoy depend on pollination.
  • Have a glass of water. Plants can filter pollutants from water, making it safer for humans to drink.
  • Heal your pain. Many medicines, like aspirin, are derived from plants. Humans have been using plants to heal themselves for thousands of years.
  • Look at your house, or a building nearby. Chances are, it’s largely made of wood and other plant-derived products.
  • Wash up. Many soaps, shampoos, and other cleaners are made from plants.
  • Get dressed. Many fabrics, like cotton, linen and bamboo, are made from plant materials.

How can you help pollinators?

There are two big threats to pollinators that you can help with.

Many species that act as pollinators are in decline due to something called habitat loss. The environment that these animals evolved to live in is decreasing, largely due to human activity. Any time a suburb is built where there used to be wild lands, the animals that depend on it will die. What can you do? Look up native plants and add them to any landscape you can, so that pollinators have space to live alongside humans. In Fort Collins, try planting prairie wildflowers, like chocolate daisies, in your flower beds instead of cultivated flowers from somewhere else in the world. Have a native plant like yucca in a pot on your balcony. Tell your friends and neighbors to do so too. Remind your representatives that we need to make space for our wildlife neighbors.

The other big factor affecting many pollinators is the common use of herbicides and pesticides. Many of these have been found to affect species that we actually like. In the news recently (spring 2022) is a common herbicide, glyphosphate, that turns out to kill bees as well as the intended weeds. What can you do? Read about any herbicide or pesticide and find out what else it’s going to do, and if you must use it follow the directions precisely. Or, use other ways of controlling pests such as trimming or removing infested plants by hand.

Pollinators at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Check out the honeybee colony featured in our Animal Encounters Zone. These bees form a thriving colony that go out and collect nectar – and pollinate flowers – every day. Come see them hard at work!

More museum resources about pollination:

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