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Under Construction: Night Hunters VIII

Time is going by so fast! The new Night Hunters exhibit will be open before you know it. Here are some pictures of the latest progress.

The new way in and out

New entry and exit to the building

You’ll walk under a trellis (yet to be built) and enter the exhibit building¬†through [Read more →]

February 11, 2011   1 Comment

Night Hunters: Under Construction V

With the holidays and all, the past month has been a blur and I didn’t have a chance to post many updates to the blog. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that you had a chance to come to the Festival of Lights. I brought my kids during a snow storm and we had a great time. The kids went straight to the front of the line to see Santa since so few people braved the weather that night. We were pretty happy not to have to wait in line very long.

Rest assured, progress continues on Night Hunters design and development. I haven’t been down to the site recently, but I hear that the concrete foundation for the rotunda has been poured and the rest of the floors are scheduled to be poured next week. We’ve prepared several track casts–clouded leopard, ocelot, and puma–that our exhibits artist, Jessica, will use to make impressions in the concrete in certain areas.

I’ve been generating content for a computer interactive whereby visitors will be able to choose from a selection of text and images to create their own digital version of an ID sign for one of the small cats on exhibit. Their creations will actually be displayed in rotation at that cat’s exhibit. I think people will get a kick out of seeing the sign they created on display. What do you think?

I hope to visit the site to snap some more Under Construction photos to share soon. Until then, here are a few photos of some of the critters you’re likely to see when Night Hunters opens in May.

Fishing cat

Burmese python

Bat-eared fox

January 4, 2011   1 Comment

Back from Belize

It’s been two weeks since I returned from co-leading an Earth Expeditions trip to Belize and I’m just now finding a moment to post a recap. It’s amazing how much work can pile up when you’re out of the office for two weeks!

Overall, the field expedition was fantastic! The heat and humidity were high. Even the locals said so. I carried a bandana with me everywhere we went so I could wipe the sweat off of my face every five minutes. The bugs, on the other hand, weren’t half as bad as I expected. I still came home looking like I had chicken pox on my legs from all the mosquito and doctor fly bites I did get, but it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered it being the last time I was there.

I could write a book about everything we experienced and discovered, but I’ll just describe a couple of my personal highlights for now.

The Belize Zoo, where this jaguar was photographed, was amazing. The zoo only displays animals native to Belize and its primary purpose is to connect Belizeans to the wildlife around them and inspire them to be proud and protect their natural heritage. The coolest thing EVER was to be at the zoo at night and hear the black howler monkeys roaring all around you. It is the creepiest sound and so loud that you’d expect a dinosaur to come crashing through the trees any minute.

After spending a few hot and humid days in the tropical forest and savannah, floating down the Caves Branch River in an innertube was heaven. It was so refreshing and provided a completely different perspective of the surrounding environment. I felt like I was in the middle of a National Geographic episode. The river flows in and out of these giant cave systems. At one point, we all turned out our head lamps. It was so dark that you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. Coming out of the cave, we were like butterflies emerging from a chrysalis – transformed.

BATS! I just love bats. I’m not sure why, but they fascinate me.

As a group of educators, we were excited to get to spend some time visiting schools and interacting with the students.  Dozens of kids came to the school to meet us in spite of the fact that it was their summer break. We learned a bit about the school system in Belize and engaged the kids in arts and crafts, soccer, and conversation.

And, finally, here I am on the beach on Carrie Bow Caye where a Smithsonian research station is based. We got a brief tour of the station and then had some time to explore the tiny island. I had fun watching all the little crabs duck in and out of their burrows and scamper sideways across the sand.

September 2, 2010   1 Comment