Field Trip: Behind the scenes with 20,000 mammal specimens

By Bradley Allf, Educational Events Specialist, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and Lori A. Williams, North Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society

©Karen Swain, NCMNS

Still thinking about a field trip during the 2016 TWS Annual Conference? Here’s your chance to gain an in-depth experience at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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A 10-minute ride from the conference in downtown Raleigh, this field trip offers participants a unique look at three of the most important aspects of the Museum’s mission — collections, research and public engagement — through a backroom tour of the largest museum of its kind in the region.

Your tour will begin in the largest mammal collection in the southeast where you’ll have the chance to see some of the more than 20,000 mammal specimens contained in the Museum’s collection, including manatees, bears, wolves and whales. Experience firsthand how collections staff preserve mammal specimens and learn how collections like this one inform important conservation decisions.

Cougar (Puma concolor) on display in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Naturalist Center. ©Karen Swain, NCMNS

Cougar (Puma concolor) on display in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Naturalist Center. ©Karen Swain, NCMNS

Next, you’ll head to the Biodiversity Research Lab, one of the Museum’s four fully-functional research laboratories located right on the exhibit floor. Here, you’ll learn from scientists how they are using camera traps to document the ecology and behavior of wild animals like red wolves and jaguars. From there you’ll walk to the Naturalist Center, the only public collection in the museum. You’ll learn how this innovative collection’s 10,000 specimens, interactive “touch tables,” and easy-to-use microscopes are used by visitors every day to learn more about the natural world.

If you like hands-on science, or just want to learn more about what makes the museum tick, you surely won’t want to miss out on this rare behind-the-scenes tour. Take advantage of this unique field trip opportunity while there’s still room!

Click here for our complete lineup of field trips and register today!