On Saturday, the Texas Memorial Museum hosted its fourth annual Texas Wildlife Day, a free event where the public can learn about various aspects of wildlife through activities and exhibits.
The event featured a variety of kid-friendly activities hosted by volunteer groups and museum exhibits ranging from prehistoric mammals to gems and minerals.
“It’s just nice to remind folks that when we talk about wildlife, we are aren’t always talking about the big, charismatic animals, like deer or a coyote, but we are also talking about insects, toads and snakes,” said Pamela Owens, associate director of the Texas Memorial Museum. “It’s also a chance to interact with scientists, science educators and naturalists to learn something first-hand.”
With only four full-time employees, Owens said she relied heavily on volunteer efforts to coordinate the event. The volunteer groups ranged from Texas Master Naturalist chapters to students from UT-Austin. Each group brought its own activity and materials, including live animals and insects for children to hold.
Biology sophomore Emily Mitchell, a volunteer who spent a couple hours teaching the attendees about insects, said she enjoyed educating children about her area of personal interest.
“I just really wanted to be a part of insect outreach,” Mitchell said. “I really like seeing the little kids, especially little girls, be very hesitant to touch the hissy cockroaches, but the minute the cockroaches go in their hand, their eyes light up and they start asking questions because they get so excited.”
The event also had a new live snake station, where a large group of kids surrounded the table to touch a Mexican Pine Snake.
Christine Widmann said she’s taken her family of five to Texas Wildlife Day at the museum for three years.
“I thought it was great, very informative and interactive,” Widmann said. “The kids loved it. Every year, they are really great with the kids,”
Owens said attendance at the event was larger than last year.
“We have already surpassed last year’s attendance (by noon),” Owens said. “We have well over 700 people here, and that was about the total we had by the end of the day last year.”
The event is hosted each year on the last Saturday of January.