museum researchers and participants in the museum in the parks events stand and kneel on the park path
Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

Our fall 2021 Museum in the Parks explorations were some of our most exciting! We brought Museum specimens and live insects out to several local parks to talk about our natural world and how researchers used scientific collections as well as natural spaces to learn about the past and present, as well as understand what our environment’s future holds.

We were joined by several families and life-long learners for each adventure into Florida’s natural spaces. Venturing into a park to learn about nature with our educators and scientists brought up some fantastic questions each time, and it was inspiring to learn about these unique habitats with our new friends!

Mushrooms at Sweetwater

On Sept. 15, we were joined by Matt Smith at Sweetwater Preserve to learn about mushrooms! Matt is a mycologist. He studies mushrooms and he’s also a professor and curator. He talked with us about fungus and Florida’s great ecosystems that support a vast assortment of fungi. On our walk, we learned how to look for common Florida mushrooms and what they did for their habitat.

Arthropods at Bolen Bluff

At Bolen Bluff Trail on Oct. 12 we were treated to an arthropod petting zoo and specimens from the UF Entomology collection. Jennifer Standley, a graduate student in UF’s Entomology and Nematology Department, showed us cool bugs including a tarantula that some brave guests got to touch! We walked the park and learned about how to find some of Florida’s more common and interesting arthropods.

Mammals at Paynes Prairie

We met at Paynes Prairie on Nov. 15 to learn about mammals like horses, otters, deer, and bobcats. Verity Mathis, our mammals collection manager, was joined by Aditi Jayarajan, a UF Ph.D. student who also works in our mammals collection. Our walk in the park had us looking for unexpected signs of mammals like footprints and trails. We even spotted an armadillo looking for snacks in the underbrush!

Learn more about the Museum in the Parks program and browse upcoming events or self-guided walks.

Museum in the Parks

Fall 2021 Scientists

Many thanks to our scientists for these fall events!

Sept 15 | Mushrooms at Sweetwater

Oct 12 | Arthropods at Bolen Bluff

Nov 15 | Mammals at Paynes Prairie