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Coast to Cactus: Bringing Fire into Focus

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As any local can attest, fires are a part of life here in San Diego. This year, the wildfires came four months earlier than usual and scorched more than 27,000 acres of land. Learn more about the life cycle of the chaparral, a ubiquitous California plant community that covers much of San Diego’s hillsides, and how it’s affected by wildfire.

 

  • Posted: August 29, 2014

  • By: theNAT

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Meet Erica Kelly, Exhibition Developer

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In this blog, Erica Kelly, exhibition developer at the San Diego Natural History Museum, shares how she made her debut into the museum field and what her typical workday looks like. She also highlights her favorite aspects of being a key player of the Coast to Cactus in Southern California team. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public on January 17, 2015.

 

2014 Summer Reading List from theNAT

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We asked our staff to compile a list of book recommendations for you this summer… and here they are! From biogeography and evolution to hungry little caterpillars, explore some of the most beloved nature-based books from our research and education departments. 

 

Pages from the Past: Charles Russell Orcutt

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The pages of history of this Museum are full of colorful characters, and none more so than Charles R. Orcutt, the quintessential citizen scientist, collector, and entrepreneur. Discover more about Orcutt’s adventures, collections, and his participation in founding the San Diego Society of Natural History, the parent organization of our Museum. 

 

Meet Jim Melli, Exhibit Designer

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Jim Melli has been an exhibition designer at the San Diego Natural History Museum on and off since the 1970s. Learn more about his experience in the field and the contributions he is currently making to our upcoming core exhibition, Coast to Cactus in Southern California, opening January 17, 2015. 

 

Pirates and Natural History: Connecting the Dots

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Many do not realize that there was a direct correlation between pirates and natural history during the 17th and 18th centuries and beyond. In many respects, pirates were considered among the world’s first citizen scientists. Learn more about how pirates were some of the first to document the flora, fauna, and peoples around the globe. 

 

Meet Michael Field, Lead Exhibit Designer

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Meet one of the key members of the San Diego Natural History Museum’s exhibits team that is developing our upcoming core exhibition Coast to Cactus in Southern California, set to open in January 2015. Learn more about his contributions to the meticulous undertaking that is building an exhibition.

 

  • Posted: April 17, 2014

  • By: theNAT

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Extinct Porpoise Discovered in San Diego Had a Major Underbite

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It’s not every day that a new species of porpoise is introduced to the scientific world. However, that’s what recently happened when a team of paleontologists, including representatives from the San Diego Natural History Museum, discovered the fossil remains of a 3 million year old animal with a unique skull anatomy not represented in any living or fossil dolphin or porpoise.

 

Snoopy License Plate Now Available to Benefit Museums

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We all know Snoopy is a well-known California icon. But we’re most excited about the Snoopy License Plate because proceeds will support California’s museums—such as theNAT—through a new grant program. 

 

  • Posted: March 19, 2014

  • By: theNAT

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An Underwater Discovery

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The three-masted, 300-ton galley Whydah was built as a slave ship in London in 1715, but only made one such voyage before being captured by Captain Sam Bellamy and his crew in 1717. Just two months later, the Whydah sank off the Massachusetts coast, where she lay on the sea floor until underwater explorer Barry Clifford found the remains of the ship in 1984. In a decades-long recovery operation, Clifford and his team have excavated thousands of artifacts that shed light on this tumultuous period of American and world history.

 

  • Posted: February 20, 2014

  • By: theNAT

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Increased Gray Whale Sightings in Southern California

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Gray whales are getting a head start on migration. The Museum Whalers, theNAT’s volunteer naturalists, saw an unexpected number of gray whales much earlier in the season this year. 

 

  • Posted: January 16, 2014

  • By: theNAT

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The Buzz on Coffee

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Every cup of coffee we buy and drink connects us with a web of hidden stories around the world. In this global age, an exhibition currently on view at theNAT explores the important question: What is the true story behind one of the world’s most widely traded commodities? 

 

  • Posted: December 30, 2013

  • By: theNAT

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Fossils Withdrawn from Auction

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The San Diego Natural History Museum has made a decision to withdraw the 12 fossils listed for sale in the Bonhams public auction scheduled for November 19, 2013. The fossils in question include seven large vertebrate fossils collected and sold to the Museum by Charles Sternberg in the 1920s, and represent a fraction of the Sternberg specimens currently housed in our research collection. The remaining five auction specimens are Green River Formation fish fossils added to the Museum’s collection in the 1970s.

  • Posted: November 18, 2013

  • By: theNAT

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Fossil Deaccession

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The San Diego Natural History Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California. The Museum is permanently removing 12 fossils from our collection that are unrelated to our mission. The proceeds will be used to acquire scientifically important fossils from our region as well as gems and minerals from southern California and Baja California. These will be strong additions to our collection while enhancing our mission.

  • Posted: November 15, 2013

  • By: theNAT

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Snakes in Camp. Snakes in Traps. Snakes on Hikes.

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With only a few days left on the binational Baja expedition, the Herpetology team is starting to tally their numbers. We have observed a total of 28 species of amphibians and reptiles. Seeing the large diversity of lizards was somewhat expected, but the abundance of snakes is a completely different matter. 

 

Notes from the Field: Botany Updates from Sierra Cacachila

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Despite tropical storm Sonia directly hitting our area, we have collected approximately 250 different plant specimens, with a focus on collecting species that have not been documented in this area. 

Botany Reports from the Sierra Cacachila

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Five botanists, including Curator of Botany Jon Rebman, have been collecting plants from near the base camp and from the higher elevations of the Sierra Cacachila, where they discovered unfamiliar species, including some that are potentially new to science.  

 

  • Posted: November 1, 2013

  • By: theNAT

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Bugging Out in Baja

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Today the expedition’s entomology team went out to do some scouting for sampling sites in the Sierra Cacachilas. We saw two very unusual critters that are only found at the southern tip of Baja California Sur, and even then aren’t seen very often.  

 

Expedition: Baja

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There aren’t too many unexplored places left, but there is one in our own backyard (or close to it) that almost 30 scientists and researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum and counterparts in Mexico will explore beginning this week.

  • Posted: October 28, 2013

  • By: Rebecca Handelsman

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Baja California Plant Field Guide Wins Literary Awards

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Over 715 different plants in more than 350 genera in 111 families are described in the third and newest edition of Baja California Plant Field Guide. Authored by the 2011 San Diego Horticulturist of the Year, Dr. Jon P. Rebman, the book offers tribute to the late Norman C. Roberts, author of the first two editions. 

  • Posted: October 10, 2013

  • By: theNAT

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Docents Celebrate 45 Years of Connecting Students to Nature

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The Docent program at the San Diego Natural History has come a long way since that first meeting in February 1968. At that time guided tours in San Diego museums were unheard of, and the word "docent," meaning "teaching guide," was new to many people. The purpose of the new Docent program was to make the Museum interesting and accessible to children and their families and to teach them what a regional museum offers.

  • Posted: August 5, 2013

  • By: Janet Morris

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