The public will benefit from the Bohart Museum of Entomology's UC Davis Crowd Fund, a $5000 fundraising drive that ends at 11:59 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.
With the funds, UC Davis students will create portable insect-specimen traveling boxes that make their way throughout Northern California to help folks learn about the exciting world of insect science, including bees, butterflies and beetles. The glass-topped boxes travel to school classrooms, youth group meetings (such as 4-H, Boy Scouts and Grange), festivals, libraries, fairs, special events, museums, hospitals--and more.
The Bohart Museum, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, originated in 1946 when noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), UC Davis professor of entomology, filled two Schmitt boxes with insect specimens. That was the beginning of the UC Davis insect museum. Named the Bohart Museum in 1982, it is now the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, collected worldwide
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, drew praise last Saturday at the museum's 75h anniversary party, hosted by the Bohart Museum Society.
Emcee Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair and professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the newly named Associate Dean for Research and Outreach for Agricultural Sciences, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, urged the crowd to help support the outreach mission of the museum.
“Collections have a tremendous educational value,” Bond said, “and they also have amazing research value as well. Discoveries of new species don't actually happen in the field, they happen in the museum collections. New species on the average spend about 25 years on the shelf before a graduate student, undergraduate student or a researcher pulls them off shelf and describes or discovers them.”
He offered a toast to Kimsey, who in turn praised the thousands of collectors “who have their names” on the specimens. “We've been doing this for a long time. Eventually we'll be able to serve the public again like we should. Otherwise it would just be a dead collection in a building somewhere.”
Kimsey interviewed “Doc” Bohart, then 82, in 1996 as part of the Aggie Videos collection. (See https://bit.ly/2Zv8rvO.) Bohart, who began his UC Davis career in 1946, chaired the Department of Entomology from 1963 to 1967.
Unparalleled Research. “His scientific research on insect taxonomy and systematics is unparalleled,” Kimsey wrote on the Bohart website. “His publications include three of the most important books on the systematics of the Hymenoptera, including the well-used volume Sphecid Wasps of the World. His journal publications total over 200 articles. He revised many groups of insects, discovered new host-associations or geographic ranges, and described many new species."
Kimsey, an alumnus of UC Davis, received her undergraduate degree in 1975 and doctorate in 1979. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1989. A two-term president of the International Hymenopterists, and a recognized global authority on the systematics, biogeography and biology of the wasp families, Tiphiidae and Chrysididae, she won the 2020 C. W. Woodworth Award, the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, for "her 31 years of outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching, education, outreach and public service."
The need to update and expand the Bohart Museum's traveling display is urgent, the scientists said.
“We have all these bright, students on campus with fresh and diverse perspectives," commented Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. "We want to support their talent, so the funds we are raising will go to students for the creation of new traveling displays. This fleet of new educational drawers will expand and update what we can offer. Some of our current displays were created 15 years ago! One can only imagine all the places these drawers have been and all the people who have been inspired."
Donors can do so in memory of someone, a place, or a favorite insect. Bond donated $500 in honor of Lynn Kimsey, and Lynn Kimsey donated $500 in memory of the founder, Richard M. Bohart. The donation page, which includes a U.S. map of where the donors reside, is at https://bit.ly/3v4MoaJ
The Bohart Museum, currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 precautions, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. In addition to its insect collection, which is the seventh largest in North America, the museum houses a live “petting zoo,” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas, and a gift shop (now online), stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, books, posters and other items. Further information is on the website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu.
Author - Communications specialist
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, addresses the crowd at the 75th anniversary party hosted last Saturday by the Bohart Museum Society. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
In appreciation of the donations, the Bohart staff created this "Thank you." Donations for the Bohart Museum's traveling insect-specimen display case end at 11:59, Oct. 31. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Bohart Museum's traveling insect specimens travel throughout Northern California. Here they are at the 2017 Solano County Youth Ag Day. In the center is Tabatha Yang, the Bohart's education and outreach coordinator, teaching the youngsters about the exciting world of insect science. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)