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CalDay celebrates the Campanile and National Parks

by Dave Smith

When the tax filing deadline approaches in April, you know that it's almost time for … yes, CalDay, UC Berkeley's annual campus-wide open house! This year CalDay fell on Saturday, April 18. For UCMP, this was its 39th open house, the first being in 1977.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Campanile. The centennial celebration of the National Park Service's founding is also occuring this year so the museum highlighted these in both displays and lectures.

The title of the museum's display in the "Fishbowl" described its content nicely: The Campanile and National Park Service Turn 100: A Century of Fossils. Out in the second floor courtyard, UCMP again participated in a collaborative display with the other Berkeley Natural History Museums (BNHM). Here, plant and invertebrate fossils collected from four national park lands were exhibited.

Camilla and Allison in the courtyard' Emily and Liz in the courtyard Natalia and Armita in the courtyard
Jessie in the Fishbowl Zixiang in the Fishbowl Nick, Michele, and Erica in the Fishbowl
Activity in the courtyard and in the Fishbowl. Top left: Camilla Souto and Allison Stegner talk about some of the museum's fossil plants and invertebrates from National Park lands. Photo by Lucy Chang. Top middle: Emily Orzechowski and Liz Ferrer have the mid-day shift in the courtyard. Photo by Lucy Chang. Top right: Natalia Villavicencio and Armita Manafzadeh finish up in the afternoon. Photo by Camilla Souto. Bottom left: Down in the Fishbowl, Jessie Atterholt talks about fossils stored in the Campanile. Photo by Lucy Chang. Bottom middle: Zixiang Zhang with a display of dire wolf jaws. Photo by Lucy Chang. Bottom right: Nick Spano, Michele Maybee, and Erica Clites are kept busy. Photo by Camilla Souto.

UCMP Curator and Integrative Biology Professor Kevin Padian gave a parks-related lecture on the ancient ecosystem represented by the rocks in Petrified Forest National Park. Museum Scientist Erica Clites also gave a park-themed lecture on the monitoring of fossil resources in national parks. The fossils that occupy five floors of the Campanile were described by undergraduate Eric Holt in a lecture with the great title Game of Bones: Dire Wolves and Other Denizens of Berkeley's Campanile.

A fourth lecture was presented by UCMP Curator and Integrative Biology Professor Tony Barnosky. It was based on his new book: Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth. Following his talk, Tony sold and signed copies of his book.

Eric Holt begins his talk Tony, Sarah, and Jeff at the book-signing table Holly Seyler, Renske Kirchholtes, and Jenny Hofmeister at the tee-shirt table
Morning at the tee shirt table Camilla Souto and Lisa White T. rex, docent, and tour group
Top left: Eric Holt begins his talk on the fossils stored in the Campanile. Photo by Camilla Souto. Top middle: Tony Barnosky sells and signs his latest book, with assistance from Sarah Tulga, and Jeff Benca. Photo by Lucy Chang. Top right: Holly Seyler, Renske Kirchholtes, and Jenny Hofmeister having fun at the tee-shirt table. Photo by Camilla Souto. Bottom left: The morning crew at the tee shirt table includes (from left) Lisa White, Chris Mejia, Alexis Williams, Trish Roque, and Anna Thanukos. Photo by Dave Smith. Bottom middle: Camilla Souto and Lisa White enjoying CalDay. Photo by ?. Bottom right: After hearing one too many docents tell a tour group that its name is "Osborn," T. rex lunges for the unwitting student. Photo by Camilla Souto.

Other activities included the ever popular "Fun with Fossils," in which kids both young and old can look for vertebrate microfossils; tours of the museum's collections (the free tickets for these are usually gone within the first two or three hours of the morning); and sales of UCMP tee shirts. This year we brought back Tyrannosaurus rex, but also had a new design featuring a dire wolf skull. Since this is the Campanile's centennial, the dire wolf was an easy choice (there are more bones of dire wolves in the Campanile than of any other vertebrate).

Caitlin Boas assists in 'Fun With Fossils' Lucy and Tesla at 'Fun With Fossils' Charles at 'Fun With Fossils'
Left: Caitlin Boas helps with fossil identification at "Fun With Fossils." Photo by Camilla Souto. Middle: Lucy Chang and Tesla Monson at "Fun With Fossils." Photo by Jenny Hofmeister. Right UCMP Director Charles Marshall stops by "Fun With Fossils" to look for microvertebrate fossils. Photo by Camilla Souto.

Even though the Valley Life Sciences Building is probably the single most visited building on CalDay, many participants felt that attendance was down from previous years. It could have been the beautiful weather — there were just too many other things to do on such a nice day. Nevertheless, UCMP's public lectures, displays, and activities proved to be as popular as ever!