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lunes, 16 de julio de 2012

The museum opens, the volunteers turn over and the armadillo finally gets stuffed!

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it gives me great pleasure to announce the grand opening of the one, the only, Para La Tierra Natural History Museum. Yes you guessed it folks we have opened the new museum and I have to say we are all rather proud of our efforts. We actually opened on 21st June and held a little ceremony for the volunteers staying here. Following a short speech, Karina cut a ribbon and we gave a tour of the exhibits. There is still a lot to do on our displays, large map and photo wall but it is shaping up nicely and I have already given 2 tours to tourists, one of whom gave a donation in dollars! The new museum opening isn’t just a landmark day for us here at PLT it is also a reflection of just how much hard work has been put into the species inventories by volunteers and interns over the last couple of years. Who would have thought that our collection would grow so quickly and we would need a new building after only 2 years? Well done and thank you to all our visitors, past and present for making it what it is today. If you would like a virtual tour of the museum you can find a short film on our Facebook page where there are also pictures. Or if you are not friends with us (yet) it can be found at Last week, in between getting the museum organised we had a massive turn over of volunteers. Sadly we have now said goodbye to Nick, Noah and Dec; 3 wonderful interns who undertook 2 fantastic projects. But we are delighted to welcome in Jess (US), Zander (US), Rosemary (UK) and Rachel (UK). You’ll notice that we have 2 from the UK and 2 from the US which now means that we have an equal number of Brits and Americans. Needless to say this has resulted in some lively conversations over the pronunciation of oregano, Iraq, tomato and vitamin! The camaraderie has been great fun and so was Independence Day weekend which would probably have gone uncelebrated had we not had the US faction with us. Jess and Rosemary have joined the primate project and are having a great time hacking through the forest, Rachel has an interest in invertebrates and has been getting involved with not only our butterfly and moth collection but has also been discovering some of the beetles that Sabrina is working with. And Zander is trying his hand at all of the projects that are running at the moment and has also taught everyone how to crochet! We have a really creative group here at the moment which coincides perfectly with the upcoming museum jobs. I have also been developing my newly found interest in taxidermy and this week I stuffed an armadillo. Well. Stuffed isn’t the right word, more mounted. I was actually given the skin and shell of this specimen for Christmas and it has been in the freezer until now as we simply didn’t have space for it in the old museum. I have been itching to get my hands on it for the last 6 months and this week the day finally came. There wasn’t enough skin left on the underside to stuff it and sew it back up again and when I started to sew it I quickly realised (by breaking 2 needles) that armadillo skin is not a pleasant material to work with. So I changed tactic and made a frame (table). The skin then went around the table so that the shell covered the surface and the legs and feet were surrounding the table legs. And then, as it was originally invented for surgery, I used superglue to hold it all together. I squashed it between 2 boxes to ensure it held its shape while it dried and the end result is not too bad. This may not been the most conventional of methods but we now have an armadillo standing up looking like a, well, an armadillo! And that’s about it for this time, see you in a fortnight. Hx

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