central-virginia

Central Virginia

Availability

The Charlottesville-Central programs are currently conducted in the following locales:

  • Albemarle County
  • Fluvanna County
  • Louisa County
  • Nelson County
  • Charlottesville City
  • Waynesboro City

To find out more information or to request a program, email discover@vmnh.virginia.gov or call (276) 634-4185.


Children & Youth Program Listings

Owl Moon by Jane YolenThe Virginia Forest Ecosystem
Trees are the main producers in a forest ecosystem. They provide oxygen, moisture, shade, soil and erosion control as well as food, shelter and homes for many life forms. Learn how these living and non-living elements interact in our forests. Illustrative materials: tree parts, forest soil, mounted specimens, nests, insect evidence in wood.
Science SOLs K.6, K.7, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 4.4, 4.5, 5.5, 6.8, 6.9

The Five Senses and Creatures of the Night
Animals adapt to living in the dark by using sight, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. Mammals, birds and reptiles serve as examples. Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, animal replications, pictures and animal toys. 
Science SOLs: K.2, 1.7, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5

This is the story of a young child who goes "owling" with her father on a winter night. Slides of the book's illustrations accompany the reading followed by a discussion of the great horned owl. Illustrative materials include slides, mounted specimen of a great horned owl, and a tape recording of its calls.
Science SOLs: K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10

Rocks and Minerals as Natural Resources and Natural Splendors
Rocks and minerals are valuable natural resources. They are part of our everyday lives and must be used wisely. They serve as tools, "history books", and familiar items found in our homes, schools and communities. They are also gorgeous, with great variety in color, shape and luster. Illustrative materials: a variety of rock and mineral specimens that children will examine.
Science SOLs:  1.8, 2.2, 4.8, 5.7
Social Science SOLs: 1.9, 1.11, 2.6

Examining Owl Pellets
What do owl pellets tell us about the way an ecosystem functions and the interdependence of living organisms? Why and how do owls make pellets? Children examine the contents of a barn owl pellet and arrange the bones in a skeleton. In the process they discover how similar small rodent skeletons are to human skeletons. Illustrative materials: owl pellets, posters, mounted specimen, dissecting materials.
Science SOLs: 3.5, 4.5, 4.8, 5.5, 6.8, 6.9

Bats: Our Only Flying Mammal
Bats are unique mammals, yet they are quite similar to humans in certain respects. Learn about bat behavior including echolocation, habitats, and life cycle. Introduction to common Virginia bats. Illustrative materials: bat specimens, bat skeleton and bat slides.
Science SOLs: K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 4.5, 4.8, 5.2, 5.5, 6.8, 6.9

Fascinating Fossils
What do fossils tell us about the earth's history and the history of life? How has life on earth changed over time? Students will inspect evidence of life from 500 million years ago in the Paleozoic Era through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras. Fossils of mollusks, arthropods, and other marine invertebrates, fish, reptiles, mammals and plants reinforce the concept of classification. Illustrative materials: a variety of fossils and posters of ancient life. 
Science SOLs: 3.1, 3.3, 3.6, 3.10, 4.1, 4.5, 5.1, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7

Introduction to Birds
What makes a bird a bird? How are birds different from other animals? Feathers, beaks, feet, song and nests are all part of the story. Illustrative materials: feathers, mounted specimens, nests with eggs and toy birds that sing. 
Science SOLs: K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6

The Bird Feeder
A Learning Experience The concept of adaptation is illustrated in the differences between seed-eating, insect-eating and nectar-feeding birds that visit feeders. We also discuss feeders and bird food that the students can make. Illustrative materials: feeders, seeds (some can be tasted by the students) and other foods, slides and identification poster. 
Science SOLs: K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9,1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8, 5.5, 6.8, 6.9

SPECIAL PROGRAM: The Monacans & Local Native Americans
Learn about the local Monacans and the relationship between the natural environment and their lifestyle. Examine numerous reproductions and artifacts to understand how ancient peoples met their daily needs for food, shelter, clothing and protection. Illustrative materials: map, taxidermied mount, artifacts and reproductions, pelts, and examples of weapons, foods and tools. 
Science SOLs: 1.5, 2.5, 3.6, 4.5, 4.8
Social Sciences SOLs:: 1.7, 2.3, 5.1

Spiders
They're not insects! How can we tell? Discussion of body structure and behavior of this common invertebrate includes web-making and predation. Illustrative materials: slides, spider molt, puppet and a live spider. 
Science SOLs: K.6, 1.5, 3.4

Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
The monarch butterfly is used for discussion of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Migration maps are used. Younger students role-play the monarch's metamorphosis. Illustrative materials: beautiful slides taken by naturalist/photographer, Ted Scott (a local Virginian), maps, toy caterpillars and other visuals. 
Science SOLs: K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 2.4, 2.7, 3.4

Adaptations for Survival in Virginia Animals
How do body forms enable animals to survive and feed themselves, defend themselves or find shelter? Includes examples of camouflage, mimicry and physical and behavioral adaptations. Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, skulls and pelts. 
Science SOLs: 1.5, 1.7, 2.7, 3.4, 4.5

Animals in Winter
What happens in the world of nature during winter months? Which creatures migrate, remain active, hibernate, become dormant or die? Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, pelts and pictures. 
Science SOLs: K.6, 1.5, 1.7, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4

The Rivanna River Food Web - A Fresh Water Ecosystem
What are some of the creatures that depend upon each other in healthy waterways in our area? Discussion includes macroinvertebrates (small animals without backbones), freshwater fish, frogs, turtles, water birds and aquatic mammals - from the bottom to the top of the food web. Illustrative materials: pictures, mounted specimens, shells, pelts and macroinvertebrates. 
Science SOLs: K.6, 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8, 5.5

Pass the Energy, Please! Predators, Prey, and Food Webs of Virginia
Who eats what or whom? Discussion of herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers and decomposers. The energy flow from producers to consumers is demonstrated in a class food pyramid game. Illustrative materials: taxidermied specimens, skulls, pictures for game. 
Science SOLs: 3.5, 3.6, 3.10, 4.5, 6.9

Dip into Our Watershed - Know Your Watershed Address
Our waterways are one of Virginia's natural resources. All the streams that flow into a river and drain a particular area form a watershed. Do you live in the Rivanna River watershed that is part of the James River watershed and also part of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed? Learn about watersheds, erosion, pollution and conservation. Illustrative materials: a watershed model, watershed maps and simulation of pollution. 
Science SOLs: 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8

Insects and Insect Pollinators
Insects have been important to us as pollinators (bees), protectors of our crops (ladybugs), providers of fabrics (silkworms) and dyes (chocchlea beetle), as medicines and foods (beetles in China and grubs in Africa), and as a threat to our health (mosquitoes and mealmoths). Discussion will cover topics such as pollination, insect life cycles and predator-prey relationships. Illustrative materials: specimens and replicas, posters and toy insects. 
Science SOLs: 2.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.10, 4.5, 5.5, 6.9

Camouflage
What is needed for survival? How can a creature hide in plain site? Do all types of creatures use camouflage? In this program students learn about six different types of camouflage and the ways all living things use them to survive. With many photos to supplement specimens, students are exposed to creatures from around the world. SOLs: K.6,1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5

Why is a Tail Shaped that Way
Different types of tails are the result of many years of evolution. The form (shape), function (job), habit (the way it is used), and habitat (the place the animal lives) are all connected. Students learn about specific types of tails and learn about Virginia animals in the process. Specimens and photographs are used. Groups can play the form and function game to test their analytical skills. SOLs: 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5

Endangered Species and Animals of Virginia
Why are some living things endangered? Students discuss the finite space and water on earth, the interconnection of living things, and the risks of increasing human population on habitats of our wild creatures. Learn about habitats in each of the five physiographic parts of Virginia, their rivers, vegetation, and how they have been affected by people. Students learn about the vulnerability of wild things through games, activities and discussion. SOLs: 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5

Who's for Dinner
With photographs and skulls, students learn about different predator and prey family groups: the cat and dog families, fish, insects, and birds. They will see some of the tools used in their survival: specialized beaks, claws and teeth, pelts, samples of camouflage and other strategies. Discussion features examples of all levels of the food web including herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, as well as scavengers. This presentation is based upon the 2004 Who's for Dinner exhibit at the Charlottesville branch of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. SOLs: K.6, 1.4, 1.5, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5

Flora and Fauna of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
What was out there? Who were the people there? Using specimens and photographs, discuss the habitats traversed by the expedition and learn about the animals and plants that were first seen by European eyes on the trip. Did Lewis and Clark have stores in which to buy the things they needed? Where did they find food, shelter, medicine, and clothing? Study the uses of the plants and animals. SOLs: 1.4, 1.5, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 4.5, 5.1

Oceans and Marine Science
Water, water, everywhere. How much can we use? The ocean is a fragile environment whose health is essential to our survival on land. How is our weather affected by the ocean temperature? Learn about endangered ocean creatures. Hold a wide variety of seashells. Play ocean trivia. SOLs 1.5, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.5

Constellations and Compasses: Navigation by Day and Night
Learn about navigation through the ages and the tools used by ancient explorers on land and water. Learn how to use the stars to find your way. How do we know where we are? Learn how to use a compass and follow a map. Learn how the first maps of the Louisiana territory were made by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Compass scavenger hunt weather, space, and time permitting. SOLs: 1.6, 4.7

Coastal Ecology. Where Did the Beach Come From?
We will discuss rocks, the weathering of the mountains, erosion, tracks of dinosaurs and fossil evidence of historic beaches far from the current coast. What wildlife lives at the beach? Discuss the coastal habitat and learn about endangered animals at the shore. Learn the benefit of wetlands. SOLs: 1.3, 3.7, 4.8, 5.7

Virginia's Natural Resources
The five geographical regions of our state provide important natural resources: clean air, forests, rivers, coastal areas, minerals, wildlife and rich agricultural land. Learn how people use these resources and how we affect their future availability. Illustrative materials will include examples of some of Virginia's natural resources, specimens and maps. Science SOLs: 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8, 5.6, 6.7, 6.9, 6.11

The Present and Future of the Chesapeake Bay
Focus on the Ecosystem of the Bay, our nation's largest estuary. Learn about the competing uses for this resource and ways people can help improve the Bay's future. SOLs: 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.4, 3.6, 3.9, 4.5, 4.8, 5.6, 5.7, 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, 6.7, 6.9


Adult Program Listings

Grizzly Bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park
Enjoy slides of Alaskan grizzlies and learn about this huge predator’s habits and methods of catching migrating salmon.

Spiders: A Valuable Inhabitant of Our Fields and Forests
View slides of many kinds of spiders. Learn about their physical and behavioral characteristics, and about the vital role spiders play on earth.

Metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly
Slide show – Part I - Enjoy beautiful slides of the life cycle of Monarch butterflies. Gorgeous pictures by Ted Scott, VA photographer & naturalist.

The Amazing Migration of the Monarch Butterfly
Slide Show – Part II – Enjoy beautiful slides and presentation about the over-wintering sanctuaries of the Monarch in the areas west of Mexico City. Learn about the migration route of this amazing insect.

Virginia Animals and Their Adaptations
How do our Virginia animals survive, feed themselves, defend themselves and find shelter? What special physical and behavioral features insure their survival? Mounted specimens, skulls, and pelts help us find out.

Animals in Winter
Some Virginia animals migrate; some hibernate; some remain active all winter here in Virginia; some even die. Mounted specimens, pelts to touch, and lots of illustrations help us understand our animals in wintertime.

The Rivanna River Food Web
Our Rivanna River flows into the James River and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Discover what creatures live in our fresh water, from the smallest to the largest. Mounted specimens and macroinvertebrates help us understand the food web.

The Monacans, Local Native Americans
Learn about the local Monacan Indians who still live in the Piedmont region of Virginia. Examine numerous reproductions and artifacts to understand how they met their daily needs for food, shelter, clothing and protection.

Know Your Watershed Address
Do you know what your watershed address is? Learn about watersheds of Virginia, erosion, point and non-point source pollution, and conservation of our precious water resources. A watershed model and map simulate the ways we pollute.

The World of Insects
Did you know that spiders are not insects? What distinguishes a moth from a butterfly? Learn about the lifecycles, characteristics and habitats of the fascinating and often delicate creatures that grace our fields, forests, gardens, and waterways.

Beavers, Nature's Architects
Find out about the fascinating world of our large, wet rodent! Few realize how amazing these animals are- and how important to other wildlife. A mounted beaver, skull, pelt, and video clips are part of the program.

Bats
These nocturnal animals are our only flying mammals. Learn about their special characteristics, their habitats, their foraging habits, their methods of raising young, and view several common Virginia bats. Bat specimens and slides illustrate the talk.

Fascinating Fossil
Using an illustrated timeline, we take a look back over a billion years into the past. We inspect evidence of life starting 500 million years ago in the Paleozoic and proceed through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras. Fossils of mollusks, arthropods and other marine invertebrates, fish, reptiles, mammals and plants will be available for inspection.

Feeding the Birds
Using slides, the presenter will discuss appropriate foods and feeders, as well as the challenges and many satisfactions of watching birds in Central Virginia.

Nocturnal Animals
Learn about a variety of fascinating adaptations that enable some animals who carry on all their life activities at night. Several Virginia animal specimens illustrate the talk.

Visit to Peru
Slide show, Part I – Join the speaker on her trip to Arequipa, a Spanish city south of Lima, and the nearby Cocha Canyon where the Andean condors live. Vicariously visit Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas outside of Cusco, a beautiful rich farming area, both then and now.

Visit to Peru
Slide show, Part II – Hike the 27 mile Inca Trail with the speaker. It terminates at Machu Pichu, the famous and mysterious Inca mountain retreat. Then follow her down the eastern side of the Andes Mountains to the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the largest protected rainforest area in Peru and home to many fascinating plants and animals.

Antarctica
A land of penguins, but not polar bears. Learn about the speaker’s 2003 visit to the Antarctica Peninsula where she encountered penguins and other birds, seals, dolphins, icebergs, the Southern Ocean and the magnificent landscape of this fascinating part of the globe. You will also hear about life on a small cruise ship and ponder some of the environmental issues that are of concern in this part of the world.

Bird Stories
Familiarize yourself with birds from the shore, marshes, woodlands and fields of Virginia. Hear about the speaker’s experience in the field as well as fascinating facts about bird diversity in the Commonwealth.

Be Not Terrified – Snakes of Virginia
Snakes are useful and mostly harmless creatures who help keep balance in the ecosystem. Learn about the varieties of snakes in Virginia and how to distinguish the venomous from the non-venomous ones.

Camouflage
What is needed for survival? How can a creature hide in plain site? Do all types of creatures use camouflage? Learn about six different types of camouflage and the ways all living things use them to survive. 

Why is a Tail Shaped that Way?
Different types of tails are the result of many years of evolution. The form (shape), function (job), habit (the way it is used), and habitat (the place the animal lives) are all connected. Learn about specific types of tails and learn about Virginia animals in the process.

Endangered Species and Animals of Virginia
Why are some living things endangered? Participants discuss the finite space and water on earth, the interconnection of living things, and the risks of increasing human population on habitats of our wild creatures. Learn about habitats in each of the five physiographic parts of Virginia, their rivers, vegetation, and how they have been affected by people. 

Who’s for Dinner?
With photographs and skulls, learn about different predator and prey family groups: the cat and dog families, fish, insects, and birds. See some of the tools used in their survival: specialized beaks, claws and teeth, pelts, samples of camouflage and other strategies. Discussion features examples of all levels of the food web including herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, as well as scavengers. This presentation is based upon the 2004 Who’s for Dinner exhibit at the Charlottesville branch of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Flora and Fauna of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
What was out there? Who were the people there? Using specimens and photographs, discuss the habitats traversed by the expedition and learn about the animals and plants that were first seen by European eyes on the trip. Where did Lewis and Clark find food, shelter, medicine, and clothing? Study the uses of the plants and animals.

Oceans and Marine Science
Water, water, everywhere. How much can we use? The ocean is a fragile environment whose health is essential to our survival on land. How is our weather affected by the ocean temperature? Learn about endangered ocean creatures. Hold a wide variety of seashells.

Constellations and Compasses: Navigation by Day and Night
Learn about navigation through the ages and the tools used by ancient explorers on land and water. Learn how to use the stars to find your way. How do we know where we are? Learn how to use a compass and follow a map.

Coastal Ecology. Where did the Beach Come From?
We will discuss rocks, the weathering of the mountains, erosion, tracks of dinosaurs and fossil evidence of historic beaches far from the current coast. What wildlife lives at the beach?

Virginia's Natural Resources
The five geographical regions of our state provide important natural resources: clean air, forests, rivers, coastal areas, minerals, wildlife and rich agricultural land. Learn how people use these resources and how we affect their future availability. 

The Present and Future of the Chesapeake Bay
Focus on the Ecosystem of the Bay, our nation's largest estuary. Learn about the competing uses for this resource and ways people can help improve the Bay's future. 

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