tree bark
image of Bishop Woods
trail in Bishop Wooods
flora of Bishop Woods
Dutchman
anemone in Hueston Woods
Shooting Star at Indian Creek Nature Preserve
skunk cabbage
spotted salamander at Indian Creek Nature Preserve
tulip poplar outside of Upham Hall, Oxford campus
spotted salamander egg mass at Indian Creek Nature Preserve
swamp milkweed
tulip poplar
anemone at Bishop Woods
wild onion at Bishop Woods

News and Events

Holiday Schedule:

The Hefner Museum will be closed the following dates: Wednesday, November 22 - Friday, November 24, December 25, 2017 - January 1, 2018.

Good news! You asked and we are doing it... Open Saturdays! We are open on the following Saturdays for your next visit: November 18, December 2, December 9, 2017. Bring your family and friends, or just yourself, and reconnect with the nature around you, even in your own backyards.

43rd Annual Hefner Lecture 2017!

Please Join Us for:
Dr. Sean B. Carroll - The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 7:30pm
Benton Hall rm 102

Do you ever wonder how our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean?This year's Hefner Lecture will feature Sean B. Carroll, an award-winning scientist, writer, educator, and executive producer, who will present two talks that address these and many other compelling questions in biology from genetics to ecology.

Dr. Carroll is vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Brave Genius, andRemarkable Creatures. For more information, see his website http://seanbcarroll.com/

Dr. Carroll is in such high demand that the format of his time on campus will be a bit different than usual. Both presentations will take place on Wednesday, October 18th. The academic seminar "Rattlesnake Tales" will begin at 4:15pm, Upham 001. That evening, join us at7:30pm in Benton 102 for his evening talk, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters.

The Museum will host receptions immediately following both talks in Upham 106 as a way to provide opportunities for informal and technical discussions. Any interested person is welcome at both events. We would be especially pleased to see students and whole classes along with community groups and families.

We thank our co-sponsors for their continued financial support of the Hefner Lecture. They include Miami Special Events Fund; Audubon Miami Valley; Hefner Family; Miami University's Departments of Biology, Geology & Environmental Earth Science, Microbiology, Geography, Anthropology, and Department of Biological Sciences, MU Regionals; Kinesiology; Graduate School; Honors and Scholars Program; Institute for the Environment and Sustainability; Project Dragonfly.

Hefner Museum of Natural History Semi-Annual Report:

July-May, 2017

The Hefner Museum serves the teaching and research missions of Miami University by working with students and professors of all disciplines and the community to draw connections between their own specialties and related issues of ecology and conservation biology. The opportunities inherent in a museum infrastructure promote unique learning, service, and skill development by students of all majors and forge a productive connection between the University and the public.

As always, our greatest success derives from our interactions with people: This year we have served more than 11,554 people, including 3,308 Miami students, 8,246 students, educators, and other members of the community. Highlights of our service include advising and material help for 6 graduate students, “client” role for a capstone project and a GIS class, advising for a club and an LLC, lectures for 25 Miami courses and 17 events, object loans to 40 classrooms, and a wide range of customized field trips and presentations.

Special projects have been diverse and wide reaching: A new collaboration with the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) developed programming in several areas. Two STEM Girls Day Out events involved 50 female faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from across campus in leading STEM activities to their research about human and planetary health. The Museum provided gallery lectures at the Da Vinci exhibit, is planning joint summer camps with CMC, and will soon host a CMC exhibit about backyard nature in the hallway leading to the Hefner galleries. The exhibit collaboration stimulated a partnership with OARS to develop a LEAN interactive campus map and arboretum project. Components of this partnership are being refined while database creation, in collaboration with IES, proceeds.

Through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund we hired two Miami students, have funded the creation of new loanable Discovery Trunks through the BIO 320 Early Childhood Environmental Educator Certification, and provided students with structured materials for their own classrooms. We are collaborators on another award through the Center for Chemistry Education (Hershberger), Writing and Inquiry Stories to Explore Science II. Several other grants are in preparation or were recently submitted.

The Museum accomplished many infrastructure upgrades: Using salvaged materials from the Pearson demolition, two laboratories were established, one for specimen digitization, imaging, and 3D modeling, another for specimen processing including taxidermy and fixation. Additional materials from the demolition were used throughout the Museum, along with space restructuring, to nearly triple storage capacity. A low-ceilinged storage room in Upham has been provided (and fully utilized) for non-collections objects. The Paul Daniel Classroom has been made digital-capable. A small dermestid colony has been established in Pearson and a larger skeleton prep room is being built at the ERC. The public galleries showcase updated security lighting and salvaged TVs that supplement exhibits. Four water emergencies occurred this year and seem to be resolved.

The most significant facility change resulted from the removal of buckled, 30 year-old wall-to-wall carpet. Museum staff were involved in most stages, completed over the course of 17 weeks, including the removal and subsequent re-installation of all objects and built-in structures from the galleries, as well as demolition and construction. This work makes the galleries easier to maintain, more attractive, and provides a foundation for new exhibits that students will build over the next several years.

New acquisitions include full-body mounts of a lion, 2 Siberian tigers, a Bengal tiger, 2 melanistic jaguars, a gemsbok, topi, leopard, heads of zebra and cape buffalo, and many frozen carcasses that will be evaluated for future processing by student taxidermists. Space restructuring gave us room for these additional specimens and for needed additions to our study skin collection, but we are now at capacity.

Upcoming projects include: Sean B. Carroll will speak at the 43rd Annual Hefner Lecture; Francis gallery signage will be overhauled incorporating universal design principles; BIO 320 will proceed with an expanded format; CCA 222 will be taught for the first time by the museum; and a big cat exhibit, featuring Olga, the snow leopard, will be initiated.

Volunteer, Catherine, is setting up the Ice Age exhibit, using mastadon and mammoth teeth.

Thanks to our great volunteers for helping to reinstall and create new exhibits. If you haven't been to the Hefner recently, you will be pleasantly surprised by its new facelift. Stop in and reconnect with nature...even the nature in your own backyard.

Hefner Lecture advertising poster featuring artwork of Steve Sullivan. A sea turtle swims in the ocean surrounded by jelly fish and trash. The information includes the date of the event as October 20, 2016 starting at 7:30 pm in Benton Hall room 102. Immediately following the lecture is a reception that takes place at Upham Hall room 106 at the Hefner Museum of Natural History. This event is free and open to the public. We thank the following co-sponsors for their continued support: Miami Special Events Fund; Audubon Miami Valley; Hefner Family; Miami University Departments of Biology, Geology & Environmental Earth Science, Microbiology, Geograph, Anthropology, and Department of Biological Sciences, MU Regionals; Graduate School; Honors and Scholars Program; Institute for the Environment and Sustainability; Project Dragonfly.

Mark your calendars for the 42nd annual Hefner Lecture 2016

Going with the flow? An animal's view of the ocean

Helen Bailey with leatherback sea turtle behind her as she crouches on the sand

Helen Bailey
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Marine animals spend most or all of their time underwater and are hidden from view. Over the last two decades, the development of new technologies to track and monitor these animals has created a "data deluge" and revolutionized our understanding of their movements and behaviors. Join us as Dr. Bailey discusses where, why and when fish, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins undergo migrations and how this could change in the future.

To learn more about Helen Bailey's work, see theUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Chesapeake Biological Laboratory website.

Hefner Lecture 2016
October 20, 7:30pm
Benton Hall, room 102
Oxford Campus

A reception will follow at the Hefner Museum, room 106 Upham Hall. Parking is available along the street and North Campus garage.
This event and the following reception are free and open to the public.

We thank our co-sponsors for their continued financial support of the Hefner Lecture. They include Miami Special Events Fund; Audubon Miami Valley; Hefner Family; Miami University's Departments of Biology, Geology & Environmental Earth Science, Microbiology, Geography, Anthropology, and Department of Biological Sciences, MU Regionals; Graduate School; Honors and Scholars Program; Institute for the Environment and Sustainability; Project Dragonfly.

Hefner Museum Welcomes New Director, Steve Sullivan

new director, Steve SullivanThe Robert A. Hefner Museum of Natural History announces its new director, Steven M. Sullivan. Steve's passion for museums as a teaching tool began at an early age. By high school, he had transformed his parent's basement into "Steve's Museum"—a place where local kids could come to learn about the nature in their neighborhood through examining the living and preserved specimens Steve had collected. At Brigham Young University, while majoring in zoology and conservation biology, Steve worked at the university's museum of natural history, volunteered at the museums of art and paleontology, and took courses through the museum of anthropology, learning more about the technical aspects of running a professional research and display institution.

Early in his career, Steve worked at the US Fish and Wildlife service monitoring bird populations, teaching teacher professional development classes, and creating exhibits. Later he managed the scientific collections at one of the oldest natural history institutions, the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Museum. As their senior curator of urban ecology, Steve worked with the exhibits department to develop permanent and touring exhibits, with the education department to develop lesson plans that brought specimens into the classroom and worked with the public to establish an authentic connection to the natural world around them. Steve’s goal in all that he does is, ”to help people realize their direct and indirect connections with the non-human world and to maximize local biodiversity while minimizing human/animal conflict.”

In addition to his broad museological training and experience, Steve brings to the Hefner—and to Miami University—a passion for collaboration with diverse disciplines to tell the exciting stories of nature to people of all ages and interests.