Museum News

  • Anna Chase (recipient of the first Museum Student Research Award) presented the May lunchtime seminar. Her topic was "Boise River Mollusk Survey." (May 6)

  •  Anna Chase (recipient of the first Museum Student Research Award) presented a poster about her research at The College of Idaho's Student Research Conference (April 29)

  • THE MUSEUM WELCOMES DIANE B. RICE as the new Museum assistant. She is a Colorado native. Museum work was her original professional goal. Diane describes herself as, "an itinerant traveler to prehistoric ruins, rocky spaces and historic buildings from Alaska to Guatemala; most recently visiting Italy and Wales to observe petroglyphs and castles. Former archeologist, museum curator, librarian, program coordinator, and cat of many hats, including mother, wife, and community volunteer."

  • Dr. Craig R. Baird Curator of Entomology) presented the April lunchtime seminar. His topic was, “Bees of the Northwest with an Update of the Bee Collection in Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History -- 2017" (April 1)

  • Dr. Donald W. Zaroban (Curator of Fishes) has agreed to serve as Collection Manager for Herpetology. He will continue in this position until a permanent Curator for the collection can be found (March 29)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave three presentations at the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello, Washington. A total of about 85 people attended the presentations (March 24)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) served as the Lead Judge for the Junior Division websites category for the state-wide National History Day competition. She also served as the Lead Judge for the Treasure Valley Regional competition.

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) gave a presentation about ants to students at the Foothill School in Boise. (February 21)

  • The Museum is a partner in a new chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists. The Chapter headquarters are at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. (March 5)

  • Dr. Gerald Smith (Curator of Fossil Fishes) presented the March lunchtime seminar. His topic was, "The Yellowstone Hotspot Track and Miocene Fish Distributions"

  • The Museum regrets to announce the passing of James T. (Jim) Wolcott. Jim was a long-time friend and volunteer of the Museum and had a long relationship with the College. He was especially interested and helpful with the Archaeology Collections and fund-raising. We will miss him!

  • Dr. Roger Long (Biology Department, The College of Idaho) presented the February lunchtime seminar. His topic was, "Effects of Grazing and Agriculture on Native Plant Communities in the Sagebrush Sea." More than 30 people attended the workday. They helped with the Archaeology, Entomology, Mammals, and Birds collections, the Evans Gem and Mineral Collections, the Library, and general Museum tasks. (February 4)

  • Applications are open for the paid position of Museum Assistant. Click here for a position description, qualifications, and application information.

  • Students at The College of Idaho worked closely with Museum specimens to create digital projects in a First-Year Seminar course "On Noticing" during the Fall, 2016 semester. The class was led by Prof. Rochelle Johnson, a member of the Museum's Board of Directors. To see their projects, click on the "Student Digital Projects" label to the right of the leopard photo on the Museum home page. Or, click here to view the projects. (January 19)

  • Dr. Barbara Ertter (Research Associate and Chair of the Museum's Board of Directors) presented the first lunchtime seminar of 2017 at the January, 2017, workday. Her topic was: "Western Canada Transect: Prairies to the Pacific." (January 7)

  • 2016 events

  • A paper by William H. Clark (Museum Director) and Richard Salisbury (Associate Curator of Mollusca) on land snails from Baja California was recently published. Complete citation information is: William H. Clark and Richard Salisbury, New Land Snail Records for Baja California Sur, Mexico, Conchylia 47 (3-4), December 2016, 59-64. Contact Bill Clark if you would like a copy.

  • Frozen pipes in Boone Hall caused flooding in the Museum. Damage was greatly reduced by earlier activities involving moving documents to the library, but is still being assessed. (December 16, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) has been asked to join the Art Exhibit Committee for Boise's new convention center. 

  • Eighteen second- and third-grade students and five adults from Riverstone International School toured the Museum. Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) talked to them about how the ancient Egyptians prepared for the afterlife and some of the artifacts they believed would accompany them into the afterlife. (December 13, 2016)

  • Caymen Dansby, a student at Union High School, began an internship at the Museum. He plans to spend 2 days a week at the Museum, helping a number of Museum curators and researchers while he learns about curation and other aspects of Museum work. The internship will probably extend through May, 2017. (December 6, 2016)

  • A new booklet on development opportunities to help the Museum become a world-class resource is now available. Copies can be downloaded from the "Support the Museum" link on the Museum home page (to the right of the leopard photo). (December 3, 2016)

  • Dr. Kari Prassack (Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument) presented the lunchtime seminar at the December workday. Her topic was: 300,000th Generation Idahoan: the fossil record of some of Idaho's "pests" (December 2, 2016)

  • Students from a physical science class at Vale Oregon High School toured the Museum. Nate Carpenter, Howard Emry, Steve Bouffard, Billie Farley, and Geri Van Curen assisted with the tour. (November 30, 2016)

  • Bill Clark, The College of Idaho, and the Museum were cited in a recently published book for "substantial" assistance in providing specimens of aquatic leeches. Citation information for the book is: Peter Hovingh, "A natural history of leech (Annelida: Clitellata: Hirudinida) distributions in western North America north of Mexico," published by Peter Hovingh, November, 2016.

  •  The Museum Gift Shop held its first Christmas Sale. All purchases from November 25 through December 23 received 10% discount.

  • A group of 25 people from Nampa Recreation Center toured the Museum. (November 17)

  • A paper by Dr. Julia Sankey (Research Associate and Member of the Museum Board of Directors) and colleagues has been published in PaleoBios (the official publication of the University of California Museum of Paleontology). The paper addresses the occurrence and relationships between fossils of a giant, spike-toothed salmon from California. The complete citation is: Julia Sankey, Jacob Biewer, Francisco Palacios, Hugh Wagner, and Dennis Garber, "The giant, spike-toothed salmon, Oncorhynchus rastrosus and the "Proto-Tuolumne River" (early Pliocene) of Central California. PaleoBios 33, 1-16 (2016). Click here for a link to the paper. (November 14)

  • Teresa Tarifa (Research Associate, Mammals) presented the lunchtime seminar at the November workday. Her topic was, "The Andean hairy armadillo:  Current knowledge, cultural importance and conservation challenges." (November 5)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) presented a Community Learning class for The College of Idaho. The class topic was, "Archaeology of a Tomb, The Tomb of Tutankhamen KV62." The class will probably be repeated next spring. Click here to read the class announcement from Boise Weekly. (November 3)

  • The Museum was open all day Friday and Saturday for The College of Idaho's Family Weekend. (October 28-29)

  • The Museum and John Ottenhoff (The College of Idaho's Vice President for Academic Affairs) hosted a wine and cheese reception for faculty and staff of The College of Idaho at the Museum. (October 28)

  • Nathan E. Carpenter (Curator of Paleontology, Research Associate, and Curator of the Evans Gem and Mineral Collections) and Dr. Gerald Smith (Curator of Fossil Fishes) presented a poster entitled "The Yellowstone Hot Spot and Freshwater Fish Evolution" at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. (October 27)

  • Dr. Julia Sankey (Research Associate) presented a poster entitled, "Did the giant, tusk-toothed salmon (Oncorynchus rastrosus) morph before migration upriver like modern salmon do today?" at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Her co-authors were Jacob Biewer, Janis Basuga, and Francisco Palacios. (October 27)

  • The Museum Board held an all-day retreat, with visits by Charlotte Borst (President of The College of Idaho) and John Ottenhoff (Vice President for Academic Affairs). Focus areas included developing a closer relationship between The College and the Museum, fund-raising for the Museum, and long-term planning. (October 10)

  • Night at the Museum 2016 was a gala event hosted by the Museum as part of The College of Idaho's Homecoming celebration. Features included an address by Dr. Charlotte Borst (President of The College of Idaho), a lecture by Dr. Julia Sankey (Research Associate and Member of the Museum's Board of Directors) on "Giant, spiked-tooth salmon, Galapagos-sized tortoises, and other extinct wildlife of Central California), presentation of the Museum's Volunteer of the Year Award to Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology), and a reception at the Museum that included the first public exhibit of the Evans Gem and Mineral Collection after its move to the Museum. More than 70 people attended! (October 7, 2016)

  • Dr. Gerald Smith (Curator of Fossil Fishes) was at the Museum the week of October 1 to work with Dr. Donald Zaroban (Curator of Fishes). Dr. Dawn Janney (webmistress) was also at the Museum the week of October 1, working with the Evans Gem and Mineral Collection.

  • THE MUSEUM STORE IS ON-LINE! Click the "Museum Store" link to the right of the leopard photo on the Museum's home page to make purchases on-line. (October 1, 2016)

  • Dr. Eric Yensen (Curator of Mammals) presented the lunchtime seminar at the October workday. The title of his presentation was, "Idaho ground squirrel translocation." (October 1, 2016)

  • Steve Lysne (Curator of Mollusca) has resigned his position at the Museum. Please contact the Museum Director (Bill Clark) if you are interested in filling the position. (September 16, 2016)

  • Ashley Rohde (United States Geological Survey) presented the lunchtime seminar at the September workday. The title of her presentation was, "Insect community response to disturbance and altered habitat in sagebrush ecosystems." (September 10, 2016)

  • The Museum welcomes CofI student Will Callahan as the first Student Member of the Board of Directors! (September 16, 2016)

  • The Museum and the Idaho Botanical Garden co-sponsored "Bug Day." This "entomological extravaganza" is an annual event in celebration of "bugs." Family-friendly events included the opportunity to earn a "certificate in bugology," several ladybug releases, and an ask-an-entomologist table where Museum staff members answer questions from the public. The event was attended by more than 1000 people. (August 20, 2016)

  • Progress on moving the Evans Gem and Mineral Collection to the Museum continues. The College installed new electrical connections and lighting fixtures, and 21 volunteers helped pack specimens and movie exhibit cases as part of the monthly Museum Workday (August 6, 2016). Further help from volunteers is still needed.

  • Dr. Pat Fields presented the lunchtime seminar at the August 6 Museum Workday. The title of his presentation was, "A Costa Rica Adventure." Dr. Fields recently led a field trip for students from Olivet College, where he is an Associate Professor of Biology (August 6, 2016)

  • Dr. Dennis Feeney and Dr. Rene Breedlovestout (United States Geological Survey) visited the Museum to work with fossil collections (and donate a few specimens). (July 31 - August 1, 2016)

  • Long-tine Museum volunteer (and constructor of insect cabinets) Hal Hampel passed away. Memorial services were on August 1.

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds), Al Schneider (Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired), and Susan Norton (Golden Eagle Audubon Society) led a "feel and tell" session for an audience of about 20 children and adults at a BELL (Braill Education Learning and Literacy) training session. The session involved listening to recordings of songs of local birds, touching bird specimens, and a short lecture. BELL is sponsored by the National Federation for the Blind and supported by the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (July 25, 2016)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) and Al Schneider (Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired) were interviewed by Jamie Talan of Inspiration Radio (94.1) about birding programs for visually impaired participants. (July 22, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) began participation in an archaeological investigation at the Boise VA Hospital (formerly Fort Boise). The project is hosted by Mark Warner of the University of Idaho, and will continue until August 6. Click here for more information about the project. (July 20, 2016)

  • Nate Carpenter has been appointed the new Curator of the Evans Gem and Mineral Collection, including the Vandeventer Collection. He will continue his existing positions as Curator of and Research Associate of Paleontology. (July 17, 2016)

  • Dr. Rolf L. Aalbu, Entomologist, California Academy of Sciences, spent last Friday and Saturday in the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History, working with the beetle family Tenebrionidae (Darkling Beetles) with Dr. Al Gillogly (Museum Curator of Beetles) and Museum Director, William H. Clark.  Rolf accomplished many tasks including the identification of thousands of beetles (15+ California Academy of Science insect drawers of volume).  Rolf found at least one species new to science (and perhaps more) in the collection, which he termed “the largest collection of arthropods/insects from Baja California, Mexico, in the world.”  The collection is used by researchers world-wide. (July 16 and 17, 2016)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave a presentation on his trip to see wintering cranes in China for the Southwest Idaho Birders Association. (July 14, 2016)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) led a birding field trip for the Boise Chapter of the Association for the Blind (July 13, 2016)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) presented the lunchtime seminar at the July 9 Museum Workday. His presentation emphasized rare butterflies seen on the Annual 4th of July Butterfly Counts, which the Museum has sponsored for the past 26 years. The presentation was followed by a workshop on butterfly identification in preparation for this year's butterfly count.

  • Stephanie Shank (Curator of Entomology) gave a presentation on "Collecting Microlepidoptera in Baja California, Mexico" at the first North American Microlepidopterists' Meeting (at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver, Colorado). (July 5, 2016)

  • Annual reports for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 are available on-line. Click here (or on the Annual Reports link to the right of the leopard on the Museum's home page) to download your copies.

  • The Orma J. Smith Museum and Idaho Botanical Garden co-sponsored a day-long "Bees and Blooms" workshop. Activities included observations of bees, information about bee-friendly plants and gardens, and an opportunity to learn about bee identification.Dr. Ron Bitner (Research Associate of Entomology and member of the Museum's Board of Directors), Dr. Craig Baird (Curator of Entomology), and Dr. Barbara Ertter (Research Associate and Chair of the Museum's Board of Directors) were instructors. (June 25, 2016)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) led a birding field trip for the Boise Chapter of the National Federation for the Blind. (June 13, 2016)

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) presented the lunchtime seminar at the June 4 Museum Workday. His topic was "Biodiversity Survey Inside the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve in Baja California Sur, Mexico: the Los Cardones Project." Attendees included participants in a College of Idaho admissions tour. (June 4, 2016)

  • Dr. Luc LeBlanc, the new Collections Manager/Curator of the William F. Barr Entomological Museum at the University of Idaho in Moscow, visited the Orma J. Smith Museum for two days. Dr. LeBlanc worked with our staff and brought entomological literature for our library. He also made a YouTube video of a tour by Orma J. Smith Museum Director Bill Clark (click here to see the video). We look forward to further collaboration with Dr. LeBlanc in future. (June 4, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) participated in the Math and Science Summer Institute (MASSI), a week-long event co-sponsored by The College of Idaho and the Caldwell School District. MASSI is for seventh and eighth graders, and is intended to encourage them to take math and science courses in high school and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Click here for more information. (June 1-5, 2016)

  • The Museum welcomes a new member of the Board of Directors: Dr. Rochelle L. Johnson. Dr. Johnson is a professor of English and Environmental Studies at The College of Idaho. Click here to visit her web page. (May 27, 2016)

  • The Museum was open the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, for graduation. (May 21, 2016)

  • The Museum was featured in an article in Idaho Press Tribune on May 4, 2016. Click here to read the story, which includes comments by Bill Clark (Museum Director) and Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology).

  • David Valentine (Idaho Power Company) presented the lunchtime seminar at the May 7 Museum Workday. His topic was, "Power to the People’s Pumps: History and Archaeology of High-Lift Pumping.” This talk was an event for Idaho Archaeology Month.

  • The Museum was open on Saturday, April 23, for National History Day.

  • The Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America accepted a paper by Ralph Stearley (Research Associate of Paleontology), Gerald Smith (Curator of Fossil Fishes), and Nate Carpenter (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate) for presentation at their Annual Meeting in Moscow, Idaho, in May, 2016. The presentation describes a highly diversified assemblage of fossil fishes from the western Snake River Plain. Click here to see the abstract.

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave a talk on bird identification by sight and sound at the Foothills Learning Center in Boise. The talk was followed by a short bird walk. (April 6, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) was interviewed by Revolution Radio at Freedomslips.com (an internet-based talk-radio station) about her work in Egypt. The interview also discusses an unusual Zuni artifact in the Museum collections and Jan's recent publications. Click here to hear the interview. Jan's section starts about 2 and a half minutes into the recording and extends for almost an hour. (April 4, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) presented the lunchtime seminar at the April 2 Museum Workday. Her topic was, "History, Archaeology & Recent Theory of KV 62, The Tomb of Tutankhamun and recap of my work with TT209 – Proyecto dos cero nueve; La Laguna University, Spain." 

  • Nate Carpenter (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate) gave a talk at the Annual Meeting and Symposium of the Idaho Academy of Science and Engineering. The title of the talk was "Review of Neogene Formations of the Western Snake River Plain, USA." It involved work done with Dr. Gerald Smith  (Curator of Fossil Fishes). The talk summarized the history of geological exploration and current geological terminology for the area, and suggested changes. (April 1, 2016)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave two talks at the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello, Washington. One talk was about the evolution of birds, feathers, and flight. The other was about monitoring albatross nest numbers on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. (March 19, 2016)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) was the lead judge for a regional competition for National History Day in Boise. This year's theme is "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange." Winners at the regional level participate in a state-wide competition, and state-wide winners compete in a national competition in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information on National History Day. (March 9, 2016)

  • Dr. Ron Bitner (Research Associate of Entomology and Member of the Museum Board of Directors) received the 2016 Governor's Award for Excellence in Technical Innovation. His is looking at ways to improve bee pollination in agricultural crops and using drones to monitor the health of plants in his vineyard. (March 5, 2016)

  • A paper by Dr. Barbara Ertter (Chair of the Museum Board of Directors) and Sonia Nostratinia has just been published. The paper reports a new plant variety identified in the Boise area and emphasizes the urgent need for protection from real-estate development and invasive species. The full citation is: Barbara Ertter and Sonia Nostratinia (2016), "A new variety of Abronia mellifera (Nyctaginaceae) of conservation concern in southwestern Idaho," Phytoneuron 2016-20:1-4, published March 3, 2016.

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave a talk for the Golden Eagle Audubon Society about birding crane wintering areas in China. About 455 people attended.

  • A paper by Richard L. Westcott and Bill Clark (Museum Director) has just been published. The paper reports a new collection of a beetle species from Baja California, verifying an 1894 identification that could not be confirmed because of a lack of specimens in Museums. The full citation is: Richard L. Westcott and William H. Clark (2015), "Chrysobothris lixa Horn, 1886 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) confirmed in Baja California, Mexico and newly recorded for New Mexico, U.S.A., with other notes on the species and the historical locality Catalina Springs,"  Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 91(4):352-355.  

  • Ashley Rohde (United States Geological Survey) began working with Dr. Craig Baird (Curator of Entomology). She will be learning bee identification and assisting with other bee-related activities.

  • Applications for Museum Student Research Grants are available. Each grant provides $500 for a student to work with a Museum Curator on a research project using Museum collections. Thanks to Julia Sankey (a new Research Associate) for starting this program! Click here for an application form and more information. (February 8, 2016)

  • Stephanie Shank (Curator of Entomology) has donated a CAS insect case to the Museum. It has been set up in the entomology area. (February 8, 2016)

  • The Evans Gem and Mineral Collection will be moving to the Museum. Watch this website and the Museum's Facebook page for updates!

  • The Museum Gift Shop has a variety of items with the new Museum logo. Come check them out! (February 8, 2016)

  • The Museum was included on Best College Review's list of the "30 Most Amazing Higher Education Natural History Museums!" Click here to see why (and to learn about some of the other incredible museums on the list).

  • Barry Bean (Idaho Power) worked with Richard Salisbury (Associate Curator of Mollusca) to identify snails from the Snake River Plain. (January 11, 2016)

  • The Museum has changed its Facebook page. Click here to see the new page. Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) is the Administrator. (January 10, 2016)

  • Shiann Jones (Boise State University) presented the January research seminar. Her topic was, "Interdisciplinary approaches to history: How STEM fields impact historical research." (January 9, 2016)

  • Water leaked into several areas of the Museum as a result of frozen pipes in Boone Hall. Damage is currently being assessed. (January 3, 2016)

  • 2015 events

  • An article by Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) was featured on the cover of the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Ancient Egypt magazine. The article, entitled "The Last Coffin," discusses recent research indicating that there may be a second royal tomb underneath King Tutankhamun's. (December 27, 2015)

  • Dr. Alan Gilllogly (Curator of Entomology) and Dr. David Ward, Jr., presented the December research seminar. Their topic was, "Scarabaeoidology in Colombia."

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) has begun work as part of an interdisciplinary expedition to assess the biodiversity of the site of a proposed open-pit gold mine in the mountains south of La Paz, Baja California. He will be joined by entomologists from the San Diego Museum of Natural History and from Mexico City. Other team members include vertebrate biologists, botanists, and conservation biologists. (November 27, 2015)

  • Dr. James Strange (a Research Entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah) visited the Museum to see the Museum's bee collections and for discussions with Dr. Craig Baird (Curator of Entomology) and Dr. Ron Bitner (Research Associate of Entomology and member of the Museum's Board of Directors). (November 27, 2015)

  • The Museum welcomes a new Research Associate, Dr. Julia Sankey. Dr. Sankey is a vertebrate paleontologist and faculty member at California State University, Stanislaus. She recently instituted a program to provide small grants to students who want to use Museum collections in their research. (See October 3 news.) Click here to learn more about Dr. Sankey's background and interests. (November 23, 2015)

  • Dr. David H. Greegor, Jr. is no longer a Curator of Herpetology, but remains as a Research Associate. The position of Curator of Herpetology is now vacant. (November 23, 2015)

  • Dr. Eric Yensen (Museum Board Member and Curator of Mammals) presented the research seminar at the November volunteer work day. His topic was, "Collapse of the Sagebrush-Steppe Ecosystem." (November 7, 2015)

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) and Dr. Al Gillogly (Curator of Entomology) were featured on Idaho Public Television's "Science Trek" program, where they answered questions that were "bugging" local school children. The program was filmed in the Museum, and features photos of the entomology collections. Click here to watch the program. (October 20, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) wrote about her experiences with Egyptian archaeology for the Boise Statesman newspaper. Click here to find out what it's like for an American to work as an archaeologist in modern Egypt, and what Jan thinks may be "the biggest discovery in Egypt since 1922." (October 10, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) wrote an article for the most recent issue of Ancient American magazine summarizing the Egyptology research project she participated in last summer. In the same issue, she was also a member of an expert panel assessing a possibly Egyptian scarab found in Colorado.

  • Dr. Paul Blom (Research Associate of Entomology), Dr. Dave Ward (General Entomology), and Bill Clark (Museum Director) are working to develop a searchable database for the Museum's collections, assisted by Stephanie Shank (Curator of Entomology) and Dr. Don Zaroban (Curator of Fishes). This project builds on an earlier workshop by Dr. Andy Bentley (SPECIFY Project and University of Kansas).

  • Congratulations to Museum Director Bill Clark! After many years of volunteer service, he was recognized as an official member of the administration of The College of Idaho. He will receive a small honorarium. (October 4, 2015)

  • Dr. Julia Sankey initiated a program to provide small grants to fund student research using Museum collections. Students will be expected to work closely with Museum curators. Other details will be provided as they become available. (October 3, 2015)

  • The Museum has a new logo! (September 29, 2015)

  • The Museum was open for Founders Day, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of The College of Idaho (October 8 and 9, 2015)

  • Dr. Craig Baird (Curator of Entomology) began cooperative research on bees with Dr. Karen Wright from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Wright will provide assistance with identification of bee specimens.

  • The annual Night at the Museum event (part of The College of Idaho's celebration of Homecoming 2015) featured an introduction by Dr. Charlotte Borst (President of The College of Idaho), a talk by Dr. Ron Bitner(Board Member and Research Associate of Entomology) on "Adventures of a College of Idaho Bee Biologist," and presentation of awards to Dr. Alan Gillogly (Volunteer of the Year), Dr. James Ryan (Volunteer of the Year), Bill Belknap (Faithful Museum Advocate), and the Houston and Clark Families (Legacy Award). Click here for more information. (September 18, 2015)

  • Cyndy Bratz (Bratz Environmental Engineering) presented the research seminar at the September volunteer work day. Her topic was "Climate Change Impacts, Global and Local." (September 12, 2015)

  • Dr. Barbara Ertter (Member of the Board of Directors and Research Associate) and Dr. Patrick Fields (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate in Paleobotany) were featured in McCall's Star-News  newspaper for their recent discovery of sixteen-million-year-old plant fossils in Ponderosa State Park. An exhibition of the fossils at the Park is planned. (September 10, 2015)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) was interviewed live for Ray Brown's "Talkin Birds" program on WROL Radio (Boston). You can hear the interview on the Talkin' Birds archive, www.talkinbirds.com/archive, show # 540. Steve's interview is part of a section on birding for the blind, which is between minutes 9 and 18 of the program. (September 6, 2015)

  • An article about Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) and her archaeological work in Egypt appeared in the The College of Idaho newsletter. Click here to see the article. (September 4, 2015)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) was interviewed for an article in Audubon Magazine. (Audubon is the magazine of the National Audubon Society, and has a circulation of more than 430,000.) Watch the Museum website for information about when the article will appear. (September 3, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) was interviewed live on “Elemental Idaho,” a weekly program on Radio Boise (KRBX) dealing with environmental issues affecting Idaho. The broadcast dealt with the current Japanese Beetle infestation in Boise and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s efforts to eradicate the pest. Click here to listen to an archived version of the program. (September 2, 2015)

  • Billie Farley (member of the Board of Directors) started a new Facebook page for the Museum. (September 1, 2015)

  • Dr. Ralph Stearley (Research Associate of Paleontology) and Nate Carpenter (Curator of Paleontology) began a week of field research in the Cassia Mountains of southern Idaho. Their work emphasized collection of plant fossils from the Goose Creek Basin sediments. They also collected samples to be analyzed for detrital zircons, which will be used to date the fossils. (August 25, 2015)

  • The Museum co-sponsored "Bug Day," an annual event dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of “bugs.” Special features included family-friendly entomological activities, the Museum’s reference collections and other displays, and the opportunity to ask Museum curators bug-related questions at the “Ask an Entomologist” table. Click here for more information. (August 22, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) was featured in the Boise Statesman newspaper for his work on entomology, including his contributions to Museum collections. Click here to see the on-line version of the Statesman's article. (August 22, 2015)

  • Joan Cartan-Hansen and an Idaho Public Television film crew spent the day at the Museum filming and interviewing Bill Clark (Museum Director) and Al Gillogly (Curator of Coleoptera) in preparation for an episode of Idaho Public Television's Science Trek series (hosted and produced by Cartan-Hansen). The program is scheduled to air on October 20 at 2 pm. Click here for more information. (August 19, 2015)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) was interviewed on National Public Radio! Click here to hear the interview and learn how Bouffard shows that there is more to "birding" than "bird watching!" (August 11, 2015)

  • Dr. Pat Fields (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate of Paleobotany) presented the research seminar at the August work day. His topic was “A new Fossil Flora from the Middle of Payette Lake.” (August 1, 2015)

  • The Museum welcomes a new Research Associate of Paleontology: Dr. Ralph Stearley, a Professor of Geology at Calvin College. Dr. Stearley has extensive research experience in the western Snake River Plain, and has volunteered with the Museum for several years. His research interests include the Late Cenozoic biogeographic history of the western U.S. fish fauna, and especially the historical development of salmonid ecosystems. Click here for more information about Dr. Stearley. (July 31, 2015)

  • Mary Caitlin Indart (a Student Assistant at the Museum for a number of years) is beginning her studies at the University of Utah Medical School. Her primary tasks at the Museum involved curation of insect and other invertebrates from Baja California, Mexico. The Medical School credited her work in the Museum as showing fine detail work and manual dexterity. The Museum will miss Caitlin and wish her the best with her future school and work. (July 31, 2015)

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) and Dr. Dave Ward (General Entomology) gave a tour of the Museum to about 40 students from the Flathead Reservation in Montana. The students, who have just graduated from high school, visited The College of Idaho as part of a tour of the Pacific Northwest to help them learn about possible colleges to attend. (July 31, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) led the 25th Annual Boise Front 4th of July Butterfly Count. Thirty one volunteers identified 44 butterfly species, which will be reported to the North American Butterfly Association. Click here for more information. (July 12, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) presented the research seminar at the July work day. His topic was "Selected topics on Idaho butterflies." Dr. Castrovillo also presented a workshop on butterfly identification in preparation for the butterfly count on July 12. (July 11, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) spoke to children about "bugs" as part of a program intended to cultivate respect and awareness of the "urban forest." The program was sponsored by the City of Kuna. (July 6 and 9, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) has begun fieldwork as part of a Spanish team working on a project called "The Archaeological Mission of the University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Island) Spain for the study and restoration of Tomb TT 209, Luxor, Egypt." This tomb was first reported in 1904, but then became lost until it was rediscovered in 2012. Click here for the official project website (in Spanish) and here to follow the excavation on its Facebook page (in English). (June 29, 2015)

  • Kent Fothergill (Museum Volunteer) and co-author George G. Sims have just published a paper in The Coleopterists Bulletin on “Recent occurrences of Nitidula flavomaculata Rossi (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) in the interior of the United States.”  The paper discusses a species of non-native beetle imported from thet Mediterranean region. The first known examples of this species in southern Idaho are in the Museum collections. (June 18, 2015)

  • Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter proclaimed June 15-21 as State Pollinator Week to recognize the importance of pollinator species such as birds and insects. Museum Board of Directors member and Research Associate Dr. Ron Bitner was influential in persuading the Governor to sign the proclamation. (June 15, 2015)

  • BioBlitz 2015: Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera), William and Mary Clark, Stephanie Shank, and Dr. James Ryan helped Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge celebrate biodiversity with two days of family-friendly activities attended by about 200 people! On Friday, visitors joined staff members to catalog as many species of living things as possible. Saturday exhibits included live birds of prey, exhibits from wildlife-related organizations throughout the state of Idaho, and crafts and activities for kids. (June 12-13, 2015)

  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game asked for assistance in reviewing the available information about the conservation status of Idaho's invertebrate animals. Steve Lysne (Curator of Mollusca) coordinated information provided by Museum scientists. (June 8, 2015)

  • Nathan E. Carpenter (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate) presented the research seminar at the June work day. His topic was "35 million years of beaver evolution and climate change with a special emphasis on the Pacific northwest."  (June 6, 2015).

  • Stephen Bouffard (Curator of Birds) led two field trips along a section of the Boise Greenbelt near Veterans Memorial Park. One field trip was for students in a training class from the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and one was for the Boise Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. Members of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society helped with the field trips. Participants identified birds entirely by sound. (May 26-30, 2015)

  • Dr. Chris Looney, Entomologist from the Washington Department of Agriculture in Olympia, visited the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History to work with the Museum's collection of Hymenoptera (Symphyta, sawflies). The visit was hosted by Bill Clark (Museum Director and Curator of Entomology) and Dr. Alan Gillogly (Curator of Coleoptera). (May 19, 2015)

  • The Museum congratulates Simon Boycott, Sarah de Leon, Krista Fennell, Alexandria Hickle, Courtney Indart, Alexandra Knoblock, and Natalie Sousa on their graduation from The College of Idaho. These students have worked with us as interns, work study students, research assistants, and/or as volunteers. We thank them for their work and dedication, and we wish them success in future endeavors. The Museum was open to celebrate Commencement. (May 16, 2015)

  • College of Idaho student Sarah Walsh was awarded a grant from the Northwest Scientific Association to carry out research on the genetics of redband trout. Seventy three proposals were submitted, but only ten received funding. She will work with College of Idaho Biology Professor Chris Walser, an Associate Curator of Fishes and Chair of the Board of Directors at the Orma J. Smith Museum. (Click here for more information.)

  • Howard Emry (Curator of Paleontology) gave a talk on Idaho's Tempskya (an extinct genus of tree-like fern that lived during the Cretaceous period, which lasted from ~145.5 to 65.5 million years ago) as part of Idaho Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month. This talk was also the research seminar at the May work day. (May 2, 2015)

  • Stephen Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave a presentation about bird song to the Boise Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho (April 28, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) gave a lecture on Egyptology to 37 sixth-grade students and teachers from Idaho City as part of their World Studies class (April 24, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) judged the State National History Day Competition, which was sponsored by the Idaho State Historical Society and held at The College of Idaho. The competition is intended to encourage students' interest in history and help them develop research and presentation skills. It involved more than 300 Idaho students from grades 4-12, all of whom had qualified for the competition by placing in one of six regional competitions earlier in the year. Click here for more information on the competition. (April 11, 2015)

  • Ben Simko (Oregon State University) presented the research seminar at the April work day. His topic was "Biodiversity of ground-dwelling spiders in a Boise River riparian habitat." (April 4, 2015)

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director and Curator of Entomology) presented his research on a previously unknown association between ants and beetles at the Annual Meeting of the Idaho Academy of Science and Engineering in Boise. Dr. Paul Blom (Curator of Entomology) and Professor Paul J. Johnson (South Dakota State University) are co-authors of the presentation. (March 19-21, 2015)

  • Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) judged the South Western Regional History Day Competition, which was held at the Idaho Arts Charter School in Nampa. Students who placed in this competition could participate in the state-wide competition, also judged by Jan Summers Duffy. For more information, see Museum News entry for April 11. (March 14, 2015)

  • Dr. Patrick Fields (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate in Paleobotany) presented a paper on "Preliminary report of a new middle Miocene megafossil flora from Paddock Valley, Washington County, Idaho" at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, & Letters. Howard Emry (Curator of Paleontology) was a co-author of the paper. (March 13, 2015)

  • Dr. Richard Whitten (University of Costa Rica) presented the research seminar at the March work day. His topic was "Tropical arthropods: big, bizarre, and beautiful." (March 7, 2015)

  • Members of the Sagebrush Steppe Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists (a program of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game) visited the Museum as part of their training program. (March 7, 2015)

  • "38 Minus: The Idaho Fish Project" exhibit opened in Rosenthal Gallery. The exhibit features paper sculptures of Idaho's native fishes by Idaho artist Lonnie Hutson. It's appearance in at the College was co-sponsored by the Museum. Mr. Hutson gave a talk at the opening reception on March 5. Click here for more information. (February 23, 2015)

  • The Museum had a table at The College of Idaho's 2015 Scholarship Gala,sponsored by U.S. Bank, Caxton, Hawley Troxell, DB Fitzpatrick, Title One, and ZGA. Previous years' Scholarship Galas have raised more than $160,000 for scholarships to The College of Idaho. Click here for more information. (February 20, 2015)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) presented the research seminar at the February work day. His topic was "Idaho State Department of Agriculture's war on invasive insects." (February 7, 2015)

  • Bill Clark (Museum Director) was the Keynote Speaker at the opening session of the 25th Annual Water Quality Workshop, which was introduced by Don Zaroban (Curator of Fishes). The workshop is an annual event hosted by Boise State University-Biology Department, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, US Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Power Company, US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Electronic Data Solutions, and HACH Hydromet. Click here for more information, including an abstract of Clark's talk. (February 3, 2015)

  • Climate-change research by Dr. David H. Greegor, Jr.(Research Associate and Curator of Herpetology) was featured in The College of Idaho newsletter. The article on Dr. Greegor's research also mentioned earlier work by Jack Cafferty (Director of Development and member of the Museum's Board of Directors). Click here to see a copy of the College newsletter. (January 23, 2015)

  • Idaho Business Review announced that Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) has been invited to join an archaeological expedition in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Click here to see the announcement. (January 12, 2015)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) presented the research seminar at the January work day. His topic was "Pterosaurs - Flying reptiles." (January 3, 2015)

  • 2014 Events

  • Steve Lysne (Curator of Mullusca) and two groups of students from College of Western Idaho visited the Museum. (December 8 and 10, 2014)

  • Dr. Jack Schuster (an entomologist and faculty member at La Universidad del Valle de Guatemala in Guatemala City, Guatemala) visited Dr. Al Gillogly (Curator of Entomology) and identified some of the parasitic wasps in the Museum collections. (December, 2014)

  • Cynthia L. Bratz (Bratz Environmental Engineering) presented the research seminar at the December volunteer work day. Her topic was "State of the climate: Current scientific understanding on climate change." (December 6, 2014)

  • Dr. Andy Bentley (SPECIFY Project and University of Kansas) trained curators and staff members from the Museum on the SPECIFY database. This database was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation to help natural science museums manage their collections. The Museum appointed a Data Management Committee to figure out how to use SPECIFY to benefit the Museum. (November 19 and 20, 2014)

  • The College of Idaho Newsletter reported that Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) was asked to serve as a Northwest consultant of Egyptology and Archaeology for Ancient American magazine. She has written several popular articles for the magazine in recent years. (November 14, 2014)

  • Dr. Eric Yensen (Curator of Mammals and 2014 Chairman of the Board of Directors) gave the research presentation at the November volunteer work day. His topic was "Ground squirrel translocation." (November 1, 2014)

  • Dr. Alan Gillogly (Curator of Entomology) and his wife Pat hosted a potluck and pulled pork dinner for Museum volunteers and student workers at their home. (October 18, 2014)

  • Dr. Barbara Ertter (Research Associate and member of the Musem's Board of Directors) was the featured speaker at Night at the Museum (the Museum's annual celebration as part of The College of Idaho's Homecoming events). Night at the Museum also included a Museum open house and presentation of the Volunteer of the Year award to Dr. Craig Baird (Curator of Entomology). (October 10, 2014)

  • Richard A. Salisbury (Associate Curator of Mollusca) gave the research seminar at the October volunteer work day. His topic was "Guam above and below water." (October 4, 2014)

  • The Museum was open during The College of Idaho's Family Weekend. (September 26-27, 2014)

  • Teresa Tarifa (Research Associate, Mammals) gave the research seminar at the September volunteer work day. Her topic was "500 years of Bolivian mammalogy." (September 6, 2014)

  • The Museum co-sponsored "Bug Day," an annual event at the Idaho Botanical Garden. The event is dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of “bugs.” Over 1,000 children and adults showed up to take part in entomological activities, look at the Museum’s reference collections and other displays, buy entomology-oriented merchandise, and get their questions about insects and other bugs answered by Museum curators at the “Ask an Entomologist” table. (August, 2014)

  • Dr. Patrick Fields (Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate, Paleobotany) gave the research seminar at the August volunteer work day. His topic was "More dead things from Idaho." (August 2, 2014)

  • Michael Heinle (UCLA Cuneiform Digital Initiative) visited Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) to scan and discuss cuneiform tablets in The College of Idaho's archives. The tablets, which were originally from the famous Mesopotamian archaeological site of Ur, include receipts, livestock tallies, and building dedications. They date from the Early Babylonian Period, ~2000-1900 BC. (July, 2014)

  • Twenty-four volunteers participated in the Boise Front 4th of July Butterfly Count, organized by Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera). More than 1600 butterflies from 57 species were identified, and results were submitted to the North American Butterfly Association to be combined with results of other butterfly counts in their annual report on North American Butterflies. Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) organized and led the count. (July 13, 2014)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) gave the research presentation at the July work day. His topic was "Interesting butterflies of Idaho." He also presented training in butterfly identification in preparation for the butterfly count on July 13. (July 12, 2014)

  • Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) co-organized the annual BioBlitz event at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. Almost 300 people attended the event. They learned learn about local animal and plant biodiversity and sawthe Museum’s reference collection of specimens from Deer Flat. In preparation, Museum researchers visited Deer Flat and identified about 150 kinds of local insects that were currently present (including some not previously known from Deer Flat). This data was added to the Museum’s Deer Flat database and reference collection. (June 12, 2014)

  • Howard Emry (Curator of Paleontology) gave the research seminar at the June volunteer work day. His topic was "Oligocene flora of the Salmon City Formation, Salmon, Idaho." (June 7 2014)

  • Dr. Don Zaroban (Curator of Fishes) led a fish-identification workshop for Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. (June 3, 2014)

  • Bill Nance (Curator of Ethnography) gave the research seminar at the May volunteer work day. His topic was "Five myths of petroglyphs." (May 3, 2014)

  • Dr. Don Zaroban (Curator of Fishes) led a fish-identification workshop for Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. (April 25, 2014)

  • Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) gave the research seminar at the April volunteer work day. His topic was "Fowl, feathers, and flight." (April 5, 2014)

  • Ben Simko (Semilla Nueva Project and Oregon State University) gave the research seminar at the March volunteer work day. His topic was "Semilla Nueva and agricultural development in Guatemala." (March 1, 2014)

  • Dr. John Ottenhoff (Dean, The College of Idaho) gave the research seminar at the February volunteer work day. His topic was "PEAK, the liberal arts, and the Museum." (February 1, 2014)

  • Dr. Craig R. Baird (Curator of Entomology) gave the research seminar at the January volunteer work day. His topic was "Spider identification and biology." (January 4, 2014)

  • 2013 Events

  • A new fossil plant species was named in honor of Museum paleobotany researchers Howard and Darlene Emry! Dr. Steven Manchester, a University of Florida paleobotanist, and his Japanese colleague Dr. Kazuhiko Uemura noted the similarity between two previously unknown fossil flowers from their respective countries. They recognized the fossils as representing a new genus and species and named it Ozakia emryi Manchester et Uemura. The fossils are from the 15 million year old Succor Creek flora, which is found along the Idaho and Oregon border region, and in similar-aged fossil beds in Japan. The scientific reference documenting the fossils is: Manchester, Steven R. and Uemura, Kazuhiko. Ozakia, a new genus of winged fruit shared between the Miocene of Japan and western North America. J. Plant Research 127(2):187-92, March 4, 2014. (December 2013)

  • Dr. Barbara Ertter (Research Associate and Member of the Board of Directors) gave the research seminar at the December work day. Her topic was "Plants and Reshmerga: botanizing in Iraqi Kurdestan." (December 7, 2013)

  • Dr. Eric Yensen (Curator of Mammals and 2014 Chairman of the Board of Directors) gave the research seminar at the November work day. His topic was "Ground squirrels as ecosystem engineers." (November 2, 2013)

  • The Museum (particularly Dr. Alan Gillogly, Curator of Entomology) was acknowledged for providing specimens of dynastine scarab beetles used in a recent book. Citation information is: Ratcliffe, Brett C., Cave, Ronald D., and Cano, Enio B., The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae), Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum, Vol. 27, 2013 (666 pages).