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Sierra College Natural History Museum offers tours

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Did you know the Sierra College Natural History Museum gives tours to more than 1,500 school children every year? For the first time in nearly 35 years, a series of tours will be offered to the public this fall.

Built in 1967, the museum focuses on natural history. There are more than 70 animal head-mounts and 140 skulls on exhibit. Mammals from North and South America cover the walls.

Among the exhibits hanging down from the ceiling are a complete 38-foot-long California gray whale skeleton, a narwhale skull replica, a bowhead whale baleen plate and a complete manatee skeleton.

Also, journey back into California’s past and get a glimpse of what was swimming in and flying over our Mesozoic sea – models of a life-size Thalattosaur, Mosasaur, Plesiosaur and Pterodon. In addition, there are more than 10,000 paleontology specimens on display.

The Natural History Museum’s primary participants are the students of Sierra College who attend classes, field courses, lectures, seminars and demonstrations. But there's much available for everyone.

Public tours planned

Local watershed – 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 20. The Dry Creek watershed flows through much of Placer County. Watersheds clean the water, provide places for fish to reproduce and provide plants and crops with much-needed water. Local conservation groups work regularly to ensure that our watershed is a healthy one. In this museum activity, participants will learn one of the ways in which these organizations assess water quality – using the critters that live there. Learn how to take samples from a creek and identify some of the critters in the sample. This will be a fun, hands-on experience for those 8 and older. Dress to get a bit dirty. Limited to 30 participants.

What can you learn from a rock? – 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. A rock is a rock, right? Well, not so fast! Rocks can tell the story of how mountains were formed, which way is north and if there was ever a glacier in the area. Geology tells the history of our own backyard. Participants will see examples of the minerals that make up rock as well as the different types of rocks in California. Open to all ages; limited to 40 participants.

Tours cost $3.50 per person. There is no charge for children ages 4 and under. Call 660-7923 or email kcarroll@sierracollege.edu to sign up.

The museum also hosts a lecture series, which is open to the public at an admission fee of $5 general, $2 students/seniors and free to museum members. Tickets are available at the door.

The Sierra College Natural History Museum is at 5000 Rocklin Road. There is a $3 parking fee on campus. Parking permits are available at dispensers in the parking lots. For more information, call 660-7926 or visit sierracollege.edu/museum.