Week #21- Steven Roias, Volunteer and Assistant to the Curator of Vertebrates

    For this week we met Steven Roias.  Steven is a bird and fish expert, who volunteers his time to work with our Natural History staff.  In the Learning department, we are lucky to work with him sometimes as well.

    Steven showed the Kids’ Club kids different mounted specimens and asked what they were.  Birds,  a dragonfly, a vole…He asked where do all these things like to live.

    Meadows, that’s right.

    Steven explained that meadows, and the things that live within meadows, need certain things to survive and thrive.  He then put images of many different things from a meadow on the ground.  Kids were asked to look at all the images, then pick one.  Whatever one they picked, Steven asked for them to consider what ingredients were needed to support that thing.  And to find the images.

    So the first kid had a bird.  This particular bird needed worms and a tree.  Another kid had a worm, and he said that the worm needed soil, and a field.  The kid that had the owl said that it needed a dead tree to make a home in, and a vole.  And so on.  Lots of interesting connections were made.  And kids really started to see how all of the parts of the meadow work together.

    But what better way to explore the idea of meadows, than to go out into one.  And luckily Beacon Hill Park is so close to the Museum.

    When we got to a meadow, Steven asked what is the first thing you need in order to have a meadow.  Soil.  And what do you have if you have soil…bugs, insects, etc.

    That gave us the idea to go look for things in the ground or on the ground.

    Kids found spiders, worms, beetles, ants.  And while down on the ground, they also noticed all the flowers that are starting to pop out of the ground.

    Steven explained that one of the most important things in a meadow are dead trees.  We went to look for one, and found one up on a small bank.  Steven said that many things live within a dead tree, and is vital to the health of a meadow.  So he said to kids, if ever you see a dead tree in a meadow, don’t disturb it.

    Steven reminded us that of course dead trees are important in all ecosystems.  But what really makes a meadow a meadow is the open space.  So to make sure a meadow stays a meadow, fires and other disturbances are important to keep it such.  Steven asked kids to consider what actions and conditions are needed, both in a controlled area like Beacon Hill Park, and in real wild meadows.

    We looked for birds as well, and only found a few seagulls.  We’ll have to check back about them.

    Chris O'Connor


    Learning Program Developer

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