I love sharing the cool secrets of the ROM with visitors, so it really made my day when our Name the Queen Bee Contest winner Kaitlyn visited the ROM with her mom and her brother Kynan (who also happened to be our third place winner). I got to show them around the Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity and Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, as well as introduce them to a few special friends of mine who live behind-the-scenes at the ROM.
Upon arrival at the ROM, Kaitlyn and Kynan were whisked upstairs to the Hands-on Bio office to meet Amy Lathrop, the ROM’s resident herpetology technician and keeper of the ROM’s live reptiles. Bob, Zip, and Java usually only come out for museum classes or on special occasions, but we thought that the visit of our Bee Contest Winner was a pretty special occasion.
After their close encounters of the scaly kind, Kaitlyn and Kynan wanted to see what was involved in caring for our animals, so it was through the secret door in the Schad Gallery to take a look behind the Coral Reef tank. There, in the glowing, humming command centre that maintains the tank and ensures all the fish and invertebrates are happy and healthy, our intrepid contest winners got to try their hands at feeding the hungry fish (and they managed to do it without getting their fingers nipped by the unicornfish, too).
From there, it was back to Hands-on Bio where the family got to check in with Kaitlyn’s queen bee, feed the fish in the Great Lakes tank, and take a peek into the collections cupboards that house all of Hand-on Biodiversity’s teaching collections. For a complete look at the family’s tour, check out the photoset!
It was great having Kaitlyn and her family here. The hive is still doing well; Queen Lily and her daughters moved into a bigger hive months ago, and the hive is currently ruled by Queen Beatrix XXVI. Her common name is Queen Romona, which was submitted by Chavi, our second-place winner.
Be sure to come and visit the hive on your next visit to the ROM. If you give the secret word, POLLINATOR, to one of the staff or volunteers in the Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity, we will give you a seed kit (while our supplies last!) so that you can grow a native plant to provide food and shelter for some of Toronto’s butterflies and bees.
See you soon!