Earth crisis

The Bell Museum hosts an exhibit chronicling the threat to biodiversity.

The fast-paced world of city life tends to drown out the sounds of Mother Nature. But there is a place on campus where it is possible to get in touch with wildness.

The World Wildlife Fund’s traveling exhibit, “Biodiversity 911: Saving Life on Earth,” is now at the Bell Museum. This exhibit is full of fun facts as well as in-depth analysis of major ecological problems that threaten the planet’s biodiversity. The exhibit brings these issues to life using claymation and interactive technology combined with a hospital emergency-room theme to highlight the fact that the planet is being threatened in many ways by pollution, deforestation, poaching and erosion of topsoil.

The exhibit’s interactive features are admittedly geared towards upper elementary and junior high students; however, there is a lot of information available through the exhibit that appeals to older students and adults.

Many University classes use the Bell Museum as part of their curriculums, and the museum itself is a division of the College of Natural Resources. Staff scientists track changes in habitats, especially those in Minnesota. In this respect, the traveling exhibit fits perfectly within the mission of the museum as a whole.

“Biodiversity 911” is a colorful showcase of how the planet’s natural habitats are being polluted or destroyed by humans.

The exhibit sounds a harsh warning about the problems it examines, but doesn’t come off as overly preachy or apocalyptic. Nor does it harp on the same topics over and over, but rather presents a wide range of facts on various topics. Some solutions are proposed, and there is a large focus on conservation. This allows the viewer a solid background upon which to form his or her own ideas and gain a solid foundation for further exploration on the subject.

The museum as a whole is also a fascinating tribute to biodiversity, especially in Minnesota. The main portion is filled with dioramas of different animals in their natural habitats. This provides the viewer with a glimpse into the world of diverse habitats and species that exist in this state. There is also a Touch and See Room, in which there are numerous live animals such as snakes and turtles, as well as other pieces of nature that the visitor can examine closely.