MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – This ‘Hoo’loween season, the Peter White Public Library and the U.P. Land Conservancy is giving you the chance to dig up some skeletons on your own by hosting an educational owl pellet dissection event.
“It’s a fun way to learn and, in this case, we’re learning about the great horned owl because we have quite a few of them around here,” said educator Erik Johnson.
“We thought it would fit a great theme of spooky science in October, talking about everything creepy and whatnot,” said library teen services coordinator Amanda Pierce.
An owl pellet is a regurgitated ball of fur, bones and remains of an owl’s prey that they can’t digest. Dissecting one can help people understand the ecological environment of the area they come from.
“The species diversity with, say, on Presque Isle, mice and the smaller rodents, you can get an idea what the ecology is doing with owls. It’s good to learn,” said Johnson.
The event is Monday, October 16 at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette at 6 p.m. It’s geared toward teens, but Johnson and Pierce both say that’s it’s open to people of all ages.
“We can have grandmas and grandpas and younger kids as well…anybody that wants to have fun,” said Johnson.
You don’t have to bring anything but your curious self. Johnson will have all the supplies and safety in mind.
“We have all the tools, we have all the supplies, all those pellets are sterilized…we didn’t go out in the wild and just go start collecting random pellets and say ‘here you go let’s have some fun,’” Johnson said, laughing. “We have microscopes and we have tablets. We really took into consideration the tools; we went with two different sets of tools we have for tearing these wonderful things apart. We have really sharp ones, which a parent may not want child to use, so we also have a complete set of ones that have a dulled end. And then we did 3D print great horned owl skulls, and we can show how the pellets are ejected…and then there’s a PowerPoint that’ll go with this on how digestion works,” Johnson explained.
Registration is still open and the form can be found here. Drop-ins are also welcome.
This is the first program of Erik Johnson’s Lake Superior Science and Education Programs, and he’s still looking for educators to volunteers to help him hold more events like this. If you’re interested in joining him as an educator or intern, or want more information, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.