by Becky GINOS
BOUNTIFUL—When you walk into the lobby of a bank, you expect to see the usual teller windows and vault – not a fossilized crocodile or an ancient turtle shell. But you’re in for a special treat at the Zions Bank on Main Street in Bountiful right now as the bank hosts “Nature’s Ultimate Machines” part of the Traveling Treasures Exhibit from the Natural History Museum of Utah.
“The exhibits will travel throughout the state of Utah,” said Bing Fang, president of the board of advisors for the museum at the unveiling last week. “This is the first day of the new exhibit. We’ve had a 20 year relationship with Zions.”
Boulton Elementary School fourth graders were invited to participate in the launch of the exhibit and took part in hands on activities following the unveiling.
“Science is understanding the world around us,” Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful told the children. “It’s one thing to see it but you need to understand and know about it.”
Ward told the children he’d noticed an unusual animal in his yard one day. “I saw a coyote creeping through our yard,” he said. “It was sneaking up on something so I watched to see what. It was an apple. He grabbed it and ran off. So I had to do a little research and I found out coyotes are like a garbage disposal, they’ll eat anything. He didn’t eat my dog so I was grateful.”
We’re lucky to have the Natural History Museum so close by, he said. “There are one and a half million things in the collection up there.”
Paleontologist Carrie Levitt-Bussian showed the students bones and skulls of a variety of ancient animals including a fossilized crocodile. “It could bench press a car with its mouth,” she said.
Students were broken up into small groups to learn how birds fly by understanding different wing shapes, take part in animal yoga to learn how animals move in flexible ways and to ask questions about the collection.
“This goes along with the fourth-grade science curriculum core,” said Associate Director of the museum, Ann Hanniball. “The teachers and kids at Boulton are extraordinary. We’d love it if they come up to the museum. We hope people will be curious after they see this exhibit. We’re delighted to be able to bring it to this community. A bank is the heart of the community.”
Zions has been committed to these projects for the last 20 years. “We like to be involved in the community,” said Marissa Shields, communications manager for Zions. “Particularly like this program because it allows us to bring the exhibits across the state to those who otherwise wouldn’t see them. It helps to learn about science and our history.”
The children were excited about the collection too. “This is really fun, I like it,” said Seth Bleiweiss. “My favorite is the turtle shell. I like turtles; they’re my favorite animals. I used to have one but he died.”
Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis also stopped by. “This exhibit has some really interesting things from our past,” he said. “I like to fish and I saw some impressions of ancient fish. I’m so proud of you, learning is so important when you’re young and when you’re old.”
Zions Bank is located at 5 N. Main Street in Bountiful. The exhibit is free and open to the public.