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Marvin Bouknight is the new director of Charlotte Nature Museum.

My name is Marvin Bouknight and I am honored to be the new director of Charlotte Nature Museum.

From an early age, I have been excited and enthusiastic about animals, wildlife and all things natural.

My mom loves to tell the story of when I was a little fellow; I had a bumblebee hover in front of my face. I ran to my mom and excitedly told her, "I saw a bumblebee! I saw a bumblebee!" When she told me it wouldn't hurt me, I exclaimed, "I'm not scared! I saw his eyes!"

I have always been into nature and when it came time to go to college, this passion guided me to Clemson University, where I received a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries biology.

After a short career in commercial fisheries and analytical chemistry, I finally found my calling as the naturalist for Charle… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Campers create sculpture out of recycled materials during the Leadership Development Summer Camp at Charlotte Nature Museum. The public is invited to submit their own recycled material sculptures by noon, Friday, July 18. One winner will receive a family 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Place.

Want to win a family 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Place?

Then grab some recycled materials and get creative!

Campers in this week's Leadership Development Summer Camp have organized a recycled material sculpture building contest, and everyone is invited to participate.

Sculptures can be any size, as long as they're made of recycled materials and easily transportable. To enter, bring your creation to Charlotte Nature Museum by noon on Friday, July 18. The contest is open to all ages.

Campers will select one overall winner, who will be recognized in a special presentation at 1:00 p.m. at the stage in Fort Wild.

Following the presentation, participants are invited to join the campers in a clean-up of the greenway and park behind the Museum. All volunteers should wear comforta… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Looking for fun, inexpensive activities to do with the kids this summer? Give upcycling a try! With a little paint and creativity, empty boxes, bottles and cans can be transformed into musical instruments, games or even birdhouses.

With school out for the summer, many parents are looking for fun, inexpensive activities to do with their kids. Why not give upcycling a try?

There are so many great projects people can do with old objects around the house, instead of recycling or throwing them away.

What exactly is upcycling? It is the process of making something useful, and often beautiful, from old or discarded materials.

During our recent Earth Day Play Date, we made musical instruments, a matching game, a bowling set and a birdhouse all out of "trash" found at the Museum.

Here's how we did it.

Musical Instruments:
1. Take old coffee cans or tissue boxes and wrap different sized rubber bands around them. The different sized bands will create different notes when plucked or strummed.
2. Turn empty pla… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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A weak yellow-bellied slider with overgrown claws finds respite in a tank at Charlotte Nature Museum after naturalist Nikki Panos removed a wire and soda can that had been attached to his shell. The turtle was later returned to his home in Freedom Park.

Recently, I had the unfortunate task of dealing with the repercussions of someone's intentional and harmful actions against a yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) at Freedom Park.

A family of good Samaritans rushed into the Museum, worried about a turtle they said had been caught up in wire. Grabbing some wire cutters, thinking this was just a turtle who had found his way into trash, I hastily made my way down to the lake only to find something more.

This turtle had been made the object of a cruel prank.

Someone had drilled a hole into the bottom of his shell and attached a wire with a soda can to it. This way, when the animal swam, the prankster could follow his movements.

The turtle was in rough shape because he hadn't been able to move naturally. His claws wer… Keep reading.

Filed Under: The Wild Around Us
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The votes have been counted, and Reptar is the name of our Museum's newest resident, an American alligator.

Thank you to everyone who voted on a name for our new baby alligator through our blog and Facebook.

Based on your input, Reptar is the name of our Museum's newest resident, an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

The recently hatched Reptar is about 12 inches long and came to us from Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach, S.C., which allows the Museum to borrow a juvenile alligator for a few years and return it for a smaller animal once it gets too large.

You can find Reptar swimming happily the Beginnings exhibit in the Great Hall. Plan a visit to meet Reptar today!…

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Leave a comment to help us choose a name for our new baby alligator.

Snappy, our American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), was homeward bound last week.

Museum Coordinator Gail Lemiec transported him back to Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he came from in 2011. We were sorry to see him go but he had grown too large for the exhibit in the Great Hall at Charlotte Nature Museum.

American alligators hatch out of their eggs at about 9.5 inches long and grow about one foot per year until they reach six feet long. Their growth slows down then, but females average 8-9 feet, while males get a little larger at 10-12 feet. In fact, the largest recorded alligator found in North Carolina was 12 feet, 7 inches long. But that is not the largest alligator recorded in the United States, which was found in Mississippi and was a whopping 19 fee… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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