Buzzzzzzzy Bees: What is Apiology?

Welcome back!

Spring is around the corner! Let’s learn about Apiology – or the study of honey bees! Here’s Five Fun Facts about apiology!

1-From Latin “apis” meaning “bee

2-The larger branch of studying bees is called “Melittology

3-There are over 20,000 different species of bees in the world!

4-Bees live in colonies that contain a Queen Bee, the Worker Bee, and the Drone

5-Honeybees pollinate more than 100 crops in the United States!

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Thanks for reading!

Omega Centauri – The King of Globular Clusters

Globular clusters, the sparkling, dense spider webs of the universe, are still being researched for their various colors, shapes, sizes, and gravitational dynamics by astronomers! Omega Centauri is a prime example – or rather the KING- of globular clusters with over 10 million stars! Let’s take a look at the Top Four Facts about this incredible globular cluster:

Image Credit & CopyrightMichael MillerJimmy Walker

1- This cluster is among the largest globular clusters that reside within the Milky Way Galaxy, with a diameter of about 150 light years!

2-While the majority of the cluster is the color white, these stars vary in coloration as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, with lots of big reddish stars. These are estimated to be between 10-12 billion years old!

3-The other stars, nicknamed the “blue stragglers,” are actually older stars that have collided and merged with other stars!

4- The current theories about the shear size and existence of this globular cluster is that this cluster may have once been a dwarf satellite galaxy that the Milky Way Galaxy has essentially overtaken.

How to observe Omega Centauri:

It’s visible from the southern half of the United States, or south of 40 degrees north latitude (the latitude of Denver, Colorado). While it is much more visible in the Southern Hemisphere, it can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere at certain times of the year. It’s best seen in the evening sky from the Northern Hemisphere on late April, May and June evenings.

Marion County Discovery Center Vision Casting

L to R—Ray Garton, Mary Ellen Garton, Shayla Stemple, and Frank Jarman. (not pictured: Margie Suder, Max Cadorette, and Melissa Lehman)

The Marion County Discovery Center partners/committee members met today for its preliminary Vision Casting.

In attendance were: Museum curators Ray Garton and Mary Ellen Garton of Prehistoric Planet WV (, first-rate interior designer Shayla Stemple of Stemple Interiors (, MCFRN director Frank Jarman, United Security Agency insurance agent/ representative Max Cadorette (not pictured), MCBOE/STEAM educator Margie Suder (not pictured), and MCFRN Community Liaison and Graphics Artist Melissa Lehman (not pictured).

Let’s Learn About:

Vulnerable and Endangered Species, pt. 1

by: Melissa Anne Lehman

#1 Giant Panda

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, as of 2020, there are approximately 1,864 giant pandas left in the wild. The giant panda belongs to the order Carnivora, but is primarily an folivore (a creature that mainly subsists on leaves), with bamboo shoots and leaves comprising up to 99% of its diet. On average, the giant panda will consume a whopping 20-30 pounds of bamboo shoots and leaves in a single day. Interestingly, the panda bear, unlike the grizzly and black bear, does not hibernate, but will move into elevations with hotter temperatures.

Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, poaching, and low birth rate, the giant panda has been placed on the vulnerable species list.

#2 Tiger


According to the World Wildlife Foundation, as of 2020, there are approximately 3,900 tigers left in the wild. Habitat destruction and poaching have been the two major contributors to the fluctuating population. Despite tightening poaching restrictions and increasing legal enforcement, the tiger is still vulnerable.

This majestic predator still faces risks in parts of the world where, despite strict anti-poaching laws, illegal trade and black market sales outweigh the importance of conservation.

#3 Polar Bear

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, as of 2020, there are between approximately 22,000 and 31,000 polar bear left in the world. These numbers have been declining in recent years, due to loss of habitat from climate change. There are some conservation scientists who believe that 2/3 of the world’s polar bears may disappear by 2050, if action is not taken.


Space Case #3: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Part II of: TL; DR Or, “Oh, look ma! Another article about the solar system and its planets!”

by: Melissa Anne Lehman


Ah, yes—Saturn. Despite being the second largest planet in our solar system, Saturn takes the lead as least dense planet in our solar system. And guess what? Because it is almost entirely composed of gasses, you cannot even stand on it. Saturn’s rings are comprised of ice, dust, and rock.

Put a ring on it.


Uranus was founded in 1781 by William Herschel. It is an ice giant that is four-times larger than the Earth. It is also considered one of the planets that gets the coldest—temperatures can reach as low as -224 degrees celcius! BRRRR.


Neptune is the most distant planet from the sun. A ball of gas and ice, this planet has volatile winds that can reach up to 2100 km/hr. It is also extremely cold, with temperatures reaching a -221.45 degrees Celsius.

Photos courtesy of: WikiImages —

Space Case 101 #2- The Earth, Mars, and Jupiter

Part II of: TL; DR Or, “Oh, look ma! Another article about the solar system and its planets!”

Written by Melissa Anne Lehman

The Earth

How could we leave out THE Earth? After all, it’s THE only other planet that we all collectively refer to with the definitive article “THE” other than THE Sun. I swear, some people think the Earth revolves around the sun (well, it does…but I mean metaphorically). You don’t hear people say, “THE Mars may have once sustained life”, or “THE Jupiter has 67 moons”! Noooooo, it’s The Earth and The Sun this, and The Earth and The Sun that

Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent there. Here are some moderately interesting facts about THE Earth you may find intriguing:

  1. The Earth was once believed to be the center of the universe. (Of course it was!–Not.)
  2. The Earth is the densest planet of the solar system. (*snicker*)
  3. The Earth is not perfectly round, it is actually a slightly squished sphere.

Looks like the North American East Coast may be getting ready for some precipitation.


Named after the Roman god of war and rage (and possibly agriculture, hm…something seems off), Mars is a planet not to be reckoned with. Often called “the red planet” because of its crimson appearance, Mars gets its distinct color from the surface material (regolith) which contains quite a large amount of iron oxide. Combine its propensity to create planet-wide red dust storms with its vast and uninhabited landscape and you’ve got yourself a scene straight out of Armageddon.

Hey guys, come live here! The real estate market is out of this world!


Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets, has the largest moon in the solar system (Ganymede), has had an embarrassing red spot (actually a mean storm) on its face for approximately 350 years…


It looks like one of those touristy sand bottles you get when you go to Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Capri, or LITERALLY any other beach.

Written by Melissa Anne Lehman

Photo Credits: WikiImage on Pixabay

Space Case 101 #1- The Sun, Mercury, and Venus

by Melissa Anne Lehman

TL; DR Or, “Oh, look ma! Another article about the solar system and its planets!”

The Sun

First stop: The sun. Don’t forget your SPF 100 gazibillion (not a real unit of measure).

Unless you have been living under a rock (not judging, just saying), everyone has heard of the sun. If you haven’t, please take a second to step outside on a non-cloudy day and look up into the sky. See that somewhat ominous whitish-yellow-orange circle in the sky? That is the sun. (Hint: There should only be one ominous whitish-yellow-orange circle—if there are two, please turn back—you live on Tatooine and this article is for those of us in the Milky Way Galaxy). The sun is only about 93,000,000 miles from the Earth–making it the 3rd closest planet to the sun. Fortunately, being the third rock from the sun does have its perks. Perk 1: Life. Perk 2: Light. Perk 3: Heat.

(Kind of a big deal. Thinks everything revolves around it…

…oh wait).


Ah yes, Mercury—the Mr. Darcy of the planets. Because of the overwhelming sunshine-y attitude of its neighbor, Mercury decided to look like the planetary embodiment of Eeyore. What a rebel. But don’t let that drab gray appearance fool you. Contrary to its small size (the smallest planet in our solar system), and depressing aesthetic, this planet belies a truly mercurial (haha) nature. From extreme temperature fluctuations between day and night to its frantic attempts to orbit the sun faster than any other planet for some reason, Mercury wins the award for most obnoxious planet.

Melodramatically: “Don’t look at me…”


Oh, the planet Venus! Be still, my heart! Named for the Roman goddess of Love and Beauty (collective “awww…”), Venus is the definitive heart-breaker of our solar system. Somehow hotter than Mercury despite being further from the sun (scandalous!), and second brightest natural object in the sky apart from our Moon (now it’s just showing off), Venus is the planetary embodiment of that friend you’re secretly jealous of.

Venus thinks it looks ugly in this picture but 1,000,000,000 of their Facebook friends disagree.

Written by:Melissa Anne Lehman

Photo Credits: WikiImages on Pixabay.

Carnivore, Herbivore, or Omnivore?

By Melissa Anne Lehman

Carnivore or Carnivorous

The word carnivorous is derived from the combined Latin words “caro” (genitive carnis) meaning “flesh”, and “vorare” which means “to devour”. Put ’em together and you get—carnivore.

Mr. or Ms. Tiger is constantly looking to meat…*ahem*…I mean MEET new people.

Omnivore or Omnivorous

The word omnivorous is derived from the combined Latin words “omnis” meaning “all”, and “vorare” which means “to devour”. Put ’em together and you get–you guessed it–omnivore!

Mr. or Ms. Chimpanzee likes long walks in the jungle, throwing things at people, and talking your ear off about how alike you are.

Herbivore or Herbivorous

The word herbivorus is derived from the combined Latin words “herba” meaning “plant” and “vorare” which means “to devour”.

Mr. or Ms. Alpaca likes to hangout at that new alpaca-owned salad bar downtown– “Al fresco, Al paca”. (A little word of warning—be nice to the servers or they’ll spit in your food!)

Yabba-Dabba, Dino-Dung!?

Written by Melissa Anne Lehman

Paleontologist Mr. Ray Garton (left) founder/owner of Prehistoric Planet in Barrackville, West Virginia and MCFRN Director Frank Jarman (right).
Copro-what-a?!? Preserved dinosaur dung (coprolite).

No bones about it–we were delighted, (and quite a bit jealous!), that MCFRN director Frank Jarman got to hang out with dinosaurs today. Well…fossilized ones at least.

In fact, Frank Jarman was invited to check out Prehistoric Planet––the informative, entertaining and educational brainchild of paleontologist Mr. Ray Garton.

To learn more about Prehistoric Planet, please contact Mr. Ray Garton.

Mr. Garton can be reached at:

(304) 282-2306

(304) 366-1810


Welcome to the Marion County Discovery Center!-AN INTRO TO OUR BLOG

Written by Melissa Anne Lehman

Hello everyone and welcome to the Marion County Discovery Center blog!

If you are reading this, then that means you are one-step closer to being one of the first to get insider access to a variety of exclusive content, including:

  • Up-to-date Information about MCDC Upcoming Events & Attractions
  • Links to expert-led educational content
  • Ticket/Admission changes and discounts…and so much MORE!

If all of this sounds right up your alley, make sure to check back with us regularly!

Save us to your bookmarks, like us on Facebook, or follow us on one of our various other social media platforms–

Once again, thank you so much for visiting our blog! As our mission statement says, we are eager to bring “to life the joy of discovery”.

Melissa Anne Lehman (Guest Contributor)