December 30, 2019 | Jen Tobias, Associate Director of Exhibitions & Art Collections; Associate Curator of Art

You know what they say—home is where the heart is and also where the lichens are. Actually, as far as I can tell I’m pretty much the only one who says that part about lichens. (I’m trying to get it started though—pass it on.) But it’s true, and it’s not just the lichens—it’s also where the cacti, pikas, grasses, cows, cottonwoods, sunflowers, trout, sagebrush and dung beetles are, among many others. You probably don’t have lichens growing on your couch or dung beetles hanging out in your living room watching Netflix, but your home is not just the place where you can wear your ratty old sweatpants without judgement. Your home is also the broader habitat in which you live, and the deeply interconnected network of organisms of all shapes and sizes that you share it with.

Welcome Home: Meet Your Habitat is a new exhibition in the Science Pyramid that explores these interconnections, featuring natural and human-made objects combined with interactive digital stories about the invisible depths of our bonds with nature. Meet the plants, animals and fungi that share our home across landscapes, from prairies to ponds to cities.

They might not have brought you cookies when you moved in, but these organisms share our neighborhoods just like our human neighbors do. Take a look around Denver and you’ll see crows complaining to each other on top of telephone poles, mushrooms sprouting along sidewalks, moths searching for a tasty dinner in gardens and flowers soaking up the sun in parks. And that’s just the urban spaces—we also share habitat and resources with rural and even alpine areas. Relax in a bubble bath and you’re using water that once originated as snow from a pika’s chilly mountain home; water your garden and that water may end up as a cool drink for a cottonwood further downstream.

Welcome Home features some easy, practical things you can do to steward water and other natural resources to support both our human and non-human neighbors and the health of our shared home. Need a breather? Pull up a comfy chair in the Habitat Lounge area and learn about the ways that organisms are adapted to their habitats and how you can adapt your behaviors to your own environment.

Don’t miss meeting the neighbors with this new Science Pyramid exhibit (also a great way to warm up if you’re enjoying the Gardens on a snowy day). Admission is included with admission to the Gardens. And if you could help me get that whole "home is where the lichens are” thing going, I would appreciate it.

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