From snakes, to fish, to birds, to thousands of mammals the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection houses one the largest collections of preserved animals.
"The specimens are used primarily for research," Assistant Curator Heather Prestridge said. "They are products of research expeditions, collections, things that have happened in the past, and things that are happening now. They are also used by biologists on a daily basis from around the world."
There are more than 600 thousand fish, over 90 thousand reptiles, and 15 thousand birds. The specimens are from all over the world.
"Dr. William B. Davis who founded the collection would take students on field trips into Mexico and they would kind of live off the land," Prestridge said. "They would collect things so we could document the bio-diversity of Mexico for that time as well as for the use in the future."
The collection is part of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. Founded in 1938, it now serves as a hands-on lab for students.
"I get to put my hands on all kinds of neat opportunities," Texas A&M student Jenn Foehrkolb said. "I'm working on a lot of different projects and I'm going to be able to share it with the public."
Foehrkolb is an intern for the collection, and wants to use her experiences to pursue a job with a museum.
"I'd really like to be the one who displays the kind of exhibits like when you step inside and see how big your foot is compared to an elephant's foot," Foehrkolb said. "I'd like to create a lot of things for students and families that are educational, but fun."
As for letting the public come, an empty white walled space at the building's entrance will soon house an information and display area, thanks to funding from the city of College Station and internal resources. So, the public can know a little more about the wildlife inside the collection.
Although the collection is used mainly for research, it does have hours of operation. Hours are 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. For information about guided tours call 845-5783 or you can check out their website www.wfsc.tamu.edu/TCWC/tcwc.htm. The collection also has a nature trail surrounding the facility. It is open to the public from dawn to dusk.
Upload your photo, with a caption of your reason to smile, then watch the last half hour of BVTM from 6:30A - 7A Monday mornings to see if your photo makes it.