West Reading Avenues Winter 2021-22 - 17

Commission on Fish and Fisheries, establishing the Marine
Biological Research Station in Woods Hole, Mass., where he
died in 1887.
Baird served the Smithsonian during the great Westward
expansion and equipped U.S. Army officers with the tools
necessary to collect and preserve specimens of Western flora
and fauna to send back to Washington. Under his leadership,
the Smithsonian developed into a world-class museum.
His pioneering work with fisheries was honored by his fellow
researchers with nearly 100 species of marine life named for
him. Baird himself named over 200 species.
Although he had left Reading, Baird still had ties to the city.
One young man influenced by Baird was Levi Mengel, who
would go on to found the Reading Public Museum.
Mengel's father was a lawyer for the Baird family, and Mengel
in his unpublished autobiography recalls a dinner meeting with
the great naturalist.
" Well do I recollect the first time I ever saw Professor Spencer
F. Baird, " Mengel writes. " When I was yet a little boy, one day
we had a great guest for dinner. Can anyone picture my awe
and amazement, when I gazed across the table and beheld the
great Professor Baird? I was almost afraid to breathe. "
Mengel goes on to recall how Baird listened to him intently
and with interest as he showed him his own meager collection
of stones that he had collected. Baird emphasized to Mengel
the importance of labeling each specimen with the location
it was collected.
" He said a specimen without a locality label was useless; a
scientific man could always determine what a specimen was but
that the locality from whence it came was the most important
item. He made a lasting impression, " Mengel writes. " A week
or two after he had made the visit, no one could imagine the
delight and unbounded happiness, when a large size box came
to me from the Smithsonian Institution, filled to the full with
good typical specimens of minerals. Many years have passed.
Spencer Baird has long since died. His monumental influence
and prodigious efforts are felt in every country in the world,
but it would need none of these to remind me of that patient
attention he gave to a little boy, in the long ago. "
If there is one outstanding characteristic of the Baird
Ornithological Club, it is this patient attention given to nature
enthusiasts of all ages and abilities by its members during the
monthly meetings and the many field trips to various spots in
Berks County and beyond.
visitwestreading.org 15
633 Penn Ave, West Reading * 610-898-4369
theartroomwr@gmail.com
Mon and Tues - Closed * Wed 12pm - 6pm
Thurs - Sat 12pm - 8pm * Sun 12pm - 5pm
Levi Mengel in 1916 would bring Earl L. Poole to Reading
as an art teacher and then assistant director to the Reading
Public Museum.
In 1921, Poole and Harold Morris formed the contemporary
Baird Ornithological Club and held regular meetings at the
Reading Public Museum.
The Baird Ornithological Club
now meets at 7:30 p.m. the second
Friday of each month from
September to April in McConnell
Hall at Nolde Forest Environmental
Education Center in Cumru Township.
Field trips are held regularly. For full
details on meetings and field trips, visit the
BOC website at bit.ly/bocbird or the Baird
Ornithological Club Facebook page.
Ceramic * Clay * Wood * Glass * Canvas * Craft Courses
All Ages
Welcome!
BYOB
Book your group get together today!
Birthday Parties, Bachelorette Parties,
Team Building and so much more!
Walk-ins Welcome
Groups of 5 or more, appointments
are recommended
Gift Cards
Available
http://www.bit.ly/bocbird http://www.bit.ly/bocbird http://www.visitwestreading.org

West Reading Avenues Winter 2021-22

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesSpring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesWinter2020-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesFall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/WestReadingAvenues/WestReadingAvenuesSummer2020
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