Under the Snow

Under the Snow

December 17, 2022 through May 7, 2023

In the depth of winter, a deep layer of snow quiets the High Desert’s forests. But under the surface, a secret world comes to life. A new High Desert Museum exhibit dives into the snow, where voles, shrews, insects and porcupines build a matrix of tunnels to survive the winter and hide from the predators that lurk just above the surface.

The original exhibit explores the “subnivium” environment, what scientists call this seasonal habitat. In the subnivium, the temperature stays a toasty 32-degrees Fahrenheit, which protects plants and animals from the winter’s frigid temperatures.

“As snow blankets the Cascade Mountain Range, we all anticipate the season of snow play,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “Under the Snow reveals an entire world that thrives in the High Desert right under our feet.”

Using interactive graphics, visitors will meet the species that depend on the subnivium environment, including a resilient mammal named Pika, an observant owl called Great Gray and a fruiting fungus known as Fuzzy Foot. These individuals will talk about life in the snow, including their favorite spots to cache food, the best moments to hunt and their favorite types of snowfall.

Warming air temperatures across the High Desert are causing drastic changes to the subnivium world. Under the Snow also explores how reduced snowfall and rain-on-snow events are threatening the habitat on which thousands of plants and animals depend.

Under the Snow will be on display through May 7, 2023.

Click here to discover everything you need to know about your visit to the High Desert Museum!

“The exhibit’s interactive elements are going to offer an engaging experience that transports people into this hidden winter world. Under the Snow will encourage people to consider the snow as a source of habitat when they’re out on the slopes or just driving over the mountain pass.”

 – Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History Hayley Brazier

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