Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great Bug Hike Report

Date : June 13, 2009
Time : 1 - 3 pm
Place : Environmental Learning Center, Harrison Hills Park
Ages : Children to teens (but all invited)
Donation: $7 donation suggested (included pinning board, butterfly spreading board, butterfly paper envelope, 3 insect pins, and 'How to Make and Insect Collection' book)

This was a fun educational nature-oriented activity where kids gained hands-on know-how on making an insect collection. We had 13 very enthusiastic budding young naturalists join us today, ages 5 - 14. We started off with a simple pictorial slideshow 'All about Insects' that talked about the scientific importance of collecting and studying insects, where to find and how to collect and preserve insects. 

Then everyone picked up a net, a collecting jar and went bug hunting! The warm, sunny day had the area around the ELC a-buzz and a-flutter with many common butterflies, (true) bugs, beetles, flies and bees. Each kid collected one or two insects and these were gently put to 'sleep' in the freezer back at the ELC. After some light refreshments, which included the ever-popular chocolate-covered crickets, everyone had the opportunity to pet Millie the Giant Millipede, and the Madagascar Hissing Roaches. (Bryce, who had previously chomped down milk-choco chirpies wanted a plain one this time, but we were all out. So he improvised by licking all the choc off his chirpie and said "here now I have a plain one" and ate that!). Finally, we learnt how to correctly pin and label our insects.

Insect collecting can be a fun and rewarding hobby for all ages, and also a valuable contribution to science!

Thank you to Rich, Spencer, parents who helped out; Ariana, Tristan and Laurel who helped with the bug gift shop, choc chirpie station and bug petting zoo; and all the participants in today's program! 

Insect Quick Lesson:

  1. There are 200 million insects to every human on Earth. 
  2. Collecting one or two of each type of insect will not hurt its populations. 
  3. Insects do not feel pain but are living creatures that should be respected - killing an insect for your collection should be done quickly and humanely. (See my book "How to Make an Insect Collection" for details). 

Note: Complete student insect collecting kits are available for purchase that include an insect net, insect pins, pinning block, riker mount, glycine envelopes, collector's notebook, insect labels, forceps and more ($20).