Outreach Update | Annual Newsletter 2010
This year we had exceptional volunteer support from entomology students, staff, and faculty, brilliant weather, record-breaking crowds, and a wonderful time at the 2010 Bug Bowl. The crowds topped all previous best estimates by the Purdue University Police, with the conservative estimate for the Spring Fest weekend well over 40,000 visitors! Along with coverage from the usual media sources, Bug Bowl was filmed by Purdue Marketing and Media for its video news magazine telecast on the Big Ten Network. The clips assembled in this segment also appeared on the web as part of Purdue's viral marketing initiative. To savor the flavor of Bug Bowl on YouTube in a few “bytes,” please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-LtO695e0o&NR=1.
Bug Bowl Art Entries
One of the favorite components of Bug Bowl is the Insect art contest. It adds an artistic flair to the walls of Smith Hall, and serves as a cue that the event is rapidly approaching. Every year we receive thousands of entries from around the state and beyond; one of the schools that has taken part every year since 2005 is the Cedar Tree Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington. Melissa Shepson, the department’s educational outreach coordinator, wrote to Susan Morgan, an art teacher at Cedar Tree Elementary, to ask her how her students came to be involved in the art contest and why. She explained that it was the science teacher at the school, Jackie Aylor, who started the tradition years ago. Science teacher Aylor says “I was teaching science and found the Bug Bowl Art Contest while surfing the web. I emailed the educational outreach coordinator and was encouraged to enter. I found that the contest put real enthusiasm and excellence into the insect science projects. The students eagerly awaited the results and were thrilled to place. They were also pleased to see their pictures displayed on the website.”
Aylor continued “I first entered the Bug Bowl Art Contest for academic reasons. I used insect cards to teach the different insects and to drill students on their names and essential facts. I thought that drawing those cards would be a good way to reinforce what the students were learning and to give them an opportunity to draw an anatomically correct insect. We spent four class periods choosing insects to draw, discussing them, and then drawing them. Not being an art teacher, I asked advice from the art teacher on how to instruct the students in the drawing.”
This provided Morgan and Aylor an opportunity to collaborate and couple the disciplines of science and art. Susan Morgan says they have continued the tradition because “I have seen the enthusiasm that a little competition creates in the students. They are excited to do their best work. They use pictures of real insects to draw from and learn about their insects as they refer to the information on the cards supplied. Some of the students use anatomically correct models for their drawings, as well as pictures we have collected from magazine articles and books.” To view this year’s art contest winners those from recent years, please visit http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/bugbowl/photos.php and be sure to mark your calendars for the 2011 event which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10.
In June, Arwin Provonsha, Curator of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection, traveled to New Harmony, Indiana to host a day long Bug Camp for kids of all ages and a firefly walk/lecture that evening. This companion programming was a component of Historic New Harmony’s 2010 exhibition, The Art of Science. This exhibition features the artist Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and scientist Thomas Say, as well as original art, insect specimens, 19th century scientific equipment, and rare book collections.
The Butterfly Encounter was held on Saturday, July 17 at the Evonik (formerly Eli Lilly) Wildlife Habitat area. There were approximately 25 participants on hand for Gene White’s (MS ’96) point and shoot photography workshop and an additional 50 or so that joined us for the delicious picnic provided by our partners at Evonik. After the picnic, a short identification tutorial was provided and the count began. The day was hot and clear, and the butterflies were out in great numbers. The group counted 808 butterflies, the second highest number at a count since the event began in 2003. Groups were led by entomology faculty members Jonathon Neal, Tom Turpin, and Steve Yaninek, educational outreach coordinator, Melissa Shepson, along with graduate students John Shorter, Sarah Thompson, Kapil Raje, and Scott Williams. Results from the Encounter can be viewed at: http://www.entm.purdue.edu/butterflycount/results.html .
Insects As Food & Purdue Day, Indiana State Fair
Tom Turpin provided approximately 80 young people with mealworm haute cuisine at an Insects as Food presentation for the Lafayette Urban Ministry at Hanging Rock Camp in West Lebanon, Indiana. Also during the month of August, Purdue Day was held at the Indiana State Fair, and in addition to the roach races run by Arwin Provonsha, Turpin was on hand to present his Bug in a Bag presentation on the Purdue stage as well as officiate at the cricket spitting event. Faith Weeks, Carlos Quesada, Hector Minence, Chris Turpin and Melissa Shepson were on hand to serve as officials on pavement that was indeed hot enough to fry a cricket!
Bug Day, Indiana State Fair
Petting Zoo at Bug Day
On the following day, we found that many hands made light work in the Our Land Pavilion, the official Bug Day at the fair. Graduate students Kapil Raje, Serena Gross, and Faith Weeks, as well as Chris and Tom Turpin, Judy and Arwin Provonsha, Melissa Shepson, Alan York and his granddaughters, Rosalie and Jacqueline, and Linda Mason with daughters, Felicity, and Jenna Mason traveled to Indianapolis to volunteer for the event. We were also joined by a number of young entomologists that have demonstrated a keen interest in the science of entomology: Isaiah Welles from Ft. Wayne, Alex Forsythe, a young 4-H member from the eastern part of the state, and Julia Bell from West Lafayette. The assembled volunteers ran the petting zoo, answered questions about the silkworms that were on display in all stages of their life cycle, and discussed the assorted collection boxes.
In September, Melissa Shepson talked to approximately 800 visitors at Southeastway Park in Indianapolis about the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive insects at the park’s 18th annual Bug Fest. Bug professionals from a wide-range of insect-related fields spent the afternoon entertaining and educating park visitors about good and bad bugs. This event was modeled on our very own Bug Bowl and contained a number of the same kinds of events. Included were a cricket-spitting contest, Bug Café, insect crafts and activities, a honey tasting hosted by local beekeepers, insect collections and a butterfly tent filled with native butterflies.
Science on Six Legs
The fourteenth annual Science on Six Legs: An Insectaganza of Education event was held in October. Joined by 23 teachers and 45 adult chaperones, the event was attended by 588 fifth graders from ten schools in the Greater Lafayette/Tippecanoe County area. The four components of the event are all designed to engage fifth graders in a variety of ways and include forensic entomology, grasshopper dissection, insect theater and the insect Quiz Bowl.
Crime Solving Insects
Crime Solving Insects was presented by Kristi Bugajski, Clayton Nolting along with the help of Serena Gross, Alyssa Collins, Alia Garza and Kristal Lykins. This forensic entomology activity was designed to promote an appreciation of the practical applications of entomology and to teach the concept of “succession” of insect life in the role of decomposition. This program was part lecture, part hands-on activity. The students were given four animal death scenarios and asked to determine the postmortem interval in which the insects developed using “pipe cleaner maggots.”
The grasshopper dissection was led under the direction of Jon Neal’s ENTM 105 students, with support from graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Entomology. Tutorials on dissection and classroom management tips for these students were provided by Neal and Chris Oseto a few weeks prior to the event. The intention is that the fifth graders will use this process as a means of learning about the morphology of the lubber grasshopper. In addition, this activity offers a unique opportunity to university level students to experience first-hand the challenges and rewards associated with classroom management and the education of elementary students. Additional support was provided by volunteers Jessica Barnett, Jacob Thompson, Tyler Stewart, Jennifer Tsuruda and Kapil Raje.
Insecta-Class Reunion of Bugville High
Insecta-Class Reunion of Bugville High
Tom Turpin collaborated with Professor Marcia Gentry from the College of Education’s Gifted Education Research Institute (GERI) and students from the HONORS 299: Science Education Theater class to create and present Insecta-Class Reunion of Bugville High. The play, which uses science, education and theater to promote science literacy, includes vignettes using muppets to communicate information about insect biology and the benefits associated with insects. Additional help and support was provided by Zak Amodt, Kyle Pluchar and Emily Mroczkiewicz. Supplemental educational materials and activities have been designed to enhance the performance experience and provide background information to support classroom instruction and scaffold cross-curricular learning. After the play was piloted at Insectaganza, it was taken on the road to elementary schools in Crawfordsville and Frankfort and presented to 900 fourth and fifth graders.
This year’s Quiz Bowl was moderated by Tim Gibb and run with the help of Faith Weeks and Elaina Grott. Each participating school selects four students and an alternate to represent their school in this activity designed to test their level of entomological knowledge. This year’s questions were drawn from the selection How to Make an AWESOME Insect Collection: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding, Collecting, Mounting, Identifying and Displaying Insects by authors Timothy J. Gibb and Christian Y. Oseto.
Frankfort High School Science Mentors' Project
The Frankfort High School Science Mentors’ Project,a project designed to pair scientists from the entomology department with biology students from diverse backgrounds at Frankfort High School. John Diller, Matthew Ginzel, Adam Witte, Christian Krupke, Emily Mroczkiewicz, Alex Murphy, Julia Prado, Rebecca Rose, Tyler Stewart, Tom Turpin, Nicole Parker, Faith Weeks, Chelsea Rider-Hill and Scott Williams served as mentors for the students as they developed insect-related science projects. This collaboration was created for the high school students to increase awareness of the scientific method and improve critical thinking and problem solving skills, while showcasing the value of higher education and careers associated with entomology. The trimester long activity culminated in an Insect Science Fair held in Frankfort.
Our participation in these events would not be possible without the help from dedicated volunteers and the generous support of our department …thank you!