Entomology Field Camp - Summer 2010

The first annual Entomology Field Camp was held 21-25 June 2010 at the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology Department. The week long day-camp gave 6th-8th grade campers a chance to:

  • collect insects in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats,
  • take part in a Linnaean Game to test their knowledge of insects,
  • complete an insect collection to take home,
  • build bugs out of candy,
  • cook with insects,
  • meet several professional entomologists,
  • dissect an insect,
  • compete in an insect mouthparts relay,
  • play the insect game of life ,
  • work a live bee colony, and
  • visit the Butterfly Rainforest.

As is the custom at many scientific meetings, our junior scientists gather for a group portrait.
From left to right, our esteem colleagues are: Harold Pan, Devin Reynolds, Allison Randell, Tyler Gillett,
Matthew Alborn, Daniel Alborn, Nick Demetropoulos, Erik Nipper, Parker Gillett, Emilie Davis and Tessa Owens.

Harold and Erik begin their dissections of an
American cockroach.

Devin opens the abdomen of an American cockroach
to take a peek at the inner workings of that insect.

Dr. Dan Hahn points out important structures
inside Devin's cockroach.

Tessa looks on as Parker opens up their roach. Campers worked
singly, in pairs, and in groups throughout the week.

Nick checks out one of his collected insects
under the dissecting scope.

Graduate students Sharon Clemmensen (left) and
Stephanie Larrick (right) help campers with their dissections.

Dr. Rebecca Baldwin helps Harold open the abdomen of his cockroach. Campers received one-on-one instruction from faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students throughout the week.

Graduate student Matt Thom entices a bessbug (actually a beetle) during the bessbug weight competition. In the competition, strings were tied to bessbugs, then attached to small petri dishes. Students added one washer at a time to determine how much weight a bessbug could pull.

Students put together mini-dramas (92 MB .mov video)
about the life cycle of a chosen insect.

Erik narrates the life-cycle of a butterfly
while his team acts out the process.

Dr. Marc Branham (plaid shirt) shows students how to catch aquatic insects in the Santa Fe River before they go collecting on their own.

Our campers stand on the bank of the Santa Fe River waiting to get wet and go collecting as Dr. Branham describes the aquatic insects they might catch.

Harold, Matthew, Emilie and Nick discuss the day's catch from the Santa Fe River.
The arthropods were placed into a tank for observation.

Campers attempt to collect their own insects
in the Natural Area Teaching Laboratory.

Nick and Allie observe an insect in the net,
while Tessa and Emilie eyeball a nearby grasshopper.

Campers catch insects to add to their pinned collections.

Graduate student Matt Thom shows campers how
to properly pin the butterflies they collected.

Erik spreads a swallowtail butterfly
he caught earlier in the day.

Parker and Emilie examine a completed collection.
Collections like these win prizes at county and state levels.

Dr. Christine Miller (left in light blue) shows campers her greenhouse full
of cactus bugs during that day's "Meet the Scientist" program.

Then it is back to the lab for maggot art, where Harold and Erik work hard to motivate their maggots to crawl around their bookmarks.

Live maggots are dipped in water-based paint and are allowed to wiggle on notecards to produce beautiful abstract designs.

The grand opening of the First Annual Entomology Field Camp Maggot
Art Gallery drew art critics from all around the...
Well, from all around.

Graduate student Stephanie Larrick helps Nick
figure out how to cut his birthday cake into
enough pieces to go around.

Cake does not provide all the nutrients for human growth.
Therefore, we need a protein source, such as mealworms.

Faculty Chef Dr. Rebecca Baldwin instructs her sous-chefs
in the proper preparation of mealworm larvae for quick frying.

Campers watch as the mealworms and a touch of
Mrs. Dash are added to the griddle.

Mealworm cookies for the brave.
Plain cookies for the not-so-brave.

All dressed up and no where to go? Another field trip, and
this time our junior scientists tour the UF/IFAS Bee Biology Unit.

Dr. Jamie Ellis points out a queen bee
at the UF/IFAS Bee Biology Unit.

Students and staff prepare for the cockroach-pulled tractor races.

And they're off!

Devin, Allie and entomology student Maggie Paxson (center)
before entering the "CSI: Crime Scene Insects" exhibit
at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Devin and Matthew talk to a museum
volunteer (left) about the CSI exhibit, which
runs from 8 May 2010 through 17 January 2011.

Daniel reads a sign about wasps at the
Florida Museum of Natural History.

Harold and Nick try to identify a butterfly at the
Butterfly Rainforest in the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Friday afternoon: Entomology Field Camp is over.
It's time to say goodbye to new friends.

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. You can submit news anytime to fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month. Detailed articles, such as this one, must be submitted before the first of the month for that month's newsletter.

Return to the August 2010 issue.