This past Saturday we held our second annual Insect-O-Rama at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Northwest Regional Office in St. Joseph. It was a resounding success. We had 239 people attend the two hour event. Children of all ages enjoyed visiting the different stations we had set up throughout the building and outside.
Here are a few people registering for the give-a-ways we put together just for the event. We had a children's basket full of all sorts of neat goodies, like insect guides, a flashlight, giant plastic bugs, a journal, ant farm, and various other little surprises. The adults registered to win two different framed insect prints, provided by yours truly.
Here are a few of our visitors checking out some of the exhibits in the conference room. We had a Lost Lady Bug table. Rebecca Smyth from Cornell University sent us some wonderful handouts to share with the public telling all about the Ladybug Project.
Andrew (below, in green shirt) is a freshman at MWSU in St. Joseph and agreed to help us out. He was in charge of a collection of exotic insects. He also brought a sample of butterflies that he had collected. He even brought a live Missouri Scorpion, which turned out to be a big hit with the children. Andrew was pretty brave in handling the little scorpion. Thankfully he didn't get stung or our visitors might have been given a really interesting education on why we don't handle wild creatures. LOL.
Kendra, a wonderfully sweet girl from the health department set up a great informational booth on Ticks and Mosquitoes. She handed out free bug spray and brochures. The information she provides is invaluable to the public, and we are grateful for her help.
The butterfly ladies, Betsy Betros, and Joyce Bollman came back this year and they brought a friend with them, Linda Williams. Their booth was the hit of the show, and whats not to love about cute little caterpillars and beautiful butterflies. Joyce raises Monarchs, and brought with her, numerous specimens in various stages of development. Some of the children even got to handle the monarchs and release them. Linda brought several different species of butterfly and moth caterpillars. She had Monarchs, Spicebush and many others. Betsy is the author of a wonderful book titled "Butterflies of Kansas City". It is a great photographic field guide that anyone living in Missouri should own. The information is given in simple terms, the photos are superb (Many taken by Linda). If anyone is interested in purchasing her book, I will be happy to put you contact with her, just email me.
The day was beautiful, the rain predicted for the day held off and we had sunshine and warm temperatures, which made it a perfect day to go explore the pond. MDC's very own Scott Ryan (fisheries biologist), set up his post near the pond and provided the kids with nets and let them muck around in the mud searching for dragonfly larvae, mayfly larvae, and various other larvae that make the water their home. Some even caught minnows and I suspect a few frogs were scooped up as well. It was all in good fun, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and no one fell in the pond!
When each person arrived at the front door they were given a trivia sheet, they were asked to visit each station to get a question on the sheet answered. When they had their sheet filled out they could turn it in to claim a prize. Each child was given a prize and no one went away emtpy handed. The questions were designed to encourage families to work together to find the answers. A sample questions: What mythical Greek God dipped his arrows in Honey? The answer--- "Cupid".
I want to send out a collective THANK YOU to each of the persons who participated and helped make this event the success that it was. We couldn't have done it without you. We hope to see you all again next year!