Outreach

Kent House Bug Day 2011

IDIP employee Rab Olatinwo answered questions and showed insects.

The Kent House Bug Day has grown over the past five years to become a major educational opportunity for the public to experience hands-on entomological activities, interact with Forest Service scientists, and enjoy a day on the historic Kent House grounds.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Kent Plantation House is an authentic Creole plantation house built circa 1796. The home and grounds are beautifully maintained and provide a wonderful touring experience for the local public and visitors.

Being centrally located and a national landmark, Kent House made an ideal location to host an informative, interactive science event for the children of central Louisiana. Kent House regularly hosts other education events such as Archaeology Day in October and Sugar Day in November. When approached by SRS employees about hosting a “buggy” event, the Kent House saw this as another opportunity to provide the public with quality programming. In addition, SRS saw this as an excellent opportunity to host an outreach event at a great locality at no expense.

Children enjoyed IDIP's insect displays and educational information.

The 5th Annual Kent House Bug Day sponsored by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station had 875 people in attendance. Touching creepy crawly bugs and hearing about their impacts on our natural world is what Bug Day guests get to do. Not only does Bug Day feature insects, but also their close relatives. There were tarantulas to view along with critters that eat insects such as a bearded dragon, toads, salamanders and snakes.

A huge hit in the night insect room was the Emperor Scorpion which reflected UV light turning from black to turquoise. Always very popular were the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and giant cave cockroaches which have a 5-inch wingspan. “I’m glad that is not a native roach,” was a common sentiment expressed that day.

Children enjoyed IDIP's insect displays and educational information.

Attendees also learned how to save our native pollinator insects by building a native bee box, receiving flower seed to plant, and obtain instructions on how to limit pesticide use. In addition to the pollinator and night insect stations, attendees also learned about honey bees, big bugs, little bugs, invaders (Emerald Ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle, and Sirex wood wasp), beetles, and what baby bugs eat at the baby bug food station. Hearing, “I didn’t know that!” was the reward of all those who worked so hard to make this event possible.