Monday, August 25, 2008

Bug Fest !

Sunday, August 24th was Southeastway Park's 16th Annual Bug Fest. What a day! Hundreds of folks came by the carloads to partake in this FREE family event. We had around 1400 visitors spending the day outside and learning about bugs. I want to thank all our volunteers and station leaders. We couldn't have done it without your help!

There were quite a few lines to see some of our great station leaders and their displays.
And here are some of the highlights:

Dawn VanDeman from Eagle Creek Park had a fascinating station about monarch tagging. She had some monarch caterpillar friends for all to marvel at, too.

Speaking of caterpillars, one of our summer campers who has eagle eyes, Braden Fielding, spotted this critter crawling on a tree. This is an Io moth caterpillar and will turn into an awesome moth with eyespots. It apparently had heard about Bug Fest and wanted to check it out!
Barbara Reger, a.k.a. The Tarantula Teacher, a noted author and expert on tarantulas, brought some of her collection. Here a brave young participant is seeing firsthand just what a big, hairy tarantula feels like on ones skin.
This is a Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula, Theraphosa blondi, from South America and it is only half grown! Yep, gonna get a LOT bigger. They usually reach about a foot in size. Note Barbara's arm in the picture for reference. I love spiders, and usually don't mind when I find one on me when I am out in the field. But, I think if I suddenly discovered this bad boy crawling on me, I would probably flip out! The name comes from explorers who witnessed one such spider eating a hummingbird. Their usual prey are crickets and other invertebrates.

This is one of our day campers, Hope Long, and she is eating a chocolate covered bug. Actually, they are quite good and taste a lot like Kit-Kat bars. Mmmmmmmm!!! I guess about anything will taste good covered in chocolate!
My personal thoughts on the cheddar-cheese crickets and Mexican spice larvets is I could go a loooonnnggg time without eating them and not miss them one bit :) Not a fav, I will have to say. Michele is a great salesperson, getting squeamish people fired up to sample the Bug Cafe' fare.

The Indianapolis Flycasters tied fishing flies for our guests. Boy are they talented and quick!

Here is John Moore with his collection of scorpions. Under a UV light, this scorpion glows a brilliant blue. Wow! How cool is that!

The lovely Rachel Quigley(in tan) from Holliday Park is assisting with the Cricket Spitting, one of our most popular stations. Place a cricket in your mouth, take a deep breath, and let that critter fly! Make sure you floss your teeth well after this event! The World Record for Cricket Spitting is 32 and a half feet. We had one participant, Andy S., who reached 28 feet, 5 inches. Wow!

Here are the top five results:

Adult Division
1. Andy S.-28 ft., 5 in.
2. Eric M. -26 ft., 7 in.
2. Mikel J. -26 ft., 7 in.
3. Michael B. -24 ft., 6 in.
4. Ken H. -23 ft., 11 in.

Youth Division
1. Levi C. 25 ft.
2. Travis N. -18 ft., 2 in.
3. Jacob M. -17 ft., 5 in.
4. Dustin - 17 ft.
5. Matthew Nichols -16 ft., 7 in.

We had a few wonderful Girl Scout Troops assisting with the crafts. We really appreciate them helping out with this very, very busy station! Here they are making buggy bookmarks from pom-poms and craft sticks.

A good day had by all. If you didn't make it this year, come next year. Bring the whole fam. Mark your calendar-Bug Fest will be Sunday August 30th, 2009.

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