Busy Week as Always

This weekend we went to 4-H day at the Florida State Fair. I enjoyed seeing the DPI display, talking to the UF bugs people and seeing all the fair exhibits. We dont do the rides but enjoy the expo halls. I found a cool plant booth and spent far too much on orchids, clippings, succulents and other fun things for landscaping some of my pet cages.

My OCE class had a field trip to the beach to learn about longshore currents. Sadly the experiment didn’t work as planned but we had fun trying. I helped set the lines and dump the dye since most people weren’t willing to go into the water since it was so chilly.

We also had another extra credit talk to attend on bats. Mom and E came to this one and hung out on the other side of the room. I learned more about bats then I ever thought possible! It was a spectacular program.

SPC Honors College Conference

This is my first honors college conference. I opted to take it easy this year and see how all of this is done. I entered my artwork on insect adaptations. I enjoyed sitting through the talks from my class mates and the poster sessions. My favorite part though was talking about my artwork. I love talking bout insects and photography.

My work was selected to represent SPC at the Southern Regional Honors Conference in March in Birmingham, Alabama. I am a bit nervous to travel solo, I will be with the crew from SPC but to me it is solo without immediate family. I have a hotel room to myself and an evening of talking about my artwork. I am excited but nervous. I am the youngest student to be going so I hope that everything works out okay.

I am also serving as an ad hoc member of the education and outreach committee for the Entomological Society of America. I had to login to a zoom call and learn bout what the plans are for the conference in November in Orlando. I was very nervous and couldn’t really get a chance to speak. I am sure things will go better for me on the next call.

Extra Credit

The one thing I like about my classes this term is that I can earn extra credit for attending various events around the county. This week I did three events, Brooker Creek, Moccasin Lake and Tarpon Aquarium. Moccasin Lake Park had a Fantastic Beasts themed event. I got to meat the hawks, learn about snakes, turtles , plants and so much more. Tarpon Aquarium was a fun trip as well. I advent been there since I was really little. I enjoyed the slower pace, spending lots of time talking with the owners and their daughter, Paige. I am excited for their new location soon.

When we got home from the aquarium it was insanely windy. We opted to go fly a kite in the yard. The winds were so strong we moved the kite flying to the park. This front pushing in is going to bring some big storms.

Brooker Creek Insect Outreach

Today I took my collection and vast insect knowledge to Brooke Creek Preserve to help Mr. James with a presentation. Students from SPC were coming out today to learn about insects. I was there to support the program, show my collections and answer questions. We had a lovely time learning about insects in the classroom then went on a longer hike to see what we could find. I was able to help ID specimens and help answer questions along the paths. I absolutely love doing these outreaches. I even wore my SPC hoodie and was introduced as a Dual Enrolled student.

4-H Insectathon 2020

Insectathon is hands down my favorite 4-H Florida event. Each year we meet and compete in an identification, collection, and knowledge contest. This year I worked very hard on my collection and managed to place 1st with all of my collections (general, specialty and education).

I had to give an educational talk about my themed box in front of the judges. I held my cool and shared my vast knowledge of the insects and their awesome adaptations. All the photos in my presentation were taken myself. My art project “Wonderful World of Entomology” also received a first place ribbon. Our senior team additionally placed first after a fun battle in the Linaean Games.

When it came time for the awards I was nervous. I had really worked hard for this event this year. I ended up placing first in seniors and not only got a cool ribbon but I was awarded a renewable scholarship if I come to UF to study entomology. Dr. Baldwin has been so supportive of this program and I appreciate that 4-H and UF have provided this opportunity for youth like me to grow and develop while cramming our heads full of all sorts of entomology knowledge. I have a solid foundation and understanding of what I want to do in the future. 4-H life skills have taught me a lot and allowed me these wonderful opportunities. Next year I return but can’t compete. So I will be a volunteer and helping with our team to grow and develop them even more. I love everything that this opportunity gives to me and more.