I helped to host the 4-H Thanksgiving Break Entomology Day Camp. We had 15 youth in camp. I spent many hours planning and organizing for this camp. Mom allowed me free rein to organize everything since I was earning volunteer hours for the program development and implementation. We had several art projects for the kids including: paining with super worms, create-a-bug and bug murals. We also learned about life cycles of insects and then the youth received super worm cultures so that they could observe the life-cycle. We spent a lot of time in the fields collecting. We even had a few kids really skilled at sweep netting and catching grasshoppers. One of the girls asked if I could help her dig in the compost bin, OF COURSE! Together with the help of a few other eager youth we found grubs, millipedes, ants, and beetles. Our snack-time was insect themed too. We had ants on a log (almond butter on celery topped with raisins), chocolate chirp cookies and flavored grasshoppers and mealworms. I was shocked that more of the girls were willing to try then the boys. It was a fantastic camp and I hope to host many more of these when I have free time in my college schedule.
Dad and I flew up to St. Louis for a week. I was attending the Entomological Society of Americas annual conference. We arrived a few days early and enjoyed some old haunts in the area. I went to City Museum twice and also to the St. Louis Zoo to see the Insectarium.
The conference was epic. I really had a fun time attending various outreach programs, speakers and seminars. I absolutely loved the Linnaean Games! It was wonderful to cheer on UF and see them win this year.
One of the programs I attended we worked on building this giant ant out of paper. We had it hanging from strings that were tossed over the rafters. After quite a lot of work and near completion we were instructed that we had to dismantle our creation due to some rules violation. I guess no one every asked permission or if they did, asked the wrong person.
This conference made me fairly solid in my future path that I for sure want to study entomology. I am still stuck on what my focus will be. I really enjoy the outreach part of it, teaching others what I know but also the collection and research end of it. I hope to continue to go to these conferences so that I can continue to be exposed to more in this field.
We booked with amazing trip with CMERA for our 4-H club. We had a few spots open so were about to bring some non-club members and friends. We went up north to the Weeki Wachee River. The kayaks were completely clear and we could see everything the spring fed waters. We saw a lot of manatees and were able to observe them for a long time. We even saw quite a few calves in the warm waters for winter. We had a biologist guide who filled us with knowledge of all things along the river. I love doing outings with CMERA and 4-H.
Today our club had a guest speaking and hike guide, Ms. Christine Leonard. She is a grad student at USF and part of her studies have led her to have learned a LOT about galls. Galls are made by various insects so this topic was perfect for our 4-H Entomology club. We learned what we need to look for, found samples, identified samples and even looked inside samples. It was really amazing how many various ways galls appear and how much we had overlooked them in the past. We are now junior gall experts and are eager to share our knowledge with the world!
This year for Farm City I was also a youth volunteer. I showed up really early to help the organizers set up tables and chairs for the various groups. I also helped the Farm Bureau set up their entire booth. That was tough because I had to unload boxes and boxes of pies and they all looked so yummy. I managed to not eat them! Then I swapped over to help out the 4-H clubs that were arriving to get their spots and get set up. We didn’t have a lot of club members come out so I had to run our booth with Emmerson most fo the day. Maleah came the last hour since we had to leave a little early. I had fun helping kids play our carnival games.