I used to have a summer job in Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World. One of the things I would see time and time again would be parents coming in who had already decided that they ‘didn’t like bugs’, and who would influence their children likewise. However, after just a short conversations where they learned a bit about the insect or spider they were less than keen on, their interest would be sparked and they would say that they would see the animal in question differently in the future (and normally with greater respect).
I only knew a little bit about insects when I was having these conversations, and yet it was still enough to spark interest in even the most sceptical. On the 15th September, people have the opportunity to meet actual specialists in insect research, scientists from the University of Arizona, at the Arizona Insect Festival. I’m sure that this year, like previous years, children but also adults, will have a great time handling insects, playing insect-related games, learning some cool facts and meeting interesting people who spend their lives thinking about insects.
What’s great about outreach like this is that it gives people an opportunity to take the kids for a fun day out, where they will actually learn about the nature around them (both on a local and global scale), but at the same time get to themselves hear about the cutting edge research going on using insects.
For more information see the Arizona insect festival website
For all the insect events happening at the Arizona Insect Festival see this page
Twitter feed @AZInsectFest
BugFest, a similar event happening in North Carolina