Sunday, May 19, 2019

HumBug: School Days

Posted By on Sun, May 19, 2019 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge Mantis selfie got the best laugh from the kids. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Mantis selfie got the best laugh from the kids.

I was recently invited to give a slide show and talk to the second graders at a local school. Everytime I do this, we have fun. This time I think everyone had a question or story to share. Both good and bad, insects are something they could relate to, serving as a gateway to the sciences.

Big closeups of wasps and spiders were a favorite, but number one was the mantis selfie shot.

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One new feature of this talk was a small improvised collection. Just nine specimens in a shortbread tin lined with corrugated cardboard showed them it's not that hard to do. I found most of the bugs already dead or dying.

Pinning insects is a skill that has stayed with me through the years. When I was about 7 or 8, I made a few bucks pinning insects and making cigar box collections for my brother's high school biology classmates. They invariably got As.
click to enlarge Rubber boa, this one is about 18 inches long. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Rubber boa, this one is about 18 inches long.

Lately the rainy weather has made it more difficult to find interesting critters to photograph so I went to my fall back plan: Look under rocks and boards. Occasionally I find something completely surprising, like a rubber boa (Charina bottae).
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