This past Saturday, Conservation Specialist, Emma Rich, and I attended an awesome event called Bugfest! We had so much fun while we were there and our very large table seemed to be quite the hit.
We had pollinator stickers and coloring pages, information on how to protect native pollinators, and lots of cool insects from my collection, including the biggest beetles, stick insects, and wasps I have, as well as some native pollinator and beneficial species. I have been raising Tobacco Hornworm and Black Swallowtail caterpillars and was able to bring live hornworms (which people really liked) as well as a couple of hornworm pupa and swallowtail chrysalis. We also had some aquatic critters which we were able to share using our digital microscope.
I went out collecting the day before the event to catch as many aquatic insects as I could. I know it's hard to see, but the in the image below there are two dragonfly nymphs in that top circle (a clubtail and a cruiser, for those with interest) and the circle on the right has a diving beetle. We looked at another very young dragonfly nymph, a skimmer, on our digital camera and people loved watching it swim around. Believe it or not, there were actually nine dragonfly larvae and no less than 15 damselfly larvae in this sample, though we had more than a little difficulty finding them. I tried to give them lots of habitat, to make the experience less traumatic for them, but it made it almost impossible to find them. Nevertheless, people are always surprised to learn that dragonfly babies live in the water, so I love to bring them to events whenever possible.
These were all collected at Little Creek Reservoir in Toano, VA the day before the event and were promptly returned on my way home from it.
Amusingly, there is a single Muscovy Duck (I have named him Sebastian) that is always present whenever I am collecting at the reservoir, and this collecting day was no different. Here's a shot of Sebastian and I just hanging out on the shoreline. I have some great video footage of us both filtering the water to look for critters... though with very different intentions.
It was such a fun day at Bugfest - the organizers did a great job, the visitors were so enthusiastic, and we were able to roll out our new Colonial Pollinator Pledge (more to come about this)!
Thank you to all who made this such a special event for us!