by Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist
Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to help with a very cool event in Muhlenberg County. It was called Bugging Out, and it happened during the school day at Muhlenberg South Worksheet School. The goals of the event were to reinforce 4th grade science content and to introduce 4-H Entomology projects.
The event was organized by Judy McGehee. She's a part of the 4-H staff in the Muhlenberg Co. Extension Office. Her vision was to give kids an entire day of entomology. This is very rare: a typical student will see only a few minutes of entomology instruction during an entire elementary-school career!
The day started with classroom instruction, where students learned the basics of insect collecting (which is what the 4-H Entomology project is all about) and some fun stuff about the insect world. Then the students got to spend time collecting insects in the fields next to the school. Our hope is that some of these kids will go on to make 4-H Entomology collections and enter them in the County and State Fairs: one of the students from last year's Bugging Out event won the county contest and placed at the St. Fair.
Our thanks go out to the 4th-grade teachers at Muhlenberg South. They were willing to rearrange their entire schedule to accommodate our ento-activities. Also, prior to the event, the teachers used classroom time to teach their kids some of the entomology basics. They weren't just donating their time, though: one of the things that Judy was able to show the teachers is that insects can be used to teach several different KERA science concepts, including: structure and function, classification, and ecosystems.
We also had a surprise guest at the event. Ryan, one of the contributors to this blog, came to work with the students. He is a high-school senior from Muhlenberg County, and we first met him at our week-long Entomology Leadership Program last June. When he heard about the Bugging Out event, he received permission from his high-school to spend the second half of the day with us.
Jeff Franklin and Katie Pratt from UK's College of Ag Communications Service were also on-hand to cover the event. There is a written article here, and you can see a video on the College of Ag's YouTube Channel here: