Last Friday and Saturday, The Crosby Arboretum hosted the 7th annual BUGFEST! The two day event attracted about 1000 visitors, the highest Bugfest in Arboretum history.
With only a few staff members and a handful of Arboretum Volunteers, it was amazing that the event was pulled off so well. The visitor parking lot was filled both days and overflow parking had to be used.
Thank you to everyone who showed patience with parking and admissions.
The event, while coordinated by MSU Crosby Arboretum, is held mostly due to the participation of MSU Associate Extension Professor Dr. John Guyton. He and his graduate and undergraduate students, not to mention past Bugcampers, work to introduce visitors young and old to insect collecting and identification.
On Friday morning, visitors were greeted by Arboretum Volunteers and ushered to the Gift Shop for admission. Arboretum Volunteer Jean MacInnis worked hard leading groups from the front back to the event.
Guests ventured from the Visitor Parking lot through the Arrival Journey (woods).
After paying and getting their hand stamped, it was off to the exhibits!
Buddy Broadway, local beekeeper, answered questions and talked to folks about bees, honey and beekeeping.
The USDA APHIS housed in Biloxi, Mississippi presented information on invasive insects and those that are a threat to Mississippi.
Slush Factory Snoballs provided cool, tasty snoball treats for just a couple bucks!
After arriving, Friday guests were seated for a brief orientation that included instruction on the proper use of the insect collecting equipment.
From there they checked out equipment in groups of three from Crosby Arboretum Volunteers. Arboretum Volunteers and staff prepared and filled jars for collecting during September.
Visitors strolled the Arboretum trails looking for insects in all sorts of places. These children in the image below were viewed collecting across the Piney Woods Pond.
Children had fun practicing “sweeping” with their nets, even when they didn’t catch many “bugs”.
Once they were finished collecting, they returned to the Pinecote Pavilion to have their collected insects identified ,and in most cases, pinned.
Live collection and ID with a return to the Arboretum was also an option for those not interested in killing and pinning insects.
I saw many wonderful pinned collections. Everyone was able to take home their “pinned insects” on foam core mounted boards that were cut last Sunday by Arboretum Staff Member Terry Johnson.
Many fine insect collections were available for guests to view and admire!
The USDA ARS was represented by Dr. Blair Sampson who assisted with id and collections.
A live, active beehive was available for viewing and visitors could ask questions of an MSU Extension Associate.
Friday night and Saturday morning Arboretum Volunteer and area teacher Mary Cordray hosted the Buggy Midway with fun activities for children! Arboretum Volunteers assisted.
The Children’s Medical Group provided information on insect stings and bites.
Friday night in the Pinecote Pavilion was breathtaking and fun.
Viewing the insect collections at night was perhaps even more beautiful than during the day!
Dr. Guyton brought cool commemorative t-shirts that sold for $20.
The roach races brought lots of excitement. Folks gathered around the Portentosa Speedway! Volunteers conducted the roach races every so many minutes Friday evening and Saturday. (would you like to Volunteer to run the roach races next September 2014? Contact me next summer!)
I laughed myself silly when I learned that portentosa is the species name for Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (the roaches being raced).
Their scientific name is Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa).
Where else can you cheer on roaches in a ROACH RACE AND perhaps adopt the winner?
Saturday, Crystie Baker with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science had a table and talked about insects and insect predators such as bats and toads. Kids could also create a pipe-cleaner butterfly to take home.
The Audubon Nature Institute BUGMOBILE was at the Arboretum on Saturday morning.
The Audubon staff did a wonderful job engaging the audience.
The Bugmobile was made possible by the generous donations of two Arboretum Foundation Board Members: Ruth Cook and Fay Bright. THANK YOU! (Interested in helping out with educational opportunities through a donation? Call Pat Drackett, Arboretum Director 601-799-2311).
Hungry? Not if you stopped by Saturday afternoon! Dr. Guyton cooked up meal worms in rice and folks could get a free sample of the yummy creations. (Yes, I did taste some too.)
Dr. and Mrs. Peggy Guyton created a “photo stand-in” and a grasshopper sign for our event. THANK YOU!
It was a great event for families:
And frequent visitors of the Arboretum alike:
I would like to thank the following Crosby Arboretum Volunteers for their hard work preparing for and working this annual event: Robin Craft, Lillie Burton, Amy LeMien, Brenda Myers, Diane Lafferty, Mary Cordray, Harriet Greulich, Cindy & Dick Murchison, Sue Stine, Heidi Forgione (and son Mickey), Tim Chastain (and son Nick), Paul and Jean MacInnis,Teri Borne and Reba Beebe (Arboretum Foundation Board Member). I sure hope I didn’t miss anyone.
Many of us put in 13-14 hours on Friday. It was a lot of work, but a good time. If you would like to be an exhibitor with a table or Volunteer to help out next year, please contact me at 601-799-2311 ext 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please enjoy this slideshow of ~150images that I captured Friday and Saturday:
I will try to get video posted to our Youtube channel by the end of the week.
Lastly, here is a photo of me greeting newly arriving guests on Friday.
Sr. Curator, R. Stafne
All images and text copyright Mississippi State University, 2011-2013