Friday, May 14, 2010

Nebraska Kids Learn about Pests At Nature Nights

Last night was "Nature Nights" at a local Lincoln elementary school. This program, put on by the Nebraska Natural Resources District, encourages parents to bring their children to participate in various stations that focus on environmental and scientific areas. This was a perfect opportunity to introduce kids (and adults!) to pests and how to identify them! (trivia: did you know Nebraska even has scorpions ?!)

My station included two pest display cases, a microscope that projected onto a flatscreen, live Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and some "pest evidence," such as termite damage, frass, and sticky traps full of insects. The kids were very intrigued and were asking all sorts of questions! Of course they loved the Madagascar roaches and wanted to hold them. It was a great way to introduce how they differ from their pest cousins, the American, German, and Oriental cockroaches, for which I had pinned specimens to show.

Kids were also sent home with Pest Private Eye comic books to teach them more about pests and IPM! It's never too early to learn about this concept, and my hope is that such youth programs will provide children with a take home message they can use and also pass along to their parents and peers.

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