- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The 3000 third graders who attended the annual Youth Ag Day on Tuesday, March 14 on the Solano County Fairgrounds, Vallejo, learned their ABC's--of bugs--at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's booth.
- A is for “awesome”
- B is for “bugs”
- C is for “cool”
Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum and volunteers Alex Nguyen, Noah Crockette and Parras McGrath, kept busy from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as youngsters admired the specimens, ranging from butterflies to beetles; held Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks; and took more photos than you can shake a stick at.
Squeals of delight punctuated Exposition Hall. This was Bug World Unfolded!
With hands thrust up—“I wanna hold one!”—and heads, shoulders, hands and cameras crushed together, they took turns holding the insects. The consensus: “Hey, I found these really cool bugs that I've never seen before and I got to hold them and photograph them.”
Yang answered hundreds of questions as did the three Bohart volunteers: Nguyen, who holds a bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis, and high school students Noah Crockette and Parras McGrath.
Crockette, who won the 2015 senior award from the Coleopterists Society, participated in the 10-day Bohart Bioblitz last summer in Belize.
At the Bohart booth, the third graders giggled as the walking sticks “tickled” them on their arms. In another corner, the Madagascar hissing cockroaches offered their obligatory hisses.
The annual Youth Ag Day is a collaborative effort of the Solano County Fair and agricultural related businesses, organizations, farmers, ranchers and other individuals to encourage Solano County third graders to experience agriculture first-hand, according to the fair officials. The third graders learn about cows, chickens, llamas, goats, honey bees, pollinators, and fruits and vegetables. The free event is designed to give the youngsters the opportunity to learn about food and fiber production from new perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the agricultural wealth of Solano County.
The Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, UC Davis campus. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it houses nearly 8 million insect specimens from all over the world. It also includes a live petting zoo, showcasing Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas, and a gift shop, featuring T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
One of the major attractions are the Bohart Museum open houses, held on many weekends of the academic year. All are free and open to the public.
The next open house is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19. The theme: “Eggs to Wings: Backyard Butterfly Gardening.”
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/