- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Cuddle a cockroach? Snuggle with a stick insect?
When UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and Dean Helene Dillard of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently toured the Bohart Museum of Entomology, they praised the scientific research and displays, but neither expressed an interest in cuddling a cockroach or snuggling with a stick insect in the live "petting zoo."
They were more interested in the science.
The news coverage, however, won a gold award (first place) in a competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, covered the event with pen and camera. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, chronicled the history of the museum, relating that Professor Richard M. Bohart founded the insect museum in 1946. Now located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, it houses nearly 8 million insect specimens, plus a gift shop and the petting zoo.
Garvey headlined her news story, "To Boldly Go," referencing the theme of Chancellor May's 10-year strategic planning process launched in 2017. May, a Star Trek enthusiast, chose the theme to bring together everyone's bold ideas "to propel us to accomplish things we've only dreamed of in the past."
"So does the chancellor 'boldy go' into a museum with nearly eight million insect specimens and a live 'petting zoo' of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking insects, scorpions, tarantulas and praying mantises?" Garvey asked in her news story.
"Does he 'boldly go' to see a rose-haired tarantula named Coco McFluffin, a scorpion named Hamilton, and an orchid praying mantis named Marsha? And dozens of Madagascar hissing cockroaches fondly nicknamed 'Hissers?'"
"He does. Of course, he does!"
Judges lauded the coverage. "This great range of photos captures the event well," they wrote in their critique. "The diversity of angles, shot size, people, and insects make an interesting guide through the article. Definitely fulfilled the service mission, making a nice shareable piece for the university and the other involved entities...It's a good glimpse into the museum for people who can't visit and generates interest for those who can. Though the article explained the chancellor and dean were not keen on interacting with the insects, it would have been nice to have a photo of them smiling. They don't look very comfortable, though they do look interested...Great work, nice coverage." (See entry at https://bit.ly/2LJE65i.)
The award was one of 10 that communicators affiliated with UC Davis will receive at the ACE conference set June 24-27 in San Antonio, Texas. Communications coordinator Steve Elliott of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center won four, including two golds:
- A gold award for writing for the web for his "Preparing for the Invasion: Emerald Ash Borer in Colorado" (See entry: https://bit.ly/2YBaRTT)
- A gold award for writing within a specialized publications for “Learning to Manage – and Live with – Coyotes in Southern California.” (See entry: https://bit.ly/2LLFjZY)
- A silver award (second place) for the center's electronic newsletter, highlighting integrated pest management research, issues, funding opportunities, jobs and meetings each month. Issues available at (See entry: https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s)
- A bronze award (third place), with Will Suckow, for the Western IPM Center website (www.westernipm.org)
Science writer Gregory Watry of the College of Biological Sciences won a silver award in the promotional writing category for his story, ‘Feeding the Future: Growing Stronger Crops.” (Entry: https://bit.ly/2vZYZyz)
Garvey also won several other awards:
- A silver award for a feature photo of a honey bee covered with mustard pollen. (Entry: https://bit.ly/2I82fi2)
- A bronze award (third place) for "The Bee Man" newspaper story on Norm Gary, emeritus professor of entomology, book author, and retired bee wrangler (Entry: https://bit.ly/2w3yW9m)
- A bronze award for writing within a specialized publication. This was a feature on "Bugs and Beats," published in Entomology Today, a publication of the Entomological Society of America, and featuring the Entomology Band of UC Davis graduate students (Entry: https://bit.ly/2JHIfEa)
- A bronze award for her Bug Squad blog, "When Queen Bees Get Permanents," showcasing the art of Karissa Merritt, UC Davis entomology student, in a Bohart Museum calendar (Entry: https://bit.ly/2BWV7Ch)
ACE, headquartered in Morton Grove, Ill., and founded in 1913., is a non-profit international association of communications, educators and information technologists.