Wings in the Park

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Thanks to my boyfriend, who’s a doctoral student studying entomology, I have learned quite a bit about insects, specifically pollinators, over the course of the last 2.5 years. He works specifically with honeybees, but has learned quite a bit about other pollinators, insects, and even spiders during both undergrad and graduate work.

This past weekend Gabe helped out at a local event called Wings in the Park. It takes place at Tudek Park, which boasts space for community gardens, a walking path, sport fields, a playground, and a large butterfly garden. The event, which takes place each summer, is family friendly and serves to teach all about the importance and impact pollinators have on our lives and environment. While it takes places around the butterfly garden, the families learn about all kinds of pollinators from butterflies to bees to wasps, foods that require pollinators to exist, and how to grow a pollinator friendly garden in their own backyard.

While Gabe was working with his lab mates at the table for The Center for Pollinator Research, I wandered around checking out what all was offered to those in attendance. Gabe’s table proved quite popular as they had a live bumble bee colony, as well as a frame from a honeybee colony to show the kids what the inside of a colony looks like. Check out photos of their table here.

The kids all received passports that were stamped at each table they visited. And while I’m sure it could be tempting to just ask for the stamp and move on, almost all the kids and their parents seemed genuinely interested in learning and participated actively in all activities.

Here are some pictures from my walk.

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This shows a what we could eat if we have and do not have pollinators. The stuff on the left are all foods that need pollinators to exist. The foods on the right are examples of items that don't need pollinators. What would you rather eat?

This shows what we could eat if we have and do not have pollinators. The things on the left are all foods that need pollinators to exist. The foods on the right are examples of items that don’t need pollinators. What would you rather eat?

I took this picture through an infrared filter. It shows you how bees see the world. They don't really see the colors of green and yellow,

I took this picture through an infrared filter. It shows you how bees see the world. They don’t really see the colors of green and yellow.

Various species of bumble bees were very prevalent in the park.

Various species of bumble bees were very prevalent in the park.

I love ladybugs and couldn't resist snapping a photo of the only one I could find.

I love ladybugs and couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the only one I could find.

Not sure what this lil guy is, but there were many of them on one particular plant.

Not sure what this lil guy is, but there were many of them on one particular plant.

Black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite flowers.

Black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite flowers.

Love the vibrant color!

Love the vibrant color!

This flower was so bright it seemed to be glowing.

This flower was so bright it seemed to be glowing.

Overall, it seemed like a great event and was very well attended. I’m really glad my community offers events like this to the public. It’s educational, but a lot of fun for all. If you have events like this in your hometown, regardless of the topic, I highly recommend checking them out.

Question: Do you have outreach events like this in your area? Have you ever been to one?

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