What’s ‘bugging’ them?
SSU entomology dept. hosts first ‘Insecta-Palooza’
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By Bonnie Petty  October 29, 2009 03:43 pm

All three floors of Darwin Hall on the Sonoma State University campus were abuzz Saturday as an estimated 700 visitors swarmed the exhibits for the entomology department’s first Insecta-Palooza.
Various classrooms and labs were set up for lectures, interactive displays, computer stations and a live insect zoo, which children especially enjoyed.
In another lab, high-powered microscopes gave viewers an up-close look at the tiny, strange world of insect anatomy. Docents led visitors on garden tours throughout the day, and, in a nod to the International Day of Climate Action, one display made the case for reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the health of the planet and everything on it. Clearly, the theme of the day was the importance of a healthy insect population to the health of all life.
The focus on a direct, hands-on, educational experience was key to the event’s success. Trained helpers, wearing “worker bee” T-shirts and sparkly gold antennae were stationed everywhere answering dozens of questions from children
and adults, assisting with microscopes and computers and somehow managing the controlled chaos.
For children who couldn’t get enough of the real bugs, there was an opportunity to make their own bugs out of wire, egg cartons, paint and rubber stamps. Naturally, some came away with more paint on themselves than on their creations-and that didn’t even include the face-painting booth where little cheeks were adorned with butterflies.
The family-friendly event was also a benefit for the Entomology Department’s programs, which included a silent auction with a generous selection of donated products and services from an amazing array of local supporters. Several local organizations also participated with booths showcasing their services and selling everything from books to Venus flytrap plants.

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