This year in the youth building there is a booth that is home to twenty-eight different species of bugs which include praying mantises spiders and even cockroaches. The booth is a big hit for people of all ages, but tries to interest children the most. I spoke to Dr. Linda S. Rayor a professor from Cornell University in Ithaca NY, who specializes in spiders was the head of the booth and she said that most of the time it’s the parents who are afraid and the children who are fascinated. The booth is very interactive, and all of the people working at it are Entomology majors or graduates, so they know lots of interesting things and can answer questions well, it also means that they love what they’re doing so they seem very energetic and cheerful. The reason most of the volunteers are college majors is that kids find them more relatable and see them as better role models, they also have the energy that children need.
Dr. Rayor said “If you don’t give people exposure to things, they can’t appreciate and preserve it.” So she believes that it’s very important to branch out to children and engage their interest so they can appreciate bugs more. They must be doing something right because the same kids come back year after year, and they seem just as excited as the year before. The booth is very kid friendly, and there is even a stick insect available to hold. It is very impressive and engaging, and even though it is geared towards kids, adults will find it very captivating as well and is definitely a must see. If you would like to learn more about their Naturalist Outreach program they have education YouTube videos at their naturalistoutreach channel and they are also on Facebook under the same name. If you would like more information feel free to go to their website blogs.cornell.edu/naturalistoutreach.