'Bugs Are Green' at Penn State's Great Insect Fair

University Park, Pa. -- Out of concern for our natural resources, many people recycle waste materials. But they may not realize that insects are the ultimate recyclers.

Visitors to Penn State's Great Insect Fair, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 2, can discover how bugs help us recycle in the environment. Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Department of Entomology, the fair will take place in the Snider Agricultural Arena, at the corner of Park Avenue and Fox Hollow Road (across from Beaver Stadium) on the University Park campus.

"Leaves, dead branches and even animal dung all are recycled by insects such as beetles, roaches, earwigs and crickets," said Steven Jacobs, senior extension associate in entomology and fair coordinator. "Many people aren't aware of the important role these insects play in helping decompose and break down organic waste that would otherwise accumulate in our forests."

This year's fair also will feature games such as "Wasp Warriors," in which kids can pretend to be a beneficial insect by running a course to deposit a wasp egg on a cardboard caterpillar, then proceeding to a station to receive nutrition before getting another egg.

Organizers say other fun and interactive events are being planned to appeal to people of all ages:

-- Build-A-Bug Competition: Bring your homemade insect for judging and a chance to win prizes (see rules and guidelines).

-- Insect Olympics

-- Cockroach Races

-- Putt Putt Golf

-- Butterfly Tent: Interact with live butterflies.

-- Insect Petting Zoo: See and touch many fascinating, live insects from around the world.

-- Insect Deli: Featuring infamous "Chocolate Chirpies" (chocolate-covered crickets).

-- Ladybug Theater

-- Live Musical Entertainment

-- Children's Games and Crafts

-- Face Painting

-- Insect Vendors: Shop for insect pets and insect arts, crafts, books and t-shirts.

-- The BugMobile!: Learn about insects and integrated pest management while chatting with the one and only talking car.

Admission to the Great Insect Fair is free, although donations will be accepted to help defray costs. Free parking is available at the Snider Agricultural Arena and across Park Avenue behind the Centre County/Penn State Visitor Center. For more information, call the Department of Entomology at 814-865-1895 or visit the event's website at http://agsci.psu.edu/insect-fair online.

Established in 1963, Penn State's Department of Entomology provides undergraduate education, graduate student training and extension outreach education focusing on both domestic and international issues in insect science and pest management. Twenty-three faculty and more than 30 graduate students work on a variety of research topics providing insights into insect ecology, behavior and molecular biology as well as integrated pest management. The department is part of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

For more information about solving insect problems, descriptions of research and education programs or admission to the graduate program, visit http://ento.psu.edu/ or call 814-865-1895.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010