Kids can explore fascinating world of insects at Bug Camp

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Children attending one summer camp this year will encounter a lot of bugs. But they won't have to pack insect repellent.

Young bug enthusiasts can satisfy their curiosity about insects by attending Penn State's Bug Camp for Kids from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 23 to 26.

Hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences, Bug Camp will be held in the Forest Resources Building on the University Park campus. Faculty, staff and graduate students from the Department of Entomology will help children, ages 8-11, learn about a broad range of biological, ecological and environmental topics.

Camp coordinator Amber Brunskill, education specialist for the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program, said the event gives campers a unique chance to learn about the influence of insects on humans and the environment.

"The world of insects is a fascinating one, and insects impact our lives every day," Brunskill said. "Bug Camp goes far beyond the traditional classroom experience by stepping outside and getting up close and personal with the insects that surround us."

Some of the topics covered during the Bug Camp for Kids are types of insects, insect identification, habitats and human-insect interactions. Campers also will be led on daily field trips to locations such as Millbrook Marsh and Sunset Park. Brunskill said that during these trips, campers enjoy hands-on activities, such as collecting insects each day.

"We never know what species we're going to find that day, so it's exciting for everyone involved," she said. "As insects are collected and pinned in the collections boxes, there is a lot of enthusiasm, conversation and exchange of knowledge between the campers and the Bug Camp staff."

Other activities include playing insect-related games and making crafts. On the final day of camp, the campers' families are invited to an open house where they can learn about their campers' bug collections and hear about their favorite moments of the week.

The registration fee of $275 includes bus travel, instruction and materials such as an insect collection box, net, collection jars and identification book. Enrollment is limited to 25 campers. Partial scholarships may be available through the Department of Entomology, with applications available upon request.

In summer 2015, Bug Camp for Kids will be on hiatus and organizers instead will offer Advanced Bug Camp, which gives previous Bug Camp attendees a chance to delve deeper into the world of insects by conducting their own scientific experiments and visiting different entomology research labs on campus. "If you're interested in attending Advanced Bug Camp in 2015, be sure to join us for Bug Camp this summer," Brunskill said.

To register and learn more about scholarships, visit the event website. The registration deadline is June 2.

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Last Updated April 18, 2014