Bug Camp opens kids' eyes to fascinating world of insects

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 24 to 27.

Hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences, Bug Camp will be held in the Agricultural Sciences and Industries 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 habitats, types of insects, insect growth and insect control. Campers also will be led on daily field trips to locations such as Sunset Park and Laurel Haven Conservation Education Center. 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 net, collection jars and identification book. Enrollment is limited to 20 campers. Scholarships may be available through the Department of Entomology, with applications available upon request.

To register and find out more about scholarships, visit http://www.cvent.com/d/pcqpny. The registration deadline is June 3.

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Last Updated June 10, 2013