Yesterday (July 7th), my Dad, Barry, and I went for a trip to York for the Insect Festival that was being held in the Yorkshire Museum's Gardens.
The Insect Festival is held in the same place once every 2 years. It usually takes place in July; and my family and I had attended the festival once before in 2011. We had greatly enjoyed it, and decided that we wanted to go again.
The festival started at 10 am, and finished at 4 pm. It was a beautiful day, if a little hot, and was perfect weather for the occasion.
There were stalls both in the gardens and indoors. There were activities such as face painting, 'make a minibeast', and 'make a minibeast home'.
There was an interesting stall that had a tank full of beautiful Flower Beetles. This was of particular interest to me, as I keep quite a few Flower Beetles to help with my studies.
There were quite a few areas where it was possible to handle insects. I had the pleasure to hold a Magagascar Hissing Cockroach ( Gromphadorhina portentosa), a Giant Prickly Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) , and best of all, a Leaf Insect! (Phyllium sp)
Holding a Giant Prickly Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum).
As it will be my Birthday quite soon, my Dad bought me a few early presents. One of these was a great guide to British Orthoptera - A Photographic Guide to the Grasshoppers & Crickets of Britain & Ireland by Martin Evans & Roger Edmondson. I also bought an interesting book called Working In Entomology. Published by the Ametuer Entomologist's Society, and written by a 14 year old girl called Rachel McLeod. The series of interviews with Entomologists that make up the book was originally a group of articles in the Ameteur Entomologist's magazines.
Another thing I got was a piece of ancient amber from 14 million years ago, which contained 5 winged ants and a fly.
I also met a good friend of mine, Dr Roger Key. He is a great Entomologist, and has been all over the world to look for insects. I first met him a few years ago on one of his insect events, which are always really good.
Dr Roger Key was taking a short bug hunt, and gave his little group (which included me) a sweep net, pooter, and supplied tubs when we needed them.
Dr Roger Key showing the group how to use a pooter.
Hunting for insects!
Our little group found several Froghoppers, Ichnuemon Wasps, and Grass Moths, to name just a few. I believe that children should be allowed to explore their natural curiosity for nature, because when you see these young children running around doing a bug hunt, you see that there is an interest. We also need enthusiastic and encouraging parents, teachers, and experts like my friends Barry Warrington and Dr Roger Key to spark that interest in the first place and to keep it going.
There were a few things that I didn't like about the Insect Festival. My Dad, Barry, and I were disappointed that there was no information or advice on keeping insects. We also would have liked to have been able to buy insects and equipment. If done correctly, the keeping of insects in captivity should be encouraged, as I would say that it is crucial for a good understanding of entomology.
We noted that the most popular stalls seemed to be those with live insects, and especially when they could be handled. This shows that people like being hands on with nature, and I hope that this means that there will be more stalls like these in the next festival.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Insect Festival, and I will attempt to go to the next one in 2015.