Entomology Field Camp - Summer 2011

The second annual Entomology Field Camp was held 20-24 June 2011 at
the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology Department.
The week long day-camp gave 3th-7th grade campers a chance to:

  • explore the science behind forensic entomology,
  • investigate a mock crime scene,
  • collect insects in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats,
  • complete an insect collection to take home,
  • cook with insects,
  • meet several professional entomologists and forensic scientists,
  • compete in an insect mouthparts relay,
  • dissect a live honeybee colony,
  • visit natural and historic sites, and
  • visit the University of Florida's Butterfly Rainforest.

As is the custom at many scientific meetings, our junior scientists and staff gather for a group
portrait. From left to right, our esteemed colleagues are: Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Eli Gomez, Tessa
Owens, Andrea Darmanjian, Josiah Diuguid, Brianna Hanson, Zoe Hernandez, Max Asseng,
Katherine Feigl, Daniel Alborn, Harold Pan, Alexander Johnson, Joshua Arola, Forrest Collins,
Courtney Stanford, Deonte Darmanjian, Whyatt Warnock, Savannah Banner, Matthew Alborn,
Kelly Opalko, Joshua Light, Bryan Dollinger, Wendy Helmey-Hartman, and Crystal Atkinson.
Not pictured: Devin Reynolds, Daniel Quinlan, and Dale Halbritter.

Our theme this year was The Black Bear Murder Mystery, a forensic emtomology exercise.

The crime took place in the Natural Area Teaching Laboratory on the University of Florida
campus. Notice the "bear coat" and the plastic container with the entomological evidence.

Liver was placed in the container to attract flies
which laid eggs from which maggots emerged.

Maggots were collected by teams of campers
to help determine when the crime took place.

Dr. Jason Byrd, one of the nation's leading forensic entomologists,
spoke to campers early in the week.

In addition, campers went on field
trips to learn insect collecting techniques.

These techniques would be used by each camper to create
an insect collection that he or she would then take home.

A field trip to the Santa Fe River exposed the campers to the wonders of aquatic entomology.

Campers periodically returned
to the crime scene for more
entomological evidence.

A field trip to O'Leano State Park
found the campers crossing the suspension
bridge over the upper Santa Fe River.

Campers take a break from the heat at the natural bridge
where the Santa Fe River disappears underground.

The campers continued returning to the crime scene,
each hoping that additional entomological evidence,
that appeared over time, would provide the clue
that gave their team the solution to the forensic puzzle.

Enquiring scientific minds require
sustenance. Insects provide high
levels of protein and heathly fat, so
campers snacked on fried mealworms.

A field trip to Silver River State Park exposed campers to
life in 19th Century Florida, and the problems settlers
experienced with insects in their daily lives.

The park's museum has exhibits of the
area's natural and social history, from
pre-human to the early 20th Century.

One of the highlights of the field trip to Silver River State Park was the trip down
the river itself. Teams of campers took turns on a boat ride with experienced
naturalists who explained the river's ecology.

Entomology graduate students Daniel Fitzpatrick and Chris Holderman (in lab coat)
not only explained the use of DNA in forensic investigations, but allowed campers to
perform DNA testing in the laboratory.

A trip to the UF Honey Bee Laboratory exposed
campers to the management of honey bees. Here,
Jeanette Klopchin pulls out a frame of bees.

Hey, Mom! Look!
(How many kids got to do
this at their summer camp?)

Friday afternoon: Entomology Field Camp is over.
It's time to say goodbye to new friends.

Click here to view images from the 2010 Entomology Field Camp.

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. You can submit news anytime to fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month. Detailed articles, such as this one, must be submitted before the first of the month for that month's newsletter.

Return to the August 2011 issue.