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The buzz is back as free Bug Fest event returns for an encore
Posted August 17, 2011
You’d think that any mention of bugs would send people scurrying for insect repellent and citronella rings. But that’s not exactly the case here.
Last year, the Fox Valley Park District unveiled a new event, and visitors turned out in swarms. More than 1,000 people attended Bug Fest, which was held at Red Oak Nature Center, Lippold Park and the half-mile of Fox River Trail that connects to the two facilities.
Apparently, we are every bit as attracted to bugs as they are to us.
We’ll all reconvene on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is completely free, with no registration required.
“Bugs are weird, wild, fascinating … and often misunderstood,” said Margaret Gazdacka, facility manager at the Red Oak Nature Center, whose 40 acres of riverside woods are home to thousands of bugs.
Pesky as they can sometimes be, bugs are part of everyday life – and really, most of them are not all that bad (this excludes mosquitoes and deer flies).
“They’re actually pretty amazing creatures,” said Gazdacka, “and many of them play a huge role in nature.”
Bug Fest is a family-friendly, stroller-friendly morning of interaction that the kids – and parents as well – will find to be educational, with plenty of fascinating facts to be learned. Bug-related games, activities and live demonstrations from experts on hand will provide the creepy-crawly fun.
Learn about the benefits of bugs and the important roles they play such as pollinating plants and flowers, aerating the soil and serving as a major source in the food chain – all the way up to humans (think chocolate-covered ants).
Cosley Zoo will be on hand with a fleet of live animals from 10 a.m. to noon at the “Predator Pavilion” at Red Oak. Anderson Pest Control will return to Lippold with its fascinating insect zoo that was such a hit last year.
Bug videographer Tony Gustin – also known as Tony The Bug Whisperer – and creator of the DVD “Who Wants To Be An Entomologist?” will perform hourly shows at Red Oak.
Others on hand will include the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Spring Valley Nature Center and Clarke Mosquito Control. Also, the Morton Arboretum will have information on the Emerald Ash Borer – its spread throughout the suburbs and the devastation it has caused.
In between and at the two facilities, a bonanza of bug activities awaits. Guests can visit six discovery stations and do net sweeps for insects in the picturesque prairie. Also, children will be able to safely view pond life in plastic baby pools.
Visitors can park and begin their exploration at either Red Oak or Lippold. Each site will have Bug Fest guide books available and feature live music, craft making and snacks. Overflow parking is available on Bond Drive – just north of Red Oak and Lippold on Route 25 – with free shuttle service offered.
Think you can out-jump a grasshopper? Grasshoppers can jump 30 inches on average. If humans could jump that many times their body length, it would cover the length of a football field in one bound.
And if somebody says you’re strong as a flea, take it as a compliment. A pinhead-size flea can jump 13 inches and move objects up to 400 times its own weight.
Those are mighty insects – and they’re pretty excited that a festival is again being held in their honor. So don’t be surprised if they spend all week bugging you to visit them next Saturday.
Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org