The second annual Arizona Insect Festival, organized by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Entomology Department, brought lots of bugs and a few thousand bug enthusiasts to the UA campus on September 15. More than 20 interactive booths in the Student Union ballroom featured many of the University of Arizona's top researchers as well as students from the departments of entomology, neurosciences, and ecology and evolutionary biology.
Geared to all ages, especially families, the festival offers theme-based, interactive activities and exhibits to teach about the importance of insects in our daily lives and to reveal exciting University of Arizona research. Insects play unique and diverse roles – such as litter decomposition – in maintaining healthy ecosystems, enhancing crop productivity, pollinating native plants, spreading disease and affecting our urban environments. Exhibits included cockroach cuddling, glow-in-the-dark insects, bug illnesses, an insect sting pain scale, and caterpillar petting. Guests were invited to taste different eatable bugs and try their hands at bug-themed arts and crafts.
For coverage of the festival, see:
University Communications video at http://uanews.org/videos/bugs-take-over-sumc-ballroom-arizona-insect-festival
Images from the Arizona Daily Wildcat: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/gallery/arizona-insect-festival
The Arizona Daily Star's September 13 advance story: http://azstarnet.com/entertainment/outdoors/ua-to-celebrate-wonders-of-bugs/article_7652de61-3740-536c-a7d2-943c921ab0a0.html
Arizona Public Media advance video on September 11 with live insects: https://www.azpm.org/p/top-news/2012/9/11/15435-bugging-out-in-name-of-science-education/
Narrated video from last year's festival http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqVq1fc0dnc
For general information on the Arizona Insect Festival and the UA Insect Collection:
Arizona Insect Festival Facebook page
Arizona Insect Festival website