Entomologists of the future

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Ozzie Meads showed his rapidly expanding insect collection

Neatly pinned insects, clear displays on how to maintain a collection and a scientific exploration of the life cycle of the silk moth. This may sound like a museum exhibition but these first class displays were actually created by the young members of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society Bug Club.

Roxanne Shaw demonstrates how to perfectly pin a butterfly

Roxanne Shaw demonstrates how to perfectly pin a butterfly

Layla shows off her live silk moth caterpillars

Layla and her live silk moth caterpillars

On Saturday I was given a glimpse of the future of entomology when I met Bug Club members and was shown round their displays at the AES Annual Exhibition. 

Dozens of children and young people from the age of 7 had brought their invaluable collections to show to fellow insect enthusiasts. The attention to detail with careful labelling, professional-looking displays and imaginative interpretation was impressive.

The Bug Club have kindly sponsored our new family backpacks which I’m currently developing. Bug Safari will be packed full of activities to help families explore the Museum’s entomology collections in an active and fun way.

20131012_120056I took three prototype backpacks along with me, to test out on the Bug Clubbers. The elephant dung smell and the deadly bug sorting went down well, but the most popular pack by a long way was the one where the children can dress like an insect. These two kids thought the world looked great through compound eyes!

It was inspiring to talk to the Bug Club children and young people about their enthusiasm for the natural world and to hear them talk with so much knowledge about their subject. I’m very confident that some of the Bug Club members will be working at the Museum before too long. If this is the future of entomology, the future is bright!

Rachel Parle, Education Officer

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