Category Archives: Outreach

Secrets of Food Outreach Event!

Today, Sophia Lawrence, Liz Zhengzhen, and I led an outreach booth on edible insects at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID). The booth explored the nutritional, environmental, and cultural aspects of eating insects. We displayed nutritional labels for insects along with chicken and beef for comparison. For instance, if you had 100g of beef and 100g of mealworms, which do you think would contain more protein? ….Mealworms!  We also had some insect snacks, including BBQ flavored crickets and salt and vinegar flavored mealworms! And, perhaps one of our biggest hits was our cockroach terrarium that was full of live Dubia roaches!

This outreach event was largely put together by Sophia. For her research this semester, she has blended two interests: nutritional sciences and entomology into an exploration of eating insects! For this semester, she has designed this outreach event along with my guidance; creating informational posters and trivia cards and bringing together insect snacks and resources. She is also working on a magazine style story that we hope to publish in an online journal/blog!

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Exploring Food Webs at the WID!

We (folks in the Lindroth Lab and I) put together an educational booth that focused on trophic interactions between plants, aphids, ladybugs, and ants for the Saturday Science event at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery! Aphids eat plant sap, which is rich in sugar, and ladybugs are predators of aphids. Luckily, some aphids have bodyguards for protection; ants!  Ants tend aphids by shooing away any predators (e.g., ladybugs) and/or competitors (e.g., plant hoppers) of the aphids. The ants then receive sugar as their reward; they feed on “honeydew”, a sugary substance that the aphids secrete.

To show this complex and interesting system to the children and families, we brought in some live specimens: aspen seedlings, aphids, ladybugs, and ants! Here’s a photo highlight from the event that the kids took using my digital microscope!

Ladybug predation at the Science Saturday outreach event!

Ladybug predation at the Science Saturday outreach event!

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