Mississippi State University’s Basic Insect and Plant Ecology camp will provide fun and learning for all ages June 13–17.
Better known as Bug Camp, it is the oldest residential entomology camp in the world. Two MSU departments sponsor the camp: the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. The camp is intergenerational, providing an opportunity for children as well as their parents, grandparents or other caregivers.
Campers have the opportunity to learn about different aspects of entomology while enjoying the outdoors.
"We’ll be helping campers develop collecting, pinning and identification skills while learning about as many aspects of entomology as possible," said John Guyton, MSU Extension Service wildlife and fisheries specialist. "Collecting trips are interspersed with briefings on medical entomology, insect photography, bee ecology and using Global Positioning Systems to identify insect collection sites. Staying overnight allows campers to collect bugs in the evening using black lights."
Campers will tour the insect rearing lab, the electron microscope lab and MSU’s entomological museum. They will be given the opportunity to learn how to sketch insects and enter their drawings in an art competition. Additionally, the Mississippi Department of Health will lead an interactive forensic activity and a training session on mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus.
"Not only is this camp fun, but it also instills an interest in entomology at a young age," Guyton said. "We recently had two former campers enter graduate entomology programs and another one published an article on stone flies."
Campers ages 10 and older are welcome to attend. They will be housed in a residence hall on MSU’s campus in Starkville and will take day trips to Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. The registration fee is $325 for unaccompanied children and $300 per person for families attending together. To register, visit www.cfr.msstate.edu/wildlife/conservation_camp. Space is limited.