University of Vermont

Teen Science Café Explores Importance of Insect World

Fly on green leaf

Burlington--Researchers with the University of Vermont (UVM) Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab will be the featured guest speakers at the next teen science café, Oct. 20 in Burlington.

Students in Grades 7-12 will have an opportunity to delve into the world of entomology and the roles insects play in forensics, medicine, genetics, biotechnology and nutrition. Hands-on activities will include insect identification, food choice experiments and a look at the life cycle stages of a new invasive agricultural pest.

What's Buzzing in Entomology? will be held from 5-7 p.m. in the Mansfield Dining Room at UVM's Dudley Davis Center. Although free to attend, interested teens need to register at by Oct. 17. Free pizza and drinks will be served.

The café is sponsored by UVM Extension 4-H and organized by a teen leadership committee. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Lauren Traister, UVM Extension 4-H Teen and Leadership Program coordinator, at (802) 888-4972 or toll-free at (866) 260-5603 by Oct. 5.

Dr. Yolanda Chen and her graduate students, Erika Bueno, Elisabeth Hodgdon and Andrea Swan, will discuss their research in agricultural entomology to help farmers control swede midge, an invasive pest of cruciferous vegetable crops, including broccoli, cabbage and kale. They also will explore important issues with insect crop pests, such as insecticide resistance in the Colorado potato beetle, and bring some live insects for participants to observe.

A free follow-up workshop will be offered on Nov. 5 from 3:30-5 p.m. at the UVM Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab. Participants will get a tour of the lab and will conduct experiments with the swede midge and Colorado potato beetle and perform a simple DNA extraction from strawberries.

Only students who attend the entomology café are eligible to take part. Registration will open after the café.

The Geographic Information System as a tool for mapping and analyzing real-world problems will be the focus of the next teen science café, planned for Nov. 10. Additional cafés are planned for 2019.

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