Saturday the 28th, Biobus visited the New York hall of Science in Queens (NYSCI) where kids gathered to learn about bugs! Most of the participants were locals from queens, but a lot of parents brought their kids from Manhattan and as far away as Connecticut to enjoy Bug Day at NYSCI.
Liz Slagus, Director of Public Programs at NYSCI, devised Bug Day when they were developing the 2013 summer program for the Science museum. They decided to focus on bugs because that’s what kids love. As Liz put it “<<Bugs>> are often so collaborative and immensely important pieces of our ecosystem – as many are our best pollinators. They are also quite beautiful.” Biobus contacted Liz in order to become part of the NYSCI Rocket Park in early 2013. After working with Biobus for the fall of 2013, Biobus was invited back for the 2014 summer. Biobus since has participated in many of the summer events offered by NYSCI.
Those who visited the Biobus on Bug Day used a hand held microscope to magnify tarantula exoskeleton and large tobacco hornworm caterpillars (donated by Entomologist Louis Sorkin) up to 140x their normal size. Images of the insects were projected onto a large computer monitor. Other kids looked at hairy insect legs and iridescent fly wings. On the inside of the bus, students used state-of-the-art microscopes to look at centipedes, ants and daphnia (alive).
The Biobus is so successful at teaching kids science in part because of the many enthusiastic volunteers that come to help teach young budding scientists about microscopes. Biobus volunteers are an incredibly diverse group of science enthusiasts who hear about Biobus through word of mouth and through various NYC programs. Andy (Andrew Gerson), an Olympus microscope representative, who had worked with Biobus Founder Ben to obtain microscope and camera donations from Olympus, came from long island with his daughter Rachel to volunteer on Biobus for Bug Day at NYSCI and many other Biobus events this summer. He and his daughter love Biobus because of its selfless mission to reach out to inner city children “…and open their eyes to science.” Kimberly LeVine, who is a public engagement partnerships manager at child mind institute, learned about the Biobus through a friend at NYU and decided to volunteer because of her interest in science literacy for students. Maxwell Kramer, another Bug Day volunteer who is currently enrolled in the Neuroscience PhD program at NYU, learned about Biobus during his PhD program orientation. Sedef Tinaztepe, a PhD candidate in Genetics & Development at Columbia University Medical Center, found out about Biobus through the NY Academy of Sciences After School Mentoring Program. She loves volunteering on the Biobus because it cultivates good questions, careful observations, and critical thinking. As Sedef put it, “the BioBus crew consists of wonderful people, who are always a pleasure to work with.”
This was the second annual bug day that has been held at New York hall of science and many participating bug-ologists came back from last year. To find out more about the event and participating groups, click here.