Family, friends and bugs


BROOKINGS – Billing it as “A Family Friendly Event,” on Saturday McCrory Gardens hosted its fourth annual Insect Festival, “celebrating our six-plus-legged friends.”

The last one was held two years ago and despite a heavy downpour of rain, about 800 people showed up. This year’s celebration was held under sunny skies with just-right warmth.

Events included: an Assemble-an-Arthropod contest; interactive insect education; insect photo contest; Monarch butterfly tagging; edible insects; games; crafts; and the always popular big guys – Madagascar hissing cockroaches. 

Lisa Marotz, director of operations at McCrory Gardens, explained that the festival’s goal is to teach people the importance of insects, not to be afraid of them and to appreciate their job in our food supply.

Christina Lind, of Blue Dasher Farms, helped organize the festival. “There are thousands of good bugs,” she explained, smiling and laughing. “They’re not only cool and fun but an important part of our ecosystem. They’re an important part of our lives. They do a lot of functions for us. Without insects we wouldn’t have life as we know it.” 

Above, Diane Kinney, a master gardener and a member of Friends of the Community Gardens, shows off a red-horned caterpillar moth.

Below, Kari Westlund, Queen Bee for the festival, enjoys some light moments with young visitors who admired her costume.

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