Introducing the first ever Wisconsin Insect Fest—a celebration of the 20,000+ insects, spiders, and other arthropods that call Wisconsin home.

The Wisconsin Insect Fest is being hosted by the UW-Madison Department of Entomology at the Kemp Natural Resources Station in Minocqua, WI on July 26th and July 27th, 2019.  This free public event will feature a series of activities over two days, including the “Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt”—a 24 hour arthropod BioBlitz.

Who?

Whether you’re a dedicated entomologist or just someone that loves butterflies, dragonflies, and fireflies, the Wisconsin Insect Fest is for you.

The event is free, open to the public, and will offer activities for all ages (kids included!).

The talks and activities at the Wisconsin Insect Fest are suited for insect enthusiasts of a range of ages.  Activities that are especially well-suited for families with children are indicated with the  symbol in the schedule.   Stop by the Welcome/Orientation Pavilion for a kid’s insect scavenger hunt activity and prizes too!

Activities

The Wisconsin Insect Fest will feature a number of talks, hands-on outings, and kid-friendly activities starting in the evening of Friday, July 26th and continuing on Saturday, July 27th.  Advance registration is not required.  A full schedule can be found below—click the daily schedule box to expand the schedule of activities.  A downloadable/printable version of the schedule can be found here.

Bring your insect collecting or photography gear along as well!
In addition to breakout activities, the Wisconsin Insect Fest will feature the “Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt”—a 24-hour arthropod BioBlitz starting at 5 PM Friday and ending at 5 PM Saturday.  It doesn’t matter if it’s been decades since you last collected an insect or if you’re a regular insect observerThe Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt offers a chance to join entomologists and fellow insect enthusiasts to see just how many different arthropods can be observed at the Kemp station in a single day—including light trapping after sundown on Friday evening in conjunction with National Moth Week.

Don’t have that old insect net lying around anymore? Don’t worry—we’ll have plenty of equipment to loan out for the event!

Friday Evening Schedule (Click to Expand)

Friday,  July 26     Evening Activities

5 PM Welcome Announcements & Kickoff of The Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt (24-hour BioBlitz)

Location: BioBlitz Basecamp Pavilion

5:30 PM Common Wisconsin Insect Orders: So what is an “Order” and why do we care?
Dr. Dan Young
In this talk, Dr. Dan Young will discuss the hierarchy of biological classification, use an analogy we can consider, and provide an illustrated overview of the 20 most common Wisconsin insect orders. This will serve as a foundation for our Wisconsin Insect Fest BioBlitz.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (Gordon R. P. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Talk]

6:30 PM Gotta catch ’em all: common techniques and equipment for collecting insects
PJ Liesch
In this talk, we’ll take a look at some of the common equipment and techniques used to observe and collect insects and other arthropods.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (Gordon R. P. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Talk; ♦ ]

7 PM

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Designated BioBlitz Time for The Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt

It doesn’t matter if it’s been decades since you last collected an insect or if you’re a regular insect observer—The Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt offers a chance to join entomologists and fellow insect enthusiasts to see just how many different arthropods can be observed at the Kemp station in a single day.

Bring your insect collecting or photography gear along.  Collecting equipment will also be available to borrow!

As darkness falls, we’ll be doing blacklight and mercury vapor light surveying in conjunction with National Moth Week!

Location: Orientation/BioBlitz Pavilion & Kemp Station Grounds [Outdoor Activity]

Saturday Schedule (Click to Expand)

Saturday,  July 27   Activities

9 AM What’s bugging you?! Mosquitoes & Ticks
Dr. Susan Paskewitz & Dr. Bieneke Bron
Learn about our biting pests, including mosquitoes and ticks in this session.  This session will start out indoors followed by outdoor activities such as tick dragging and mosquito larval sampling.

Location: Connor Forestry Center & Kemp Station Grounds [Indoor/Outdoor Activity]

9:45 AM The flies don’t lie: an overview of the entomological techniques used in forensic science
Patrick Dunn
A brief overview of the surprisingly long history of forensic entomology followed by the discussion of forensically important insects and how they aid investigators looking to solve criminal cases, civil disputes, stored product contamination, establish post-mortem intervals.  After the talk we will take a short walk over to some hands on demonstrations so you can try your hand at collecting forensically important insects.

Location: Connor Forestry Center & Kemp Station Grounds [Indoor/Outdoor Activity]

10:45 AM Aquatic and Marshland Entomology
Dr. Shawn Steffan
Learn about aquatic habitats, insects, and plants in northern Wisconsin in this demo and guided outdoor activity.  Learn about the insects of these habitats and how they make a living.  Observe wild pitcher plants and the organisms living inside them. Catch marsh crickets, spiders, ants, and maybe feed a few to the pitcher plants! Bring appropriate footwear—part of the activity will visit Jyme Lake to stand on a floating raft of marshland plants.

Location: Connor Forestry Center & Kemp Station Grounds [Indoor/Outdoor Activity; ]

12 PM Lunch/BioBlitz Break: Free light sandwich buffet lunch will be available to participants
1 PM

 

Ant ya hungry? Insects as Sustainable Food
Vicky Lason & Zach Cohen
Come and uncover the untapped potential of insects as food that could be part of your daily meals. From ‘Chirp Chips’ to spicy grasshoppers, we’ll provide you with snacks, the basics of entomophagy, and how you could include insects in a more sustainable diet.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (Gordon R. P. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Activity; ]

Would you like flies with that? Insectivorous mammals in Wisconsin & around the world
Amy Wray
A presentation about the mammalian predators of insects, with a focus on bats in Wisconsin. Find out how scientists study insectivore diets, why bugs are an important source of food for many mammals, and how mammals help provide ecosystem services by consuming economically important insects.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (Gordon R. P. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Activity; ]

2 PM Life in a log
PJ Liesch
With roughly 20,000 insect species in Wisconsin, there’s a wide range of places that insects call “home”.  In this guided outdoor activity, we’ll explore the amazingly diverse array insects & other arthropods associated with logs.

Location: Connor Forestry Center Atrium [Outdoor Activity; ]

3PM Insects as Art: Drawing Insects
Jacki Whisenant
An open studio workshop on drawing all kinds of insects, with art materials provided and both guided or free-range drawing activities to explore entomological illustration.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (W.D. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Activity; ]

4 PM Curation 101: best-practices for pinning and labeling insects
Dr. Craig Brabant
Interested in starting (or improving) an insect collection? Stop by our workshop for a pinning and labeling demonstration by staff of the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection. Participants will learn about different types of insect curation during this informal, hands-on workshop.

Location: Connor Forestry Center (W.D. Connor Classroom) [Indoor Activity]

5:15 PM Conclusion of The Great Wisconsin Bug Hunt (24-hour BioBlitz)
Final Announcements & Acknowledgements

Location: BioBlitz Basecamp Pavilion

Activity Schedule (Click to Expand)

A .pdf version of the Wisconsin Insect Fest schedule can be found here.

About Kemp Station and Minocqua

The Kemp Natural Resources Station supports university researchers and enhances public awareness of northern Wisconsin’s natural resources.  The station’s 235 acres feature a variety of habitats ranging from bogs to lakeshore and northern hardwood forests and provides a diverse range of insect observing opportunities.  The Minocqua area is also home to a wide range of camping, lodging, and other recreational activities for those coming to the event.

DIRECTIONS TO KEMP
From Woodruff: Travel south on State Highway 47 for almost 4 miles. Turn right onto Kemp Road.
From Lake Tomahawk: Travel north on State Highway 47 for 3.25 miles. Turn left onto Kemp Road.
Travel 2.0 miles down Kemp Road to the Station entrance. Follow signs to parking and buildings.

PARKING: Limited parking is available at the Connor Forestry Center. Additional parking areas require a short walk to the Connor Forestry Center.

Hope to see you at the Wisconsin Insect Fest this July!

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Join the fun and share news of the event using the hashtag #WiInsectFest on Social Media

Want to help spread the word? Click here to download, print, and share Wisconsin Insect Fest promotional fliers.

Questions about the Wisconsin Insect Fest? Contact us at WisconsinInsectFest@gmail.com