Big Beavers, Bikes, and Bugs!

P.E.I. National Park has been going very well, we have interesting sites, and the park even provided us with a house for us to sleep in. Having a bed too, that doesn’t have to be pulled out of the wall, feels like a luxury hotel! The weather has been a bit cold and windy, but now, a day before we have to ship out, it started to become gorgeous. It was also a great day to do our second outreach event, Pedal the Parkway.

Katelyn Lutes and Graham Ansell posing for a picture with some new recruits.
Katelyn Lutes and Graham Ansell posing for a picture with some new recruits.

Pedal the Parkway is an event put on by the Park, which engages the community to bike around the roads of the park and take in the sights. In addition, they set up quite a show near the beginning (and eventual end) of the race. The most prominently featured booths included a talk about the importance of nutrition, an introduction to the art of lobster trapping complete with a live touch tank, a stall promoting brain injury awareness that gave away free helmets, and of course the BIObus! We got a lot of attention, and the kids really seemed to love us. One family took a particular interest in sweep netting; one of the brothers even managed to catch himself during the photo-shoot! Even the parents and other adults took an interest, asking us questions about how to identify different insect species, and learning other things they would probably have never had the occasion to ask about. One woman in particular is probably using our cicada bookmark right now to convince her mother they aren’t locusts. This was another great opportunity for us to spread the word on bugs!

After most of the people came and went, we were able to slip away and see some of the other festivities. We got to touch the lobster from the tank and were taught how to sex them, while we in turn were able to explain the scientific names of various crustacean limbs. Next, we enjoyed a free fruit lunch from the healthy eating awareness table, snagged some P.E.I. shirts from a stand promoting the event, were given amazing new bike helmets, and finally got to take our picture with the giant beaver mascot, named Parka! All in all, it was a good day, and I’m glad we got out there to stir up some fresh interest in bugs.

-Graham

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