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Dragonfly Detectives Dazzle at BugFest

October 1, 2016
Dragonfly Detectives at BugFest 2016

Dragonfly Detectives at BugFest 2016!

For the past two years, the Museum has offered Dragonfly Detectives to afterschool, homeschool, and other youth groups to get kids outside doing real science.  Over a 6-week period, participants learn about aquatic systems and local dragonflies, but they also collect data that contribute toward three dragonfly focused citizen science projects. For the primary Dragonfly Detectives project, our participants study the impacts of weather on dragonflies at NC State Parks and other outdoor facilities throughout the state.   Our Dragonfly Detectives participate in the entire process of science, from making a hypothesis to collecting and analyzing data to making conclusions based on their data.  At the end of the program, they create a scientific poster that highlights their results so that others can learn from their research.

Dragonfly Detectives at BugFest 2016

Two Dragonfly Detectives explain their work to a visitor. Photo by Chris Goforth.

To our very great pleasure, we were able to show off the great work that our Dragonfly Detectives have done at BugFest again this year!  We invited all our year 2 participants to come and show off their posters to the public as official BugFest volunteers.  Though the project leaders were on hand the whole day, the kids came to the event knowing they’d be doing most of the talking.

Over 20 kids attended this year and talked to visitors about what they did and learned as Dragonfly Detectives.  The kids walked visitors through their posters, showed off their knowledge and the equipment they used, and answered dragonfly questions.  Some kids got so into it that they asked if they could stay longer than they were scheduled!  It was a ton of fun as a project leader to watch the kids interact with the visitors, but it was particularly heartwarming to see how BugFest attendees, particularly adults, often went out of their way to talk to the Dragonfly Detectives.  Some visitors talked to the kids for 15 minutes or more.  That’s a very long time for anyone to stay at a single table at BugFest!

Dragonfly Detectives at BugFest 2016

Dragonfly Detectives being interviewed while showing off their poster. Photo by Chris Goforth.

This year, our Dragonfly Detectives volunteers talked to over 1000 people throughout the day, teaching visitors more about these fabulous insects and the great science the kids have done.  We couldn’t be more proud of the amazing job they did!  We’re already looking forward to doing it all again next year so that we can continue to highlight these fantastic young scientists.

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