Overview: Insects are the foremost abundant animals and specious organisms on the planet. The evolution of insects and plants are deeply entwined, resulting in “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful” as herbivores and pollinators. Beyond visual appreciation for these fascinating creatures, understanding the vital role of insects in our ecosystems and our lives increases appreciation for these multilegged beasties so-often maligned.

This full day workshop will provide a basic understanding of insect life, including overview of their evolution, description of the major orders, and their basic ecologies. Preserved specimens will be provided to see detailed features. We will discuss how to encourage beneficial insect activity on the landscape and the role of insects in human culture. Participants will receive an overview of the iNaturalist platform as a tool for documenting insects. Participants are encouraged to create an account with the program and familiarize themselves with the progress of uploading observations prior to the course. Those interested in learning more about insects and how to find them on the landscape are welcome to attend.

What to Expect: This will be a hybrid workshop where we will spend time indoors handling preserved specimens and examining details under a microscope while discussing features that help identify these organisms in additon to spending time outside.

About the Instructor: Dr. Rea Manderino has served as OSGF’s Ecologist and Collections Specialist since 2022, receiving her doctorate in Entomology from SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2021. She specializes in insect conservation and collaborates with researchers in the area and around the country to assess changes in insect communities. She leads several insect-themed programs over the season to document and highlight the invertebrate biodiversity of OSGF.