The biggest news to come out of the Insectary this spring is the arrival of the Bugmobile! The Bugmobile is the culmination of a three-and-a-half-year project involving Ohio companies Airstream and Creative Mobile Interiors (CMI). Anonymous donors generously provided a gift to the department. We approached Airstream and they donated a 28-foot trailer shell. Jeni Ruisch designed a dream setup for a mobile outreach vehicle, and FABE capstone students built a full-size mockup and then created a corresponding CAD design. The trailer shell was sent to CMI for customization, along with the CAD designs from the capstone students. CMI created a wooden version of the final design, and Ohio State Entomology was able to walk through the space. Ruisch, along with Jamie Strange, department chair, Ohio State Entomology, picked out materials for the flooring, cabinets, countertops, and upholstery. Ruisch is working with USDA specialist Mark Hitchcox to inspect and permit the vehicle for its upcoming debut. The big event will be in downtown Columbus on the riverfront on May 7 at COSI. This will be COSI’s Big Science Celebration, which hasn’t been held in person since 2019. Some 45,000 people are expected at this event, and most of them will likely want to see what the Bugmobile has in store. We are still on the hunt for a tow vehicle, and we have a great need for some outreach-experienced volunteers. If you have a lead on a vehicle or would like to volunteer, please contact Insectary curator and outreach director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Beloved Insectary inhabitants were highlighted in a Madagascar hissing cockroach video, a brief virtual bug zoo visit presented by the Entomology Graduate Student Association and Insectary.
Video credit: Caralee Shepard, Iliana Moore, and Jeni Ruisch