Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for EntomologyIf you are going to collect insects, then you’ll need the right equipment. Today’s post is a list by category of the Must Have Equipment for Entomology.

Be sure to buy equipment that is meant for serious entomologists and not items that are essentially toys. We bought an Insect Collectors Backpack Kit from Home Science Tools for his birthday. While this was not everything Joshua needed once he got serious, it was a great starter kit and we only needed to supplement our initial investment.

Our other supplier is BioQuip Products which specializes in equipment, supplies, and books for entomology and related sciences.

Materials for Collecting

  • Aerial Net- For sweeping over vegetation and collecting terrestrial insects
  • Aquatic Net- A seining type of net for use in the water to collect aquatic species of insects.
  • Flat Pans- For pouring water collections into
  • Flat Tweezers on a String- for catching the aquatic species from the pan
  • Killing jar- jar of any kind with tissues inside. The jar usually has a substrate on the bottom to hold the ethyl alcohol when you pour it in. The out-gassing of the ethanol into the jar will kill the insect.
  • Aquatics Jar- filled with isopropyl alchol to keep aquatic and soft-bodied insects when you collect them.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Supplies for Pinning & Spreading

  • Quilting Pins- to hold the legs, wings, & other appendages into place while the insect is drying
  • Insect Pins- in various sizes from 0 to 3. For use with different sized insects
  • Tweezers/Forceps- for handling the insects precisely
  • Magnifying Lens- to see the insect features up close
  • Glassine Envelopes- These are also used in collection (which we’ll talk about tomorrow). They are for temporary storage of moths & butterflies so you don’t destroy their wing scales, but they are also useful in holding wings in place during drying.
  • Scissors- for cutting apart the glycene envelope when you pin insect wings
  • Small Ruler- so you can measure where the insect is on your pin.
  • Spreading Board- made so you can place the body of the insect in the groove and coax the wings out very carefully. Joshua made his own out of insulating foam block and dowels.
  • Pinning Block- this foam can’t easily break and is thick enough to pin insects which don’t need any wing spreading.
  • Paper Points- for displaying tiny insects rather than pinning them through
  • Elmer’s Glue- for the occasion when a leg falls off. Elmer’s to the rescue! This is also how we get an insect to display on a point.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Equipment for Handling Aquatic Species

Listed here are items you’ll need for handling aquatic insects and soft bodies insects such as caterpillars.

  • Jar- for collecting day
  • Isopropyl Alcohol- For preserving the insect. How to use it will be in tomorrow’s post!
  • Small Glass Vials- in a few small sizes depending on the size of your specimen
  • Screw Cap Collecting Tubes- These allow you to collect aquatic insects which are larger and hold specimens for putting them into their display vials.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Materials for Displaying Your Insect Collection

One of the requirements in our entomology club is to share your collection in a public display. On Wednesday afternoon, Joshua will turn in his collection and he’ll talk to a judge about his experience. Then his collection will go on display at the fair for the rest of the week.

  • Case with a Glass Lid- So that people can see your insect collection without taking the glass off. The backpack kit we got came with a small box.
  • Pins for Labels- For holding the labels
  • Laser Printed Labels- So that the labels don’t smear when you place them in the vials with alcohol
  • Vials- the small glass variety in various sizes

We ordered about $40.00 worth of equipment from BioQuip, Inc outside of the Backpack Kit from Home Science Tools. We use items from the kit as well including the field guide. Next season, which starts in September, we’ll be ordering a few more supplies to add to our collection of equipment.

You want to be well-equipped to do the job right. There is so much to learn and inferior materials will make the work more difficult.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all about where and how to collect your insect specimens.

Other bloggers are sharing their own series this week through the iHN Hopscotch. Click and see what they’re up to!

iHN July 2014 Hopscotch

Behind the Scenes: The World of Zines

I’ve been learning a lot about Zines since R12 took on this project. She’s made about 20 issues and counting. It’s time to update her progress. Since the last post, she’s been able to share her project within the community in a few different ways.

She publishes her Zine every other day at our dinner table. We all eagerly await her creativity on those evenings. Her source book suggested finding a place to “carry” her zine for distribution so on our next trip to the library, she asked the librarian if they would put her zine out for patrons to take. Our little library has had many staff changes in the last year, so we don’t know these ladies as well and we weren’t sure how the request would be received. Providentially, she asked the right person. She’d asked the new children’s librarian who was delighted to carry The Artist’s Palette at the circulation desk.

Blog She Wrote: Making Zines

In preparation for requesting the zines be available, R12 did a lot of work in the publishing arena. First, she chose the issues she wanted to distribute. She wanted to be sure and choose a variety of issues that surveyed her best work.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

One of the many convenient qualities of her paper fold is that once you unfold it to make copies, all the art is on one side of the paper. That makes it super easy to copy!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She included some of her favorites like this one which features drawings of Redwall book covers. That night she had us guess the covers.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She chose zines that would show off her various choice of art medium- bold pencil drawings, painting, and collages.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

Collage doesn’t quite render as nicely as a copy, but it does make an interesting result.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

Another community outreach came through this year’s 4H Public Presentations. Her topic was “Behind the Scenes: The World of Zines”. She organized her topic and added several visual aids for the event.

Blog She Wrote: Zines

Not only did they set up a little stand for her Zine to appear inviting, they put up a sign identifying the creator and encouraging visitors to take one. She’s been back once since then to stock up the stash.

Additionally, the children’s librarian asked her on the spot if she would agree to teach kids how to make Zines at the summer library program’s craft hour. R is so excited about this!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Sharing

She did a terrific job making some posters for her 4H presentation. Of course her title poster had to have a life size artist’s palette!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Every good 4H presentation has an outline. One of the things I love about R is her knack for taking something mundane, like an outline, and making it pop!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

After her first go round, the evaluators suggested R display Zine Terms so that the audience could more easily follow along. She took the advice to heart and created a Vocabulary Poster.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

I couldn’t resist a close of up the life sized artist’s palette complete this time with a 3D brush!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

In addition to the posters, she used a Power Point to highlight some of the important things she wanted to share. What I love about this most is her photography! She took all the pictures for her slideshow after composing some really creative shots.

Blog She Wrote: Zines

She prepared a history of zines which included information on how self-publishing has become much easier over the years. FactSheet5 anyone?

zine history 2

One slide I didn’t include, because it was more difficult to see, is the slide showing all the types of booklets you can make- staples vs none, size, various folds and wrapping bands. She even fielded questions on how to do some of the more complex folds.

The Artist’s Palette focuses on art- mostly drawing and this slide tells us that you can write or really put anything in a zine. Who knew E’s chemistry assignment would provide such a great subject for her photo?

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Special Edition Zines occur in honor of holidays and have a different fold because they have a pocket for giving something away to readers. So clever!

zines special edition 2

E-Zines are popular…bloggers publish plenty, don’t we? This is another well composed photo…it shows quite a bit of yuck on our school desktop keyboard. Yikes!

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Of course she wanted to tell others how she is sharing through the library. Every Zinester wants to get their publication out there to readers.

Blog She Wrote: Zine Presentation

Her presentation went very smoothly two times and she is poised for going to the 4H “district” level next weekend. She scored well enough to pass to the next level. It’s been a delight to watch her develop skills while working on something that is entirely her own (save for me bringing the book home from the library and casually mentioning it).

Whatcha-Mean-What-s-a-ZineThe book that started it all is Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson. I can’t say I was all that aware of the Zine culture before this book came along, but it’s been a fun project to mentor.

What are your kids working on right now in their free time? Feel free to leave a comment and share!

The Great New York State Fair!

Where has August gone? We’ve been camping again for a week and back home. We’re trying to gear up for our homeschool co-op which begins in another couple weeks- and that has required some of my time along with the rest of our committee.

Today we are off to the New York State Fair for the day. We have these three exhibits up at the fair and maybe we can see how they’ve done. Usually we just send our things and wait to see how it went when we pick them up, but this year E13 is doing his falconry presentation at the State Fair.

Conversion- the Missionaries of the Middle Ages game!
The famous 4-H graphic t-shirt
R’s knit hat made with a Knifty Knitter loom

He started with this talk back in March and made it to the district level where he was selected to present again at State Fair. His talk is entitled, “The Art of Falconry” and he gives an overview of the history of the sport and how to become a licensed falconer.

We’ll report back later today. Thanks for reading!

4-H Word Cloud Textile Art

About a month ago I purchased the Hearts and Trees Volume 2 Magazine and we’ve been enjoying it here and there as we’ve had time before and after our move. R12′s favorite activity has been the word cloud. While she was playing around with it, she made a 4-H clover leaf and put in it all the words she could think of that had to do with her 4-H experience. I encouraged her to take a look on our local cooperative extension website to explore other 4-H events and ideas and she came up with this great little word cloud in just the right color. She decided it would look terrific on a tshirt. Here’s a look at how R12 made the shirt.

After she made the word cloud she had to reverse the image in order to iron it on a shirt- we have practice at this from making the FLL tshirts.

Iron is ready- ok it’s not my iron. Ours has not turned up at the new house. I didn’t pack it…Dan did. When you iron on the shirts you can’t use an ironing board. Interesting, huh?

She trimmed around the edges of the clover leaf and you can see we printed it reversed so it will turn out right on the shirt.

I gave a hand in the ironing- she didn’t want to take any chances on messing it up!

Ready for lift off!

The finished product. Isn’t that cool?

We had a feeling this one would do well and look! A blue ribbon!
Even better look at this! Later on we saw that it was chosen to go to State Fair! Congratulations R!

I encourage you to check out Amanda’s Hearts and Trees Volume 2 Magazine. The tag line says- Encouraging Art. Handicrafts, and Nature Study. We had a fun time with the first volume as well and I’ll be sharing more about the magazines really soon.

I just wanted to share with you some good news from the 4-H Fair and there’s more to come. E13 has another game on the way to the Great NY State Fair. Stay tuned!

4-H Pie Bee

The weekend before Thanksgiving we joined with our new 4-H group to have a Pie Bee. We all worked to make about 20 pies for a local Loaves and Fishes. We hope their clients enjoyed these pies. I thought about all the different shapes of apples they would get to enjoy!

The absolute highlight of this meeting for J6 was cutting the apples. Hands down.

Mixing ingredients…some of us are one handed adventurers.

Each child got a ball of dough to roll out. The kids had a great time.

Since R11 had a broken arm, she partnered up with I9 and together they made two pies. Sweet stuff!

What happened to the days when cameras took a picture when you pushed the button- the first time?

J6′s finished pie!

We’ve spent the last several years as independent 4-Hers and we are trying out a new club in our own county (previously we participated in the county next door for various reasons). They are very active so that’s exciting. Each month they do a meeting with a short business portion and a community service project. Then there are other activities to sign up for throughout the month if you choose to do so. They have a lot going on. We’ll see how it goes, but I do have to admit that the independent status fits much better with our lifestyle. I’ll keep you posted.