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Smithsonian O. Orkin Insect Exhibit To Visit Henry Vilas Zoo

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Orkin Pest Control, with the assistance of the Henry Vilas Zoo and the Department of Entomology at the UW-Madison, are bringing an “insect road show” to Madison this week.

The Insect Safari, a multimedia educational expedition housed in a 53-foot mobile unit, will stop July 4, 5, and 6 at the Henry Vilas Zoo, 702 S. Randall Ave., Madison. A tent with tables will be adjacent to the truck for live displays.

The free event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all three days. The Henry Vilas Zoo will provide live insects on July 4. The Department of Entomology will provide live insects on July 5 and 6.

Guest stars provided by the entomology department will include walking sticks, death head cockroaches, millipedes, cecropia and medusa caterpillars, and of course the Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Pinned displays will feature butterflies and beetles from Wisconsin and around the world.

“What a great way to learn and have fun at the same time,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “For lots of people, this will be their first chance to have fun learning about insects.”

The Insect Safari includes interactive displays, scientific facts and a range of imaginative, colorful illustrations. It is a hands-on science exhibit with 3-D models, cross-curricular educational materials for the classroom, and engaging assemblies that combine science, art, and storytelling. Trained guides and entomologists will guide visitors through the exhibit rooms and engage students in learning exercises.

The exhibit explores four themes:

o How insects thrive and survive
o The role insects play in ecosystems
o Where insects live, and
o How arthropods live with human beings.

“This is a premier exhibition that helps explain the importanceof biodiversity, especially the importance of insects,” said zoo director James Hubing. “The exhibit is filled with displays that will interest everyone.”

The exhibit will travel to more than 100 cities on its nationwide tour.

The exhibit”s website is here .