Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Insect Fair to Fascinate & Educate

Published Date: Oct 2, 2017 2:00:00 PM

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From butterflies to cockroaches and spiders, insects and their relatives have interacted with humankind for generations.

The annual Cal Poly Pomona Insect Fair aims to show people biological diversity and important contributions insects make to society.

“Insects can be beautiful, and they are extremely relevant to student research and coursework across disciplines at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Eileen Cullen, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Plant Science who is overseeing the fair. “Introduced and native insects pollinate our crops, giving us food and material for clothing. Insects can even help prevent other insect pests from spreading crop plant diseases.”

For the second consecutive year, the Cal Poly Pomona Insect Fair will take place at the university’s annual Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 7 and 8. The fair will be held in the AGRIscapes Visitor Center near the Cal Poly Pomona Farm Store.

The fair has long been popular among collectors, who come to purchase live and preserved insects, jewelry designed to look like insects, display cases, framed insect specimens, and other supplies. Fair goers can visit these collectors, see their pinned and live insect specimens, talk with them about their field experiences and life-long passion for insect collection.

This year the fair will expand to include an educational focus. On Saturday, Oct. 7, Biological Sciences Professor Joan Leong and her students will have an interactive booth featuring foods made possible by native pollinators and interactive games to learn about pollinators. On Sunday, Oct. 8, the Los Angeles National History Museum's Entomology Department will display live and preserved insects.

Chaparral Mountain Honey Co. will be at the fair both days with their four-story observation honey bee hive. Fourth-grade students at Clara Barton Elementary School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District spent the last few weeks studying insects as a potential human food source. The fair will display their essays on whether insects are a viable food source.  Students from Cal Poly Pomona’s Huntley College of Agriculture also will display their insect-related research.  

“Working with insects provides our students an entry into science, technology engineering and mathematics fields, also known as STEM,” Cullen said. “The Huntley College of Agriculture and the College of Science at Cal Poly Pomona use insects as study systems to prepare our students for a range of careers that can help our community and society at large.”

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and children ages 2 to 12. Children under 2 can enter free.

A separate admission fee is required to enter the Pumpkin Festival. Festival tickets can be purchased at http://pumpkinfestival.cpp.edu.

For more information about the Insect Fair, visit https://www.cpp.edu/~farmstore/Insect-Fair.shtml.