Let’s Talk About Ticks, Baby!

Greetings and salutations once again my fellow insect fanatics!

So, it might be because I spend a silly amount of time wading through prairies and smashing my face up against trees and pawing through piles of rotting wood and crawling into the dark corners of basements, but I find a lot of insects on my body. Like, daily. Spiders, flies, ladybugs, inch worms, crickets, caterpillars…like, every day. Normally, I don’t mind these little six and eight legged visitors warming themselves on my skin or hitching a ride to a better hunting spot, but there is one visitor in particular that I just cannot cotton to and must expel from my epidermis immediately!

What ever could it be, you may wonder?

Today let’s have a discussion about some thing buggy that bugs me and you, namely, TICKS! Itty, bitty, bitey, blood-suckers just laying in wait for a tasty morsel to wander by. Deer, racoons, and YOU!

Look at this adorable little tick! Look how cute and round and smiley…awwww, sweet little tick, right? Wrong! Ticks are not sweet and not smiley and not adorably round and purple like a grape. In reality, ticks are often seed-shaped with eight specialized legs and some pretty awesomely terrifying mouth parts.

Their legs are truly amazing. They are designed to make them very clingy. First, as they hang out on the tips of tall grasses or tree leaves, bouncing in the breeze until something exuding some warm and fuzzy body heat happens by. As our warm-blooded body brushes said grass or leaf, the tick grabs onto them, going along for the ride. This is where their special feet come in and are grossly cool.

Their little feet are designed just so their prey can’t feel them! Creepy, right? But such a good design! They have tiny little ‘u’ shaped feet that are so fine and good at their job, even the sensitive hairs on your arms can’t detect them. This means they can wander all over their prey totally unbeknownst to them until they find a really soft, tender spot to sink their little mouth parts into.

Now that is what a tick looks like! Okay, so the disgustingly cool thing about tick mouths is the way they bite. They don’t plunge in all-of-a-sudden like a mosquito, oh no. Instead, they have to work just a little bit harder to get to your juicy, delicious blood beneath your many layers of tough skin. The ticks have specialized parts on their mouths that they use to sweep and sweep (kind of like rowing a boat with your arms looks) and brush their way down and through the layers of your skin until they reach blood. Gross! Amazing! I love it!

Once they manage to brush their way through all those pesky layers they can bite into you, but even then their mouth parts are so small it takes a while for them to actually get a good sucking flow going. So much effort for the tick!

As you know, tick bites can carry a host of diseases, among them Lyme’s Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So we worry, don’t we, when we play outside or go hiking or camping? But there is good news!

From the time you brush against that tall grass and pick up your unwelcome hitchhiker, to the time the little bugger has finally managed to pick a sweet spot and sink in, actually takes a little time. Up to a couple of hours, in fact. So tick bites are super preventable! Yay!

So what do you do?

Bug spray! Woohoo! We clever humans have long since invented aerosol prevention that is extremely effective. Just make sure it’s got some Deet in it. After using your bug spray there’s one more possibly even more important thing you can do to keep yourself safe and healthy.

TICK CHECKS! Sometimes sweat or swimming or rain can wash away our bug spray, but a good and thorough tick check can save the day. Don’t be shy about it. Many ticks can be easy to see, but some nymphs (young ticks) and particularly the dreaded Deer Tick can be virtually impossible to tell apart from a freckle. Poppy seed sized! So tiny! So use your eyes, use your hands, use the buddy system, and check everywhere, every day. It really takes so little time and is well worth it.

I’m a big proponent of tick checks. So much so that I have composed an actual tick-check-themed poem just to help you remember what to do and how important it is! So here goes…

An Ode to Checking for Ticks

Finally the time is here!
The sun is warm, the sky is clear!
It’s time for hiking and biking too,
Rowing and fishing in a canoe.
Parties and picnics ‘til well after dark,
Day after day we’ll play in the park.
Crickets are chirping and birdies they sing,
But please remember this one thing:
Amongst the ladybugs and bees
Is a nasty pest causing some unease.
She makes no sound of any kind,
And her tiny size makes her hard to find.
Her feet are designed so you don’t even feel
When she’s grabbed your knee, elbow, or heel.
And when you find one in your hair….
It means she CRAWLED all the way up there!
Mosquito bites itch, bee stings hurt a lot,
But that’s nothing compared to the bite this girl’s got!
She’ll bury her head way down into your skin,
And hang out for hours before she begins
By sweeping her barbed little fangs forth and back
Again and again in slow-motion attack.
She buries them further with every brush,
(You can’t feel this at all so she knows there’s no rush).
Finally, when she’s totally stuck,
Her feeding mouth plunges and she starts to suck.
Your blood flows into her and she into you.
For multiple days, exchanging of goo,
Germs and bacteria, saliva and blood,
Her body engorged now, the color of mud.
Finally full she drops off with no fear.
You may not even know she ever was near
Until you get fever, joint pain, or a cough,
Rashes, fatigue, body aches….had enough?
All of this is so easy to skip!
After being outside simply go in and strip!
Get all the way down to your birthday suit
And check every inch from your hair to your foot.
Use your mirrors and fingers, don’t skip a pore.
It doesn’t take long and you know what it’s for.
Your health and safety are important to all,
So in spring, through summer, and well into fall
When you go outside put on your bug spray
And do your tick check at the end of the day!

Until next time, my insect oriented friends, have fun, be safe, wear your bug spray, and check for ticks! And don’t forget to come back frequently for updates on Tony’s shows and the progress of the Gateway Science Center. As always, you can lend your support here, at the Go Fund Me site, or just by spreading the word!

June 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the Creepy Crawly Zoo June Newsletter!

We apologize for missing the May Newsletter, there was just so much going on! Namely…

THE BUG WHISPERER GOT MARRIED! In a lovely outdoor ceremony and surrounded by loved ones, Tony and his beautiful fiance’ Jennifer tied the knot. We couldn’t be happier for them both, and wish them all the best!

The Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! show at Discovery World on May 12th was a huge success! The unveiling of the half-million dollars in displayed insects and the Creepy Crawly Zoo show was attended by 1,400 people!

A special thanks to Dan Capps for his amazing and generous donation of one of the premier insect collections in the world. Channel 12 News came out in the morning and did a very nice piece on Tony and the event. Check it out here!

UPDATE ON THE GATEWAY SCIENCE CENTER!!!

As Tony continues to work towards realizing his dream of building the Gateway Science Center, he has gained some recognition through a recent JS Online article which you can read here.

This Friday afternoon, June 8th at 4:00pm,  you have the opportunity to hear Tony and long-time friend and bug donor extraordinaire talk about the Gateway Science Center on live on WPR! Tune in and be inspired!

Between the recent insect collection donation, the huge success of Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!, and these most recent pieces of good publicity, the Gateway Science Center is really gaining some momentum! Stay tuned here for updates! And if you want to help make this dream a reality, you can contribute to the Gateway Science Center project through the Go Fund Me page here. Be a part of science in the making! Education! Fun! Make a donation or simply spread the word

Schiele Museum Show 2018

The recent Creepy Crawly Zoo show at the Schiele Museum featured a bug eating contest which was a huge success as well as a milestone for Tony as it marks the first time his presentation made a kid puke! Now that is in-your-face science happening up close and personal! He presented some new milipedes which proved alsmost as popular as the bug eating, and enjoyed the event very much.

Welcoming A New Guest Blogger, Monarch Lady!

Oh wait, that’s me!

I am honored and excited to be helping Tony out by guest-blogging on his page. I am a Monarch maeven and an insect fan-girl through and through.I look forward to bringing you more bug fun, caterpillar weirdness, and Creepy Crawly news updates!

Gateway Science Project Receives Half Million Dollar Donation… In Insects!

Gateway Science Project Receives Half Million Dollar Donation… In Insects!

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Reddit

May, 2018 Discovery World Science Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By Ernesto Di Luccia (Guest Blogger)

Can bonding with bugs inspire the next Einstein? Two entomologists think a half million dollars worth of insects should do the trick. Together, they are on the verge of realizing a dream 25 years in the making: a permanent center serving as a gateway to science exploration for curious youngsters.

In 1994, then entomology student, Antonio Gustin (Tony) had an idea to start a traveling live insect exhibit for kids. The problem was, he didn’t know how to do that. Fortunately, there were those that did and offered help. One of those was world-renowned insect collector, Dan Capps. Capps has, what was once, the world’s largest private insect collection. “I knew of him and that he traveled to exhibit his collection. I called him up and half expected him to be less than receptive. Some collectors can be… unapproachable, and this was “The Dan Capps.” But instead he invited me over for a beer. He showed me how to connect with schools and how to put together a brochure. He literally helped me get the Creepy Crawly Zoo show on the road.” said Gustin.

Twenty-five years later, Gustin and Capps are still friends. Gustin and his Creepy Crawly Zoo went on to travel the country for the next two decades and excited, inspired and terrified over a million kids – and parents. In 2007, he produced a pilot episode to a series called Tales from the Bug Whisperer, which received five international film festival awards. “The last 25 years have been an adventure to say the least.” Gustin, the ‘Bug Whisperer,’ said. “It’s crazy to me how kids I visited early on are now coming to my shows with their kids,”

After seeing the sparkle in hundreds of thousands of kids’ eyes while holding a scorpion or hearing the hiss of a cockroach, in 2017, Gustin decided to actively pursue an idea he had been developing for years – the creation of an insect-themed natural science park he calls, The Gateway Science Project. The idea is to use kids’ natural fascination and curiosity for insects as a gateway into science exploration. The project is an indoor insect and reptile zoo, where budding knowledge seekers can touch, feed, and interact with live animals. What separates it from other such endeavors is that it will have acres of botanically designed areas outdoors, with shallow ponds where kids can run, explore and catch bugs, frogs, tadpoles, turtles and just experience the natural world via play. A place where a kid will hear, “Here’s a net, here is a jar, now go explore and have fun!

Gustin has created several videos on his website (www.creepycrawlyzoo.com) to explain the elaborate vision. It is a community science center that is designed to light a fire of scientific curiosity. There is one overall theme: “Here, we science.” At the Gateway Science Center, science is a verb, an attitude and a way of life. “It is the starship Enterprise, and all who visit are its crew!” laughs Gustin. Even the trails are based on the Fibonacci sequence. Gustin’s goal isn’t to get them interested in science as subjects but science as a way of thinking. “The very foundation of science is observation skills. Before kids go out to explore we tell them we need their help to find out what is here and what they are doing. Then kids do what kids do naturally, they play, they explore, and they ask questions. That my friends, is how science starts.”

“While insects are my tool of choice to connect with kids, my true love is science more broadly! There is a recurring theme from COSMOS that has always inspired me. When you look at the scientists who made the influential discoveries shaping our understanding of the universe and ourselves, most of them got their start when a single stranger inspired them to better themselves with science. While we are fortunate to now stand on the shoulders of their discoveries, these children could have easily missed this opportunity if it had not been for that nudge.”

“Whenever I do my show, I look at the excited faces before me. I often wonder to myself, which one of these little nosepickers is going to change the world because of what I do here today? Which one is the next Newton, Faraday, Einstein, Lamarr, Leavitt, Curie?” Gustin said.

Gustin has observed children’s reactions to and interactions with insects for decades. “Children are born scientists. They are naturally, insanely, curious about their world and over the last 25 years I’ve learned how perfect insects are to reach them. Insects are everywhere and affect everything. They are the most dominant life form on the planet. They are exciting, mysterious, alien and abundantly available to kids. Insects are almost every child’s first fascination with the natural world. No child has to do anything more than step outside to find them. Once they are introduced to them, curiosity and questions follow effortlessly. That is the very foundation of what science is – curiosity. Insects are so diverse in their form and functions that the questions kids ask about insects can lead to every science you can think of. Entomology IS a gateway science.” Gustin said.

Antonio Gustin & Dan Capps

Capps agrees. He agrees so wholeheartedly and thinks the concept is so powerful that he has offered to donate his collection, valued at nearly half a million dollars, to the Gateway Science Project!

When asked why he is donating his collection Capps said, “I have spent my entire life creating this collection. I was obsessed with insects when I was young. I was passionate about nature in general, but insects were the most fascinating thing to me. I did not amass this collection to horde specimens. I collected insects because I was passionate about them. I wanted to share my passion with the world. A lifetime of collecting and learning about all these fascinating creatures has led me to pay attention to my world in a way that would have never happened without them. I mean, what good would all this do if it just sat in my basement?”

“Tony and I met over 20 years ago when he had this idea to start a traveling live insect exhibit for kids. He was an entomology student in college and came to me for advice. What he did with that idea was amazing! Have you ever seen his show for kids? He lights them on fire! Our mutual passions have kept us friends ever since. It is my fondest wish that my collection be seen by the public. I can’t take it with me. I don’t know if you’re familiar with what Tony is out to create, but the Gateway Science Project is an unbelievably wonderful concept. A concept that I have personally witnessed in my own life. I wish something like this had been around when I was a kid. Entomology IS a gateway science and I can think of no better way for my collection to be used than to inspire generations of new scientists.”

When asked how he reacted to this, Gustin said, “I am absolutely beyond words. This was an act of faith in me that I am terrified to live up to. The Gateway Science Project just went from a dream to a full-blown reality with one selfless gesture. Now, I just need a Gateway Science facility to put it all in.”

The Capps exhibit was once one of the largest private collections in the world and can has been described as absolutely breathtaking. Capps himself, is a very unassuming retired mechanic from Oscar Meyer who enjoys riding his Harley (another of his passions). He only collected insects as a hobby. A hobby he started in 1958 at the ripe old age of …8. The young Capps developed a passionate fascination with insects. A passionate fascination that continues to this day and has led him to lead an extraordinary life.

That very simple childhood curiosity has led Capps all over the planet in pursuit of insects. His incredible expeditions have taken him to Australia, Cuba, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Jamaica just to name a few. He is respected throughout the entomology community and has given hundreds of lectures. His vast collection has been featured at events all around the country, most notably Disney World’s Epcot Center, Chicago’s Museum of Science and industry, The Detroit Science Center and Purdue’s Bug Bowl. An interesting side note, Capps even holds a Guinness World’s Record for “cricket spitting” and discovered himself on a Trivial Pursuit card because of it.

So, what do two friends who share a mutual childhood passion do when they grow up? They join forces to light the world on fire and inspire new generations of scientists to find their passion! While the Gateway Science Project is still a project in the making, there is no better place for kids to science than Discovery World Children’s Science Center, in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo and Discovery World have had a long-standing partnership and share a mutual mission of inspiring kids to science. On May 12th, 2018 that is exactly where Gustin and Capps will be, exhibiting together, for the first time in 25 years! “I am absolutely thrilled that Dan will be joining me at Discovery World. In all my years of doing this show, I have never ever seen anything like his collection. It is not just some pinned specimens; Dan’s collection is a work of art! It is the culmination of a lifelong passion for entomology. Milwaukee is in for a really awesome experience.” Gustin exclaimed.

For more information about the Gateway Science Project and Discovery World shows, visit: www.creepycrawlyzoo.com! 

 

SPONSORED BY ZOOMED

Introducing Zoo Med's 'Creatures' Product Line! Includes Lighting, Substrates, Heating, Decor, and Food for a variety of your favorite Creepy-Crawlies!

SPONSORED BY WETZEL BROTHERS

Wetzel Brothers An RR Donnelley Company, works closely with major retailers and brand marketers to bring temporary point-of-purchase programs to life. From creative concepting to fulfillment and distribution for custom displays, standees, static clings, floor graphics and more – Wetzel Brothers is a “one stop” shop P-O-P solution.

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

Hello everyone and welcome to our February newsletter.  Much is happening in the way of the Gateway Science Tour.  While it may seem that little has progressed toward our goal, nothing could be farther from the truth. While the really big news will have to wait a little while longer, the Gateway Science Center is on it’s way to nonprofit status.  This is long overdue but will greatly speed up our progress.

Many of you have marveled at the display cases featured at my show.  That’s nuthin.  Yesterday, I was gifted with 6 new display cases from world-renowned collector Dan Capps.  They are absolutely STUNNING!

TALES FROM THE BUG WHISPERER VIDEO SERIES

Last summer I began filming a new series for YouTube.  To those of you who have never filmed anything outdoors in Wisconsin this may not seem like that big of a deal.  I want you to think about our weather, clouds, wind and sun. No two days are the same and getting video from one day to match the next is a pain.  BUT I did manage to get some things done. Then it sat on my computer for 6 months. Well the good news is that I have finally started all the editing and it is coming together very nicely.  

My favorite piece I’m working on is on Dung beetles.  One of my very good friends took me to an exotic animal sanctuary and said, “You want dung?  I’ll show you dung.”  It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had filming and made lots of new animal friends.  They weren’t always cooperative but still a very good day of filming.

Gateway Science Center Project

As many of you know, the whole reason the Creepy Crawly Zoo is on tour again is because of the Gateway Science Center. Many of you have asked how you can help to make this place a reality. While monetary donations are always appreciated, the following is a list of things you can do. Most of these suggestions do not require much effort on your part, but they are of enormous help to me and the Gateway Science Center mission.

  • · Tell a friend, teacher or librarian about the Gateway Science Center, our live show, T-shirt store, Discovery World shows and YouTube channel! If you tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on – well, you get the idea. You can tell someone in conversation or spread the word on social media. When posting about it please include a few words of endorsement. That makes a big difference.

Over the last two decades with the live show, 95% of my business has always been word of mouth. You, the people, have always been the reason this show endured.

 Our goal is to reach 1000 subscribers.

  • · Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter
  • · Write a blog. If you or anyone you know has some creative writing skills, a blog about the Gateway Science Center project would be of enormous value. So valuable that we have offered our customers a $75 discount off a live show for this.
  • · Become a sponsor. If you have a business and would like to become a sponsor, please message me and I will send you information about what I can do for you. While the Creepy Crawly Zoo is currently not a non-profit organization most of our clients are. You can make a donation to a school or schools for our visit. This helps out schools and you or your donation is tax-deductible.

If you have any other suggestions I am always willing to listen.

Congratulations Dawn Hudnell!  You are this month’s t-shirt winner!

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Email
Pinterest

The Creepy Crawly Zoo Today–January 2018 Newsletter

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Hello everyone and welcome to 2018!

This newsletter has been delayed because we have some very – VERY exciting things in the works. My long-time friend, world-renowned insect collector Dan Capps, will be joining me with his insect exhibit at Discovery World on May 12th! In all my years of being involved in the world of entomology, I have never EVER seen an exhibit that even compares to it. The Capps exhibit was once the world’s largest private collection. It has even been on display at Epcot Center! Dan will be exhibiting 21 tables of displayed insects… and that is only part of his collection! I am absolutely thrilled to bring this exhibit to Discovery World.

More about the Capps collection as the day gets closer.

Next show at Discovery World is February 10th at 11:30 am.

  • · We will be giving away another wonderful Creature’s Kit from Zoo Med.
  • · Anyone wearing one of my “creepy t-shirts” will get 5 extra raffle tickets!
  • · Everyone will receive a Science Diary, printed by Wetzel Brothers.
ZOOMED CREATURES KIT
CREEPY T-SHIRT
SCIENCE DIARY

Gateway Science Center Project

As many of you know, the whole reason the Creepy Crawly Zoo is on tour again is because of the Gateway Science Center. Many of you have asked how you can help to make this place a reality. While monetary donations are always appreciated, the following is a list of things you can do. Most of these suggestions do not require much effort on your part, but they are of enormous help to me and the Gateway Science Center mission.

  • · Tell a friend, teacher or librarian about the Gateway Science Center, our live show, T-shirt store, Discovery World shows and YouTube channel! If you tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on – well, you get the idea. You can tell someone in conversation or spread the word on social media. When posting about it please include a few words of endorsement. That makes a big difference.

Over the last two decades with the live show, 95% of my business has always been word of mouth. You, the people, have always been the reason this show endured.

 Our goal is to reach 1000 subscribers.

  • · Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter
  • · Write a blog. If you or anyone you know has some creative writing skills, a blog about the Gateway Science Center project would be of enormous value. So valuable that we have offered our customers a $75 discount off a live show for this.
  • · Become a sponsor. If you have a business and would like to become a sponsor, please message me and I will send you information about what I can do for you. While the Creepy Crawly Zoo is currently not a non-profit organization most of our clients are. You can make a donation to a school or schools for our visit. This helps out schools and you or your donation is tax-deductible.

If you have any other suggestions I am always willing to listen.

BIRTH AND DEATH NOTICES

Charlotte, one of my black widows, had one of her egg cases hatch recently. (see photo)

Sadly, Clyde, the Desert Hairy Scorpion, passed away last week. In 2009, Clyde volunteered for the Creepy Crawly Zoo, when crawled under my door. I was living in Tucson at the time. He will be missed. R.I.P. Clyde.

This month’s Creepy T-shirt winner is: Vanessa Kim!

Thank you very much for subscribing to this newsletter.  This is our first and we would love to hear suggestions from you on what you want to hear from us.

Antonio Gustin

AKA – The Bug Whisperer

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn

Dynamic Partnership Inspires Scientific Literacy for Kids

Dynamic Partnership Inspires Scientific Literacy for Kids

Discovery World & Milwaukee Area Science Advocates (MASA)

Present

TONY’S CREEPY CRAWLY ZOO & THE GATEWAY SCIENCE TOUR!

Discovery World, MASA and the Bug Whisperer have joined forces to promote their mutual missions of advancing science literacy to the community with the Gateway Science Tour! Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo, the world’s greatest traveling live insect exhibit, will be back on tour, performing monthly at Milwaukee’s premier science center for kids, Discovery World.

“Discovery World is thrilled to partner with The Bug Whisperer and MASA in hopes of encouraging a lifelong love of science and STEM education in our community’s youth,” said Paul Fladten, Discovery World’s Senior Public Relations Manager. “We’ve been lucky to have Tony perform his hilarious and educational shows at Discovery World as part of Summer Camp and Members Events, but we’re ecstatic to now offer monthly shows for the general public. This is truly a show for all ages and one that kids will never forget!”

Tony (aka The Bug Whisperer) is taking his show out of retirement and back on the road to promote his groundbreaking new venture, The Gateway Science Center, which introduces children to the wonders of natural sciences through an entertaining and interactive experience with insects and reptiles. (see details: http://creepycrawlyzoo.com/creepy-activism/)

“Insects are everywhere and affect everything in the natural world. At my shows, I help children become fascinated with insects. They leave feeling empowered because they can find these inspiring creatures in their own backyard. Their resulting curiosity and questions lead them to every science you can think of! Entomology is a gateway science!”  Antonio Gustin

The Gateway Science Tour is out to raise awareness for the Science Park’s crowd funding page on Gofundme.  Every child will receive a “Science Diary,” designed by Antonio Gustin, Discovery World, and MASA. (Printed by Wetzel Brothers) The science diary is a tool to set kids on scientific adventures with their normal playtime. The Gateway Science Tour hopes to reach 100 schools this coming year and give away 25,000 science diaries!

The Gateway Science Tour will kick-off its first show at Discovery World, on October 7th, 11:30am.

Contact: Antonio Gustin

Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo

thebugwhisperer@gmail.com

Contact: Paul Fladten

Discovery World

pfladten@discoveryworld.org

Contact: Jason Kern

MASA

jason@milwaukeescience.org

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn

One of My Favorite Schools of All Time

ONE OF MY FAVORITE SCHOOLS OF ALL TIME

Every once in a while, you make contact with someone and it is the beginning of something special. In 2007 I received a call to perform at a school in Illinois, Isaac Fox Elementary. In every case, throughout the last 20yrs, whoever is in charge of programming changes hands fairly often. I may attend a school several years in a row and then in the changing of the position my information does not get passed on. I may get a call from a school that I have been to many times before, but the person calling had never even heard of me prior and it was just by chance, they had called. This has not been the case with Isaac Fox Elementary.

This year, was the 10th year in a row that I have been to Isaac Fox without fail. I performed once again (for the 10th year) to a room full of 100 – 8yr olds! AND, once again, it was an absolutely wonderful experience. In every visit, I have performed to a group of well behaved, playful, charming and inquisitive kids. That is a compliment to both the staff and the parents. I have been doing this long enough to know that – that doesn’t just “happen.”

Well, there really isn’t much to say in this blog other than that. So, a great big tip of the hat to all of you at Isaac Fox Elementary and a “THANK YOU!” For all the great experiences over the years!

Regards,

Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo

 

Eating a Giant Bowl of LIVE Mealworms!

In honor of the up and coming 3rd annual bug-eating contest at the Schiele Museum, I decided to post one of my favorite scenes from Tales from the Bug Whisperer. Big Sigh, sometimes I still can’t believe the things I did to make this video. Enjoy!

#bugeating #bugwhisperer #creepycrawlyzoo
Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn

Why I Will March for Science. #whyimarch

 

Why I March for Science.

#whyimarch

“No matter what you look at, if you look at it closely enough, you are involved in the entire universe.”
Michael Faraday

As an entomologist and traveling educator/entertainer, I am not a career scientist. My life’s mission has been to create them! I can’t even say that I am concerned about insects either in any way, other than their value as a tool to excite and inspire. However, in that regard, they are THE greatest tool I know of for just that reason. Entomology is a gateway science! Insects are everywhere and affect everything. Just about any science you can think of can be connected to insects, including astronomy. Children are absolutely fascinated by them and they are as accessible as the outdoors. Just by introducing them to something that accessible, it inspires their curiosity to be pursued on their own terms. Curiosity inspires questions. Question seekers honed by the scientific method = scientists.

I have always been inspired by the stories of the great questions that scientists have pursued and answered. How many stories are there of a child on the bottom step of social hierarchies, who because of an act of kindness were given an opportunity to be educated? Children who went on to pay their debts by using the power of science and their minds, making discoveries that elevated the whole of humankind. Great discoveries that started with a great question. Great questions that started as a simple curiosity.

As a species, we stand on the shoulders of the generations that have come before us. My personal philosophy has always been that if I can leave this life knowing the next generation can reach a little higher because of what I do, then it was a life well spent. The last 20 years of my life were occupied traveling the country with the Creepy Crawly Zoo in a pursuit that has been anything but financially lucrative. “Why”, you ask? Well, I did it for science… and I did it for me. No matter how many times I’ve been down over the years, all the letters and emails from both students and parents alike have made me stand up again. Made me realize that I have to keep on keeping on. There’s inspiring that needs doing! Science needs me! – Ha!

I have stood before over a million faces over the last two decades. Every time I do my shtick, I make them laugh, I make them scream and I see the excitement on their faces. Every time I wonder, which one of them is going to be the next Faraday, Fraunhofer, Fleming, Curie or Lamarr? Which one of them will go on to ask the next great question that will lift all of humanity because of what I do here today in my sphere of influence on a fraction of a fraction of a fraction….of a fraction of a pale blue dot?

I March because of how much science has enriched my life with an understanding of what life really is. I look at the sun and I see back in time 8 minutes. I feel its rays on my face and I know these photons landing on my skin started in the center of the sun 100,000 years ago; a sun that hovers in the arm of a large spiral galaxy. A galaxy filled with another 200 billion suns that formed around a black hole in a universe of another 100 billion galaxies that began nearly 14 billion years ago! I look at my hands and I know that nearly every atom that makes me who I am, who we all are, was forged in the heart of a dying star. We are the reincarnation of long dead stars. We are the cosmos made conscious. Science has given me this knowledge and understanding and filled me with wonder and awe at my own existence. A wonder and awe based on evidence, reason and grounded in what is real. Like every seeker before me, I just want to know more!

I march for science for the questions not yet asked. Science is FULL of questions that have yet to be answered, and in many cases, we don’t even know what the questions are yet. From our ancestor’s first questions like, “how do we not get eaten my saber tooth cats?” to our questions of “how do we travel through interstellar space?” The evolution of our species and the elevation of our minds has been guided by the pursuit of answers to great questions. Science is simply the mechanism by which we find the correct answers to great questions. So is that really such a big deal?

The history of humankind says, “yes!” We don’t have to look back far to see how a world with questions that you have yet to answer is a far better world than one with answers you cannot question. There is a reason the latter is known as the “Dark ages.” The pursuit of questions has lead us from the cave to exploring the solar system. It has elevated our understanding of our existence. We went from believing natural disasters were the wrath of angry gods to understanding the forces of nature by which our world is shaped. That is to say, we went from just accepting made up stuff up to explain what we don’t know, to mastering this evolutionary gift of intellect and reason, by way of the scientific method, to solve the very mysteries of the universe! This is no small feat. This is the collective effort of an entire species on a quest to find answers to questions through science.

From the moment our ancestors used sounds to communicate a thought or draw on a cave wall to record a story we have been freely sharing ideas with each other. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only species in the 4.5 BILLION year history of our planet to take these steps. Stop a moment to take that in.

Since those first moments we, as a species, have not stopped! Because of this, we went from instinctive thoughts of pure survival to the absolute joy of kicking back on our lazy boys with a cold beer in our hands, running water and stored food in our refrigerators, and flipping channels to enjoy mindless entertainment. A well-earned gift to ourselves for using science to answer questions. Ahh.

Now suddenly and unexpectedly, ignorance has reared it’s ugly head once again to stop the pursuit of knowledge. We find ourselves at the doorstep of a new Dark Age, the Orange Age. The accumulated knowledge of decades of scientists being erased and stolen from us because it interferes with greed and profit. Dark age remnants threatening to silence the pursuit of truth in order to hang on to power through superstition. Not since Galileo has there been a greater need to stand up for science. For the sake of all of humanity science must stand against the darkness once again. I will march with those who seek knowledge and truth through science. I march for the right to question everything, seek answers and create positive, evidence-based change. I will march for the right to a well funded and unobstructed scientific education for all those faces of nascent Faradays, Flemings, Fraunhofers, Curies and Lamarrs whom I have stood before. I march so they can all reach a little higher.

Antonio Gustin (The Bug Whisperer™)

www.creepycrawlyzoo.com

www.sciencemarchmke.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScienceMarchMKE/

Twitter: @ScienceMarchMKE

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/MarchForScience/

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn