By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Eight long legs crawling silently. Two large, multifaceted eyes with a pair of transparent wings. Short hairs covering professional pollinators.
Spiders, dragonflies and bees were just some of the different bugs that kids learned about at The Garden at Elm Bank’s Caterpillar Club gathering, where young ones expanded their knowledge of the different insects found in gardens.
Kathi Gariepy, who has been a master gardener for about 20 years, led the program. Gariepy encouraged the youngsters not to be afraid of their crawly friends, teaching them about the important role bugs play in nature. Children received a hands-on learning experience as they sat in the serene Weezie’s Garden, looking at replicas of bugs, bug books, and dead bugs in small cases.
“It is something that I truly enjoy, and I think we need more people getting out there and talking to little ones instead of staring at a monitor or a phone all day,” Gariepy said.
Daniel Rich was with one of his grandsons, Ryan, watching the lesson on the different bugs found in gardens. Rich is an avid gardener and wants to share his passion with his grandkids.
“They will go out and pick up a June bug off of the ground, let it crawl up their arm, and just have no fear. That’s how I want them to grow up - not being afraid of beetles and bugs and that type of thing,” Rich said.
“It’s funny how when I was a kid, we knew all about nature but we didn’t know the names of things, but now it is the other way around," said Melissa Pace, a garden educator at Elm Bank. "They know all the proper names of everything, but they don’t know what they are."
“They should know that this is just a little treasure," commented Joanne Fisher, who was in attendance with her grandkids, Roman and Giulia.
"And that it is a beautiful place for adults and children to come” she added.