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Kids bug out at Sherborn playground

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff

Though school just let out, children of the Dover-Sherborn area were up early last Friday morning to attend a special summer class outdoors. Bryan Man, better known as Professor Bugman, lent his expertise to friends at the Sherborn playground for an insect safari. 

An adventurer holds up a jar containing a makeshift ecosystem for a moth.

Sherborn Youth Services Librarian Maureen Hayes has themed the summer reading events “Beyond the Beaten Path”, and shared her passion for nature by participating in the day. 

Professor Bugman and his swarm of entomologists themselves took a walk beyond the beaten path and ventured across the Sherborn playground on Cemetery Lane and through a nearby pond to identify numerous insects, some crustaceans (such as isopods), and plant life. 

Bugman provided students with magnifiers, sweep nets, and jars to aid their journey. Students practiced twisting their wrists and swinging their nets back and forth to learn the proper technique, making sure the bag of the net was open for bugs (as they tend to fly upwards).

A young entomologist shows off his proud find: a bark louse. 

When Maureen Hayes asked Professor Bugman for advice on how to preserve and connect with nature, his response was to encourage children from a young age to be present in the community — and to visit different local areas, such as wildlife refuges, to engage safely with the world around us.

To that end, Professor B made sure to note the rules of the outdoor classroom, the most important being not to disrupt nature. Navigating with a great level of knowledge and empathy, he noticed an ant carrying a small remnant of soil. “Let them do their job,” he said. “If you were doing your homework or chores and a giant scooped you up, you wouldn’t be too happy.”

As there were no giants in sight — just a beautiful morning, an outdoor classroom, and some very knowledgeable teachers — the young entomologists on hand for the day’s insect safari were very happy indeed.

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