Learning About Entomology: Going on a Bug Safari

Hi Everyone! In Berlin, these are the most common insects you can find and study: Wasps (I’ve been stung twice already this month!), Cicadas, Honeybees, Grasshoppers, Ladybugs, Flies. and Fire Colored Beetles (I always see this on the trees in parks and fields, even at the Freibad.) 

Here are some good places in Berlin to spot bugs:

At Tempelhofer Feld,  you can find Gelbrand-Krummfühlerwanze (Broad Damsel Bugs), Ödlandschrecke (a type of grasshoppers,) and the Wiesenvögelchen (Dusky Heath Butterfly.) In the Hasenheide park in Kreuzberg, you can find the Großen Heupferde, a giant grasshopper species. In Volkspark Freidrichchain there are Totenkopfschwebfliege and Grünglänzende Waffenfliege (two types of flies who, despite their names are quite harmless.) Let us know if you find your own bug “hot spot” in Berlin. (Source https://kinderleicht.berlin/insekten-berlin-kinder/)

Here are a couple of links to explain how to go on your own exploration with kids:

NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) has this great instructional video in German on how to go on a “Bug Safari” in your backyard, a garden, woods, field, or by water, including what you will need, what to look for, and how to document your findings. They focus on insects commonly found in Germany: 

NABU also has a free App to help identify insects: https://www.nabu.de/tiere-und-pflanzen/aktionen-und-projekte/insektensommer/mitmachen/24466.html

In English, California Academy of Sciences has a Nature Play instructional page on how to collect and study bugs with kids: https://www.calacademy.org/educators/lesson-plans/nature-play-insect-investigation

The free iNaturalist App lets you photograph, identify, and document what’s around you with a digital collection.

You can choose to share your observations with scientists and help build our understanding of the natural world. iNaturalist has an impressive artificial intelligence that does a good job of helping you identify animals you find. If you choose to share your data for scientific use, a community of experts will confirm your identification. (A caveat: The time frame for confirmation can vary from a day to months, depending on the organism.)

You don’t even have to go outside to use iNaturalist—there are lots of animals inside your house. Go on an indoor safari with the Never Home Alone project. There’s even a downloadable ebook to help you identify the animals you find.

You must be over 13 to have an iNaturalist account; but you can definitely set up an account and hand your phone over to the smaller members of your household while supervising them.

There is a companion app specially designed for kids called Seek. It’s basically Pokemon with real animals; you earn badges as you explore your neighborhood! Seek doesn’t require a login, and has less data sharing than iNaturalist and has no age restrictions, in case you have privacy concerns.

Here is the website for iNaturalist Germany: https://www.inaturalist.org/places/germany

At the Biosphere in Potsdam, kids can see the amazing stick bugs and leaf bugs, beetles, ants, bees, and also walk around in a small butterfly house. They have a special exhibit about Insects: Insekten Stark und Schön until October 25, 2020 with an interactive insect discovery app.

For more info go to: https://www.biosphaere-potsdam.de/kalender/insekten-stark-schoen/

In English: https://www.biosphaere-potsdam.de/en/calendar/translate-to-english-insekten-stark-schoen/

Georg-Hermann-Allee 99, 14469 Potsdam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s