LEWISTON – Creeping, crawling and flying insects will be welcomed guests at the 10th annual Bug Fest planned from noon to 3 p.m. next Sunday at Bond Lake Park, Lower Mountain Road.
Presented by the park’s all-volunteer beautification committee, the free celebration of all things buggy will feature bug displays, books and activities to offer a closeup view of the insect world and help visitors understand the benefits of co-existing with insects.
A favorite is the bug walk at 2 p.m., when participants will search for bugs to study and discuss and even capture – for a short time. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bug containers from home. Small, clear, plastic deli containers are a good choice. All insects will be released back into the wild at the end of the program.
The event is for all ages, according to volunteer Mary Kate Fonzi. “Even the teeniest kids can toddle in the grass and see what they can find,” she said. “Moms and Dads often come in and tell the kids to go ahead and look at the bugs and then they, too, end up looking at our books and through our microscope. There’s so much to look at. We also have people who come back every year with questions they’ve saved up for us to answer.”
Fonzi said they picked this time of year, specifically, because many of the wildflowers are in bloom and that, of course, means more insects to spot and study.
“The goldenrod is in season, milkweed is sometimes still in season, and we’ll see aster,” she said. “We’ll see honeybees and bumblebees, damsel flies, all kinds of beetles, crickets and grasshoppers. Summer is at its peak, so bugs will be at their peak, too.”
The event is held rain or shine, in the Nature Center.
“This is one of our most popular events,” said Fonzi.
She said a grant from the Air and Waste Management Association allowed her group to purchase some items for the nature center, including plastic figurines depicting the life cycle of various insects and a number of books. She also has a microscope attached to a television, which allows visitors to study insects even more closely.
The all-volunteer group at this Niagara County park operates without a budget and is always looking for new members.
“We try to make people aware of this park,” Fonzi said. “We have hundreds of acres, with lakes and swamps, and even some old fruit trees from when this area was farmed. There are horse trails, ATV trails, trails for mountain bikes and skiing. People don’t realize the resources we have here. We try to get people out there to see what we’ve got.
“Our volunteers are just people who care enough about the park to volunteer some time. Some live close to the park and others don’t live so close, but we want to get the word out about the songbirds and animal life we have here. It doesn’t take much to volunteer with us, maybe just helping out at our bi-monthly events.”