Scorpions, cockroaches and spiders, oh my!

16 Feb

With the feeling of spring peeping out every few days, we have been having a blast in the Titan Garden with the 1st graders and kindergarteners.  They are noticing more and more green with every visit and the kindergarten students are about due to see their snow pea shoots emerging from the ground.  Now you know there’s gonna be some celebrating on THAT day!

But what really might interest you is bugs.  Not just any bugs but BIG BUGS.  Like this



Now THAT is a cockroach.  A Madagascar Hissing Cockroach to be specific. 


Huge thanks to Wizzy Brown, our Travis County AgriLife Extension entomologist who visited with all of our 1st grade classes to talk to them about bugs living in the garden and what kind of habitats they might choose.  Now we don’t expect to see that giant cockroach walking around, that was really just for thrills.  And yes, your kids did pet the cockroach.


Some of our teachers were even brave enough to pet the cockroach.  Ms. Phillips even brought her around on her hand to say hi to all the kids.


There was a male and female hissing cockroach that the kids got to see.  How can you tell them apart?  The male has horns- and a complete lack of sense of direction.  Smile



Wizzie spoke to the students about how bugs contribute to the garden and how we can not assume that all bugs are bad bugs, that many of them are essential to our garden, and to our earth, to ensure that soil remains healthy, flowers get pollinated, and bad bug populations are controlled. Some classes explored around the garden a bit with Wizzie to see if they could spot areas that might be good bug habitats and find plants that would even attract bugs.  


Along with our cockroaches, the kids also got to see an Emperor Scorpion, a very large centipede and millipede, and the molted skin of a Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula.  Believe me, the skin was enough to see- I didn’t need to see the whole spider. 


Thanks to Wizzie for taking time to speak to River Place students!


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