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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Entomology Online Masters Program Final Project. Lincoln, Nebraska.
For my master's project I created a printable insect field guide specific to my area for use by the local elementary and middle schools. My property is located near both Lakeville Elementary School and Piedmont Lakes Middle School, therefore insects collected in my garden should closely approximate the insects that could potentially be seen at either school. A targeted insect guide will help facilitate any number of observational activities and may encourage the schools to plant insect friendly vegetation to increase their abundance of insects. My goal is for this teaching tool to encourage local teachers to include insect education as part of their science curriculum. There are several components to the project. First, I collected insects using a sweep net during the day and a blacklight at night. The resulting insect collection is shown in Appendix 2. I then created 20 scientific illustrations from a portion of the collection, all of which can be found in a Box folder. I used these illustrations to create the printable field guide. The assembly instructions for the field guide can be found in Appendix 1. Insects should be a part of every comprehensive science education due to their diversity, abundance, ecological importance, and usefulness as a tool for teaching larger biological concepts. It is important that teachers have access to materials that make it easy to include insects as part of their curriculum, and I hope that by creating an Apopka Insect Field Guide I can encourage teachers at my local elementary and middle schools to bring students outside to observe insects. I will distribute this field guide to teachers at both schools as a .PDF file. In the future, I can add additional entries into the field guide as I complete more illustrations and find additional insect species. I can also help any interested teachers plant pollinator gardens that will attract more insects for observation.