Spiders, grasshoppers, moths and beetles invaded Carolyn Fuller's third-grade classroom at Three Oaks Elementary School in Cary on Wednesday, sparking lots of ooh's and aah's among the budding entomologists in the crowd.
As part of their monthlong study on insects and spiders, the class welcomed Rex Bastian of Hendrickson the Care of Trees who shared his lifelong bug collection and expertise with the students.
"The students have been very excited about this unit," said Fuller. "The focus this year is on getting the kids to realize that not all insects are harmful and that they are an important part of nature."
Throughout his presentation, Bastian echoed this theme.
"While they can be kind of a pain sometimes, there are many insects out there that do good things," he emphasized.
Bastian, who is a certified entomologist and arborist, pointed out several reasons for appreciating these often-despised critters.
He highlighted the sweet honey and plush gardens that insects can help create and surprised the kids when he told them that the coloring from their favorite red juice they drink at snack time comes from them.
Bastian did mention the harmful effects too, most notably the threat that disease-carrying insects are to trees. He reminded the class about last year's plague of the Asian long-horned beetle in Chicago and introduced the class to a new tree-killer on the rise called the gypsy moth. …