Bug man wows kids

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - Dan­ica MacLean

There were plenty of cap­ti­vated faces as “The Bug Man” paid a visit to On­er­ahi’s Dragon­fly Springs Wet­lands Sanc­tu­ary.

Ruud Klein­paste was in Whanga¯rei yes­ter­day as part of a plan with Dragon­fly Springs’ Jeremy Busck to carry out ed­u­ca­tion work in the town.

Klein­paste held a work­shop for teach­ers and ed­u­ca­tors at the On­er­ahi Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, “to ex­plain to teach­ers we are los­ing our con­nec­tion with na­ture”. The work­shop moved on to the wet­lands sanc­tu­ary, where chil­dren joined in.

Klein­paste gave the teach­ers re­sources to teach with out­side the class­room and showed them ways to in­cor­po­rate na­ture into what they were do­ing.

He de­scribed the at­tend­ing chil­dren as “ab­so­lute fla­grant nerds” who were bring­ing him bugs they found to ask about.

“We’ve been find­ing ant colonies, cave we¯ta¯, case moth cater­pil­lars. We’ve been find­ing wa­ter spi­ders, nurs­ery web spi­ders, dam­sel flies.”

Klein­paste said for the chil­dren it was about in­quiry learn­ing, “and where bet­ter to do this than in this wet­land”.

While the chil­dren were in­quir­ing about the bugs they were learn­ing lit­er­acy, nu­mer­acy and sci­ence.

“That’s the whole idea, to cre­ate na­ture-lit­er­ate kids.”

He led a crowd of about 80 peo­ple on a sec­ond tour of the wet­lands yes­ter­day af­ter­noon and talked about the var­i­ous bugs he came across.

Chil­dren and their par­ents fol­lowed him closely, fas­ci­nated with what might come out of his mouth next. Af­ter find­ing a bee on a flax bush he re­galed a tale of hav­ing 60,000 killer bees on his face.

Kiwi North ed­u­ca­tor Shirley Peter­son was on hand to teach chil­dren about pests and traps.

Klein­paste ended his day by speak­ing at The Calfer Suite in Fo­rum North about the value of bio­di­ver­sity and what can be learnt from bugs and other or­gan­isms.


Ruud Klein­paste, aka “The Bug Man”, talks about the bee on his fin­ger to a crowd of keen ob­servers.

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