Take Your Kids to Work Day

by Carl Strang

Last week the annual Take Your Kids to Work Day took place at Mayslake Forest Preserve. I was one of the program leaders, and I took the opportunity to test some ideas on singing insects and hearing. We tried out some insect survey methods, including sweep netting.

This was, of course, popular. You get to swing a net through the vegetation, then see what you caught.

Everyone gathered round when someone had something interesting to share.

Often there were odd little critters buried in the bits of vegetation at the bottom.

Every insect and spider got equal attention, but I was especially interested in singing insects.

One of my long term goals is to learn to identify katydid nymphs like this Conocephalus.

They also tried out the SongFinder.

This device takes in sounds and drops their pitch, dividing the frequency by 2, 3 or 4 times. Familiar sounds are made strange.

I was eager to find out how well kids could hear species I cannot hear without this device. I led them to an area where slender meadow katydids  were singing. I was mildly chagrined to learn that not only the kids heard them, but so did their younger-adult parents. I was the only one who could not. They said the song reminded them of a sprinkler.

Here they proved their ability by finding one of the singing slender meadow katydids.

This was a helpful step toward developing monitoring methods for singing insects, and everyone seemed to have a good time. By the way, I am conducting a free singing insects program at Danada this coming Saturday evening. Call 630-206-9581 to reserve a spot.

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1 Comment

  1. September 20, 2011 at 5:54 am

    […] long, first showed up in sweep nets the kids were swinging at the Forest Preserve District’s employee parent-child event at Mayslake in August. Then they were mainly in Queen Anne’s lace flowers. Lately they have shifted to […]


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