Digital Bug Bowl 2021: Community Science Day

Tuesday April 13th

Community science lets individuals and communities participate in collecting scientific data. You don’t need to be a scientist — Community Science involves everyone in observing and recording the living things around them. Who knows more about your backyard and neighborhood than you?

By collecting up and sharing all that information, scientists can solve large scale problems and questions that directly affect the places you live. We will be highlighting three programs today:

  • Caterpillars Count: What caterpillars live around you? Are there more or fewer caterpillars than there used to be?
  • TickINsiders: What ticks are around you in Indiana? What diseases do they carry? By collecting and sending them to our labs, we can map out areas of risk.
  • Indiana Cicada Fest: 2021 will see a historic emergence of Brood X periodical cicadas. We need your help to record them!

3 PM: LIVE: Caterpillars Count!

Caterpillars Count! is a project that relies on citizen scientists (you!) to help understand some of the most important organisms in our ecosystems—caterpillars and other insects—by conducting surveys of the plants and trees around them. We especially encourage teachers, 4H leaders, and nature center educators that are interested in starting their own local counts to attend. (Teen to Adult)

caterpillars count logo

These insects are an important food source for birds and other wildlife, and they have economic and environmental impacts on our forests and crops. In this training session, you’ll learn more about the project, and how to count caterpillars, beetles, and other animals on your local plants and trees.

Check out these fun online tools to help you practice finding caterpillars:

Teachers! There’s a whole page of lesson plans related to concepts covered in Caterpillars Count; Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Caterpillars Count! can be used for Criteria III (Continuing Education) in the NC Environmental Education Certification Program.


tick insiders logo

Tick INsiders is a community science project to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases in Indiana. The project seeks to better understand the risks of tick-borne diseases across the state, and improve health care for Indiana residents. Every year, they seek highly motivated individuals to help collect ticks from private properties throughout the State of Indiana. (Teen to Adult)

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to a tick? We invite you to experience life from the perspective of the Lyme disease tick in early spring. This video introduces parents and children to the biology of Ixodes scapularis, the vector of Lyme Disease in the U.S. It will show where the tick lives, how it finds people and pets to feed on, and how it should be removed.

What does an Entomology Research Lab look like?

Take a tour of entomology workspaces! This video will take you from a lab in Canada studying black widow spiders, to entomology labs in Illinois, Jamaica, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. Thank you to BlackInEnto for the use of this video.

Indiana Cicada Fest

Bug Bowl 2021 is a little early for cicadas, so we hope you will join us for Indiana Cicada Fest, May 1st-9th! On these days, pick a spot with cicadas, photograph as many plants or animals as you can find, and add them to our Cicada Fest Project. Visit our 17-year cicada website to learn more.

This Cicada is 136 years old! The cicadas emerging this year are the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandchildren of this cicada emergence in 1902.

Full Digital Bug Bowl 2021 Schedule

Questions? Email