The 12th annual Insect Festival sponsored by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County will be held Saturday, September 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mercer Educational Gardens, 431A Federal City Road, Hopewell Township.
Attendees are invited to view seven demonstration gardens — Annual, Butterfly, Cottage, Herb, Native Plant, Perennial, and Weed ID — and talk with Rutgers Master Gardeners who will be on hand to offer tips and display guides for recognizing some of the pesky as well as beneficial insects. Every garden will host an activity that will entertain and teach children of all ages about the incredible and often beautiful insects common to the Northeast.
The event will be held rain or shine; admission is free and on-site parking is available.
Many exciting activities will be offered this year. Viewing tiny organisms through microscopes at the Bugs in Water activity will be back again. Enjoy an insect hunt on the paths cut through the restored meadow or visit with native-bee and honeybee experts who can explain why we need to be less fearful and more respectful of the most important pollinators in our ecosystem. Learn how insect predators, including both bats and birds, can help control insect pest populations and reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Everyone can take a look at red wriggler worms making compost in a simple container that is easy to set up at home, and join in other activities.
Popular events from previous years will continue — butterfly births, Monarch butterfly tagging, bugs galore (insect inspection and handling), the insect puppet show, tattoos, crafts, hayrides, and a discussion with Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer County Horticulturist. Local environmental agencies will also be present with their experts and displays.
The Master Gardeners of Mercer County is a volunteer educational outreach program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners participate in many volunteer programs throughout the County, as well as answer home horticulture questions through their Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline, (609) 989-6853, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., March through October, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., November through February. For more information on the organization’s educational programs and events, visit www.mgofmc.org.