PERRY TWP. Many kids got in some last-minute summer fun before starting school. One group decided to spend some time learning about dragonflies and damselflies at the Science Lab at the Exploration Gateway at Stark Parks.
The program was part of the Adventure Kids series where a group of young kids come out for an hour once a month to learn about science. Education programmer and naturalist Allison Terlacher said there is a different theme offered each month.
“Today, we are learning about dragonflies and damselflies,” Terlacher said. “We’ll be doing a story about dragonflies, making a dragonfly to take home and then going out to catch bugs and see if we can catch and release a dragon or damsel fly.”
Terlacher said they usually get around 30 participants at each class. On Aug. 21, there were about a dozen kids there with their guardians. All of the kids were excited to participate in all parts of the program but were especially excited to go outside and catch bugs.
They had a net and container they could use to scoop up the bug. Some caught bees, one caught a grasshopper and at least one caught a dragonfly. Everyone released their catches back into the environment before ending their bug catching adventure.
Terlacher said the biggest difference between the two flies is that the dragonfly is wider and spreads his wings out when it lands. The damselfly is much narrower and folds its wings back against its body when not in flight.
About dragonflies and damselflies (according to the Division of Wildlife Ohio Department of natural Resources)
- Ohio is a great state for dragonfly diversity with 164 different species being recorded.
- They have a beautiful appearance and amazing flying abilities.
- Serve as barometers of the health of streams, lakes and wetlands because they are excellent indicators of water quality
- Few animals and humans can see as well as the dragonfly. They have special compound eyes that are so large they make up the bulk of the head.
- Adult dragonflies eat other flying insects particularly midges and mosquitoes. They also eat butterflies, moths and smaller dragonflies.