The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District is proud to highlight the recent success of our Open House & Centennial Celebration. This event provided a unique opportunity for the public to tour the District facilities, see our programs first-hand, and find out how our programs have continued to protect public health in our community since 1919.
District tours departed from the office, home of our new 3D printer, and moved through to our newly remodeled library and lab. The library was outfitted with lifecycle displays, both graphic and tangible, featuring not just mosquitoes, but other animals too. On the table were four Dino-Lite digital microscope stations featuring phases of the mosquito lifecycle as well as water fleas, a water leach, butterflies and more for an up-close exploration. Here, we also discussed some of our research and development projects, including overwintering mosquito surveillance, cache valley virus surveillance, and bioassay and cage trial efforts for product quality control.
In the lab, tour guests were welcomed by the Vector Ecologist, John Albright, where he and staff guided them through the lab operations, while sprinkling in fun facts about the District and entomology. The walls were adorned with graphic posters. The first poster detailed the most prevalent mosquito species in our area. The second poster showed the various traps the lab utilizes to conduct mosquito surveillance throughout the District. These substantial displays were complemented with smaller posters about the insectary (#MosquitoNursery) and other vectors of concern. To elevate the displays, staff also provided engaging activities. Guests could try their hand at pupa races, using a pipette to isolate and remove the pupae from the larval trays. The first person to get all their pupae successfully transferred to the cup won a prize, a magnifying bug viewer, for the new insect enthusiasts. We also challenged all the guests to guess how many yellowjackets are in our jug – the closest from each tour group won a Foldscope, to bring the lab with them on their adventures.
From there, the tour continued into the operations staging room, where we stationed our exotic insects (Walking Sticks, Death’s head Cockroaches, and Hissing Cockroaches), for holding and observing. Juxtaposed to the live insects were the pinned insect collections, conveniently close for comparison. In this room, guests spoke with our Assistant Manager, Guangye Hu, who explained how our operations occur in the field. Though the staging room is usually just filled with staff and computers during mosquito season, we filled it with entomological experiences for the Centennial Celebration.
Continuing along the property, the tours stopped by our new vehicle building, where our large touchscreen display was prepared with a digital ‘Find the Source’ game. Guests learned that while many found some of the obvious sources, the pond or the trough, there are many other sources that often go unnoticed on residential properties. As the tour continued, many of the less conspicuous residential sources marked the path to the Aquaculture building. This showcased sources like flowerpots, toys, gutters, umbrellas, buckets, dog bowls, gardening supplies, and tarps, all holding water and ready for a mosquito to lay her eggs. “Hey, this looks like MY yard!” exclaimed multiple visitors.
In the Aquaculture building, guests heard from our Heavy Equipment Operator and recent Grass Roots Award recipient, Corey Boyer. He discussed the District’s use of mosquitofish in biological control measures and explained the lifecycle of the fish as they relate to our aquaculture program. Here, guests witnessed the e-fish-iency of the mosquitofish, as staff dropped larvae into smaller tanks of mosquitofish, for easy viewing.
To conclude the tour, guests were brought back up to the front to enjoy the District vehicle line-up, the family fun gazebo, and the KIXE/PBS booth. Staff were available to give guests an insider’s view of our diverse line-up of vehicles, and to answer questions about the equipment of mosquito control. The District also facilitated various games like the Lifecycle Dipping game, the Mosquitofish Toss game, the fear-factor style Bug Snack challenge, in addition to coloring and activity tables. Occasionally guests were greeted by Daniel Tiger from PBS or our very own mosquito mascot, Missy Keeto. Lunch was served, and while dining, guests could also catch some of the Wild Kratts mosquito episode “Mosquito Dragon.” Oh, and there was cake. Who could forget the cake?
This family friendly event brought many people to the District grounds, from kids to legislative representatives. We’re grateful for the time Brenda Haynes, Doug LaMalfa’s representative, spent touring the district, and for the certificate recognizing the District for its 100 years of public service. Thanks also to Brian Dahle for sending his representative Bruce Ross to learn more about our programs, innovations, and concerns. Additionally, we’d like to send our appreciation to our media sponsor for the event, KIXE, our local PBS station. And finally, thank you to everyone who participated and added to the success of the event, or otherwise helped the District celebrate our 100th year protecting public health!
View more photos of the SMVCD Open House 2019 here: https://youtu.be/drep01MSGac
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