Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Muncie

September 6, 2022

The Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and Environmental Center.

Ball State University is inviting the community to learn about and celebrate pollinators at its family-friendly “Pollinator Party!” being held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and Environmental Center.

At this free event, nature-related organizations like the Red-tail Land Conservancy, Robert Cooper Audobon Society, Friends of the Greenhouse, and Conservation Tales will offer pollinator-themed crafts and activities. Children of all ages can make their own Monarch butterfly life cycle illustration, learn the “honeybee waggle” dance, and go on a tropical butterfly scavenger hunt. Other activities will include story times and short kid-friendly hikes through the adjacent Christy Woods.

Families will also be able to see live bats and songbirds in demonstrations from Ball State wildlife biologists. Monarch butterfly caterpillars will be on-site with the high potential to pupate, emerge, or go through other major life cycle changes that day. The indoor beehive housed at the Environmental Education Center, also known as the Nature Lab, will be on display, where more than 25,000 bees can be seen from inches away, behind a pane of glass.

“The ‘Pollinator Party!’ is a great opportunity for kids to experience wildlife science done by Ball State researchers in a way they can understand,” said Erica Oliver, Environmental Education program coordinator. “They can see and interact with wild animals like bees, bats, birds, and butterflies that they otherwise would not be able to.”

Ball State recently opened its Nature Lab, which features a spacious classroom with access to a prairie and nearby Christy Woods. Free parking is available in front of the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse.

In addition to monthly programs like the “Pollinator Party!”, the Nature Lab is open for casual exploration and enjoyment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The full calendar can be viewed on the lab’s Facebook page.

“At the ‘Pollinator Party!’ families will gain a better understanding of the resources available to them and their kiddos here at Ball State and from community organizations,” Ms. Oliver said. “The Nature Lab is here to serve as a resource for environmental education and community engagement.”