I can’t see through this ‘scope: Bug Night #9

The evening huddle was informative. Everyone was instructed on the difference between fingernail clams and Asian Clams. Advice on technology and practical tips were provided.

“What about the dim bulb ‘scope?” asked a Bug Night-er.

“See if there is another ‘scope or if your neighbour is willing to trade with you,” said the male White Coat, “If not, your mobile phone flashlight feature can help.”

“Sometimes the focus isn’t good,” reported another Bug Night-er.

“You might have too much depth of field,” offered the female White Coat, “Perhaps you might try zooming out to flatten the focus.”

“What do I do if my forceps don’t meet?” asked a quiet Bug Night-er, “A lot of them don’t seem to grab the smaller organisms.”

“We can try to fix them here,” offered both White Coats, “Please bring them to us and will try to repair them while you grab another pair.”

“What if the eye pieces are smudged?” asked a new Bug Night-er.

“Please be very careful and use only Kimwipes to clear the smudges,” instructed the White Coats.

Not all of the questions were as specific and easily resolved.

“I’m having a difficult time identifying the larger organisms up close,” moaned a Bug Night-er, “Actually, I can’t see much of anything.”

“Just do your best,” said the female White Coat, “No more questions now and get to work.”

We will see you on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp (ending just as sharply at 8:59 so that we do not tax our kind St. Paul’s School hosts).

Rap blindly on the door or windows to be admitted to the laboratory.

Juggling by myself: Bug Night #8

The male White Coat was alone. Utterly and completely alone. There was no one to fetch scopes and proctor the sit-down room. It was the first full night of identification and for some Bug Night-ers, their first chance to use the Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack picture and dichotomous key. It was going to be a new experience for some and for others, a bit of a panic.

“How much more can he take?” murmured an experienced Bug Night-er under her breath.

“Did you see how he just froze while opening the eighteen-slot egg carton?” asked another Bug Nigh-er, “He looked so dazed and harried.”

“Where IS she?” demanded a new Bug Night-er, “Why isn’t she here?”

“Remember the huddle last week,” chided the experienced Bug Night-er, “They gave us a choice to come or not while she was travelling.”

“Nothing’s ever easy, is it?” acknowledged a sage and veteran Bug Night-er, “Let’s pitch in an help—we can do it.”

The sage veteran helped bring the cartons off the cart and began arranging the Bug Night “caféteria” on the laboratory bench. With just a few people, it didn’t seem too onerous. In no time, they had the laboratory set up and people were in the stand-up and sit-down room working on their samples. They settled in with their normal routine and forgot about the sole White Coat.

As the night wore on, it was clear the White Coat was not keeping up. The strain began to show.

Steve will see you on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp (ending just as sharply at 8:59 so that we do not tax our kind St. Paul’s School hosts).

Tap on the door or windows to be admitted to the laboratory.

Signs of spring: Bug Night #7

The White Coats were worried. One of them was always worried but now the concern was evident in both of them. In the spring, a young Bug Night-er’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. If that were true, April was the cruelest month for Bug Nights. With sorting on the verge of completion, the stage was set for a challenging few weeks of intense identification. Warm weather and late daylight were a combination for whimsy not serious entomology. There could be trouble.

“We’ve gone into middle May before,” said the female White Coat.

The male White Coat seemed skeptical, having suffered from a lifetime of short-term memory issues.

“Some of the students were in a spring frenzy but most of the Bug Night-ers were really focused on finishing,” she pressed gently.

He was impassive.

The female White Coat wanted to please everyone and keep everyone happy. She knew from nearly a quarter century of Bug Nights that it was a blueprint for disaster.

“Maybe we can find a way to move outside,” she offered.

She outlined a plan for outdoor Bug Nights. Light and equipment without an outside power source would be challenging. What could go wrong? Perhaps Bug Night-ers might work with some of the larger, more seen readily organisms up on the grassy knoll that received the last of the day’s sun.

Perhaps not.

We will see you on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp.

Roll in as soon as you can make it. You’ll be bowled over with the busy night we have planned for you.Tap on the windows or door to be admitted to the laboratory.

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