Last week I gave a lecture to over 300 1st and 2nd year student teachers at UKZN School of Education, Edgewood Campus. Wow! What a thrill! I was delighted to discover that – truly – insects have universal appeal. The students exclaimed, laughed, participated enthusiastically, happily swept along by insect stories, which are always fresh and new and bizarre. The antics of insects can enthrall anyone!
They were particularly intrigued by different romantic strategies: from elaborate courtship dances in micropezid flies to the ‘run-and-jump’ manoeuvre of a male darkling beetle, from complicated sperm-transfer mechanics of damselflies to male-less, sperm-less cloning in aphids.
What really excited me that day was knowing over 300 young teachers are going out into the world, understanding that insects are the food base for most vertebrates, that insects need indigenous ecosystems to survive, and knowing of a few, simple things we can do to make a difference.
When teachers know something, there is the very good chance that very soon very many children will know the same thing. Teachers are the door to the nation.
In the light of this, we are soon announcing an exciting new project. Stay tuned…