Curious kids and insects crawling on campus: Insect-based bioprocessing and Vermicomposting at 2024 UC Davis Picnic Day

Eduardo (center) prepared an exhibition on insect-based bioprocessing of organic waste for Picnic Day – complete with demonstrations of Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) and giveaways of red wrigglers for home vermicomposting. Jordan (left) and Winston (right) helped out with the popular stand!

This year’s UC Davis annual Picnic Day on April 20, 2024 was crawling with curious kids, and insect larvae! Civil & Environmental Engineering Masters Student, Eduardo Siqueira, hosted a stand at the event, and spoke with hundreds of children and parents through the day.

Eduardo highlighted research underway as part of our National Science Foundation CAREER project. Our team is investigating how Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) can accelerate composting processes and generate valuable products from organic waste. We are studying how microorganisms and enzymes in the insect gut degrade contaminants.

Eduardo was impressed with engagement from kids and parents alike. Many found the BSFL quite amazing and were excited to take some red wrigglers for home composting. “I had brought enough supplies for about 100 ‘giveaways’, but before 1PM it was all gone.”  Next time we’ll prepare double!

Many of the kids wanted to see and touch some of the earthworms, and with parents permission, Eduardo would have the kids see and feel the earthworms.

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