Ladybug Day_COVER

LADY BUG DAY

BY BETH BECKMAN | www.lilkidbigcity.com

Welcome Ladybugs!

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Ladybug day is a decades-long tradition at the popular Washington Market Park  in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood, where children help to release thousands of ladybugs into their beautiful garden!

Usually coordinated with local preschool and elementary schools – this year the park organizers held this amazing event on a weekend to allow all children and community friends a chance to enjoy this unique occasion.

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We jumped at the opportunity to learn more about our favorite bug!

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Washington Market Park is a beloved local park and playground, and hosts many community events throughout the year. This lovely space features a large grass area, fun playground equipment and even a community garden. Such a treasure for the neighborhood, and the families in the area.

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The event was wildly popular! Everyone was excited to meet and greet the star of the show – the ladybug!

We learned that park (and gardeners alike) love ladybugs because they eat garden pests called aphids. Aphids eat (and destroy) many kids of plants. Ladybugs are essential for a healthy garden!

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Friendly volunteers helped to hand out ladybugs to the excited children.

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First: observation. The ladybugs were placed on a large table so everyone could easily discover and watch their movements. Organizers handed out miniature magnifying glasses to the children for an up-close look.

So many ladybugs – they were everywhere! During Ladybug Day, the Friends of Washington Park group released over 100,000 ladybugs into the garden. Wow!

What a special, educational experience for children and adults of all ages.

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Where do the bugs come from? We learned that the ladybugs were shipped to New York from California – and are sold by the pound! They arrive in canvas pouches with loose grass, as seen above.

The ladybugs arrived two days before the event and were kept refrigerated by event organizers. They do this because it puts the ladybugs in a relaxed/hibernated state. They take them out a few hours before the event to wake them up, to ensure that they will be ready for the garden!

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The ladybugs were quite active, and loved crawling (and tickling) children’s hands and arms.

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Such friendly bugs! Lil Kid loved watching them climb and explore!

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Into the garden – time to release the bugs!

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Lil Kid was proud of the sign he helped make to welcome the love bugs!

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He proudly displayed it in the flower bed during the release.

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The community was encouraged to carefully carry the bugs into the garden, and place them directly onto the plants.

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Lil Kid loved this part! He ran about the garden, looking for the perfect flower (and home) for his new friend.

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Cute handouts were given to the children at the event to help them learn more about these amazing bugs. They contained lots of fun information – including facts and diagrams of the bug themselves, and even an adorable song!

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A few facts:

• Ladybugs are called “ladybirds” in some areas
• There are more than 5,000 species of ladybugs
• The lifespan of a ladybug is on average 1-2 years

So fascinating!

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A quick stop to draw a ladybug with the park’s chalk. So cute to see so many creative ladybugs sketched around the park.

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Back for more friends!

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Finding the perfect leaf.

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A happy bug!

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Welcome Home Ladybugs! We had fun learning about you today!

Huge thank you to the Friends of Washington Market Park organizers for this wonderful event!

For more information on Washington Market Park: http://www.washingtonmarketpark.org/

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