Yesterday, Saturday, saw the Family Day at the Orkney International Science Festival. Not having ever attended a Science Festival event (family weddings have seemed to coincide with the Festival these past few years), I wasn't sure quite what to expect.
It's safe to say that there were lots of hands-on science experiments, being demonstrated by enthusiastic science-y folk, from molecules to the Milky Way, and I can tell you're wondering where I fit into this, aren't you?
Well, it could probably be said that, to some extent, I have pushed dragonflies and damselflies up the Orcadian agenda this year, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would be 'volunteered' on the Orkney Field Club stand to do something Odonata-ry for the Science Festival. Live specimens of aquatic larvae or flying adults certainly weren't an option, so I decided to go with the pipe cleaner vibe, as trialled on Graemsay recently.
A fellow Field Club member, Helen, kindly volunteered to help me, so we spent the day sitting on tiny chairs, fashioning all manner of weirdly-hued dragons from a few pipe cleaners. I say 'a few', but I reckon the visitors to the stand helped us make over 150 reasonably anatomically-correct dragons. With two contrasting colours for the body (maximising the stripey effect) and two white pipe cleaners for the fore and hind wings, plus the addition of a pair of pony beads (wtf are they?) for eyes, the kaleidoscopic possibilities were numerous. Pink and purple were a big hit, probably reflecting some gender stereotyping that had befallen our diminutive clientele, but I thought it best just to go with the flow and not become to proscriptive about the physiology of my favourite insect group.
|The calm before the storm|
|"Have I mentioned that they eat midges?"|
|Forget Red Bull, Helen and Graeme can give you wings!|