March 9, 2019

Science FUNday at the University of Alberta 2019

Article by Brooke McPhail (MSc student, Hanington lab, University of Alberta)

Three HPI student volunteers attended the Science FUNday exhibition held at the University of Alberta on March 9th, 2019. This event was attended by over 3,500 people, and we had participants at our booth almost constantly during the entire event.

At our parasitology booth, we had many SEM images of endo- and ectoparasites, as well as jars containing parasite samples, and life cycle diagrams of several interesting parasites. We also had a Giardia bean bag toss game, where the bean bags wee trophozoites and the children had to toss them into cut-outs in a beaver, a stream, and a boiling pot of water at a campsite. This fun and engaging game was made by a research assistant in the Hanington lab, Leah B.           

When participants approached our table, we asked if they knew what a parasite was. If not, we explained and then talked about all the specimens we had available as examples. A very popular specimen was the jar of bot fly larvae that live in the noses of caribou. We encouraged questions from children and their parents and were excited that many people were interested in learning about parasites.