SHEGUIANDAH—A group of budding young entomologists sat with rapt attention in the screened meeting room at Batman’s Tent and Trailer Park in Sheguiandah this past weekend as Dr. Joe Shorthouse guided his young charges through the mysteries of the insect world at Batman’s 4th Annual Bugfest.
Batman’s co-owner Lisa Deschamps explained that she and her husband were fascinated with the biodiversity of Manitoulin Island and the Bugfest concept seemed a natural fit with their efforts to add value to their family-oriented summer resort operation. “There are just so many things you can do on the Island and kids today seem to be so glued to their electronics indoors,” she said. “We began with a hiking trail and when Joe (Shorthouse) came to me we decided that this would be a perfect time in July to hold the event, with all the insects that have hatched and are around,” she said.
Over the last few years, they have added a number of items to the itinerary of a short lecture on Manitoulin insects (these are students on summer vacation after all) followed by a hands-on charge into the bush with nets to capture live specimens. A bug-themed barbecue features spider dogs, worm cupcakes and bug juice (no bugs harmed in the making, barring the occasionally swatted mosquito). “We did actually have some foods made from insects one year,” noted Ms. Deschamps. But that was then, this year’s offerings, including the insect lollipops, are bug-free.
“We do different things every year,” she said.
Most of the events at the campground are aimed at the camp’s own residents. “We just don’t have the room or resources to offer them to everybody,” said Ms. Deschamps. But the couple likes to provide an educational and health-conscious component to their operation.
“It is the kind of thing people are looking for these days,” noted Ms. Deschamps. She should know, she and her husband came to the resort operator business from a successful career in tourism and travel marketing.
Meanwhile, the happy squeals of young children chasing insects with fluttering nets and debating the types of insects found beneath the microscope lens indicate that they are definitely onto something.