IFWG Goals

The Insect Festival Working Group was formed to share information about best practices and develop a common evaluation scheme. 

Over the last 30 years, multiple museums and Entomology departments have begun offering Insect Festivals in the United States. Eighty-one active insect festivals have been identified (Hvenegaard 2016), with attendees ranging from 100,000 to 200 members of the public. What is the outcome of this huge amount of effort and time? There is limited research available so far, other than generally counting festivals and visitors.

The first goal of IFWG is to identify and disseminate evidence-based best practices for common insect festival exhibits (petting zoos, food insects, etc) and ambassador animals. We plan to document the exhibits and practices for each festival, and look for common “core” exhibits that we can identify with a plan to share signage, materials, and species husbandry information.

Our second goal is to identify evidence-based best practices for volunteer training. We also want to explore how insect festivals contribute to career-related outcomes for volunteers. Volunteers are critical to the functioning of insect festivals, but so far we’ve found no insect festival research on what volunteers learn, or how best to prepare them. Because there is a strong element of fear and loathing in public attitudes towards insects, our volunteers may need extra training, or have unique experiences.

Our third goal is to develop a common shared evaluation for visitors to compare across venues to see what is similar, what is different, and to try to identify best practices. We want to know more about what motivates visitors to attend, the demographic makeup of our audience, and if we actually change any knowledge or behavior in visitors. What festivals currently have evaluation and assessment frameworks in use?

Our fourth goal is to use the results from our work to drive changes with a priority on equity and inclusion.

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Have you regularly evaluated your festival? Are you interested in contributing to a shared evaluation instrument with common questions?

Cakes and Insects!


We would love to have info about your exhibits, and would like to develop some best practices for training volunteers, animal handling, and safety issues.

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Going Digital

We had to scramble to keep connected in 2020 — what lessons did we learn about digital festivals?

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Let’s make something beautiful together.