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Kristie is an entomologist, writer and award-winning lecturer who received an M.S. in entomology from Texas A&M University. Her research focused on the biology, biodiversity, and distribution of solifuge arachnids (camel spiders!) in Kenya. She lectured a course called Insects and Human Society, which explored how insects have shaped human history and culture. She recently described a new species of solifuge from the Sudan/Kenya border.

Kristie is the Founder and Creative Director of The Bug Chicks (TBC), an educational company run by two entomologists, Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker who met in graduate school. They teach about the incredible world of insects, spiders and their relatives through their fun videos, sci-comm writing and consulting.

For the past ten years, while teaching about arthropods, she has used them as tools to talk to young people about social issues like prejudice, racism, educational potential and personal development. She promotes women in STEM and the idea that you can create a life from the things that you love. She inspires kids to ‘Be Brave’ in an effort to help them achieve success in school and life.

 

Highlighted Acheivements

Some of TBC’s proudest moments have happened in collaboration with incredible institutions. They have traveled to Guatemala as consultants to teach Mayan farmers the difference between pest and beneficial insect species with the Norman Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture.  They have created over 50 videos for organizations like Texas A&M University, The National Ag Science Center, the US Forest Service and the Junior Master Gardener program. Their writing has been featured on NPR’s Science Friday blog and they have taught over 100,000 people in person over the last four years with their interactive bug programs for schools, libraries and museums.

 

Current Endeavors

After several years of teaching in Portland, Oregon, The Bug Chicks are getting back to their roots! By creating partnerships with large organizations that share the core values of TBC, Kristie and Jessica will be able to reach an even wider range of students from all over the world. Celestron is one of these incredible partnerships!

The Big Dream? Kristie wants to train teachers in refugee camps to use insects as educational resources. Children the world over play with insects, and with the right information, teachers can harness that fascination to teach about science, inquiry, history, math, and even literacy using bugs!

 

Links and Social

http://thebugchicks.com

http://facebook.com/thebugchicks

http://twitter.com/thebugchicks

 

Photos

Blog Articles

Bug Chicks 2016 Year in Review

Sometimes you have a year that just blows you away. For us, 2016 was that year. It was an incredible year with awesome opportunities and forward momentum.As you read this, it may seem that I (Kristie) handle the majority of the work. This is because Jess got a full-time job back in 2015 so that I could restructure the business. We are moving away from a local workshop based biz model ...

Guess the Pupa

The other night in the kitchen as we were cleaning up after dinner, Jess came across a small green caterpillar on the counter. It must have come from some of our produce. I immediately wanted to photograph it and get it under the scope. But also, it was late and I had just washed a bunch of dishes and I was feeling lazy so I put it in a mason jar with the intention of dealing with it ...

Bug Blast

Last Sunday I woke up at 5AM and packed up my trusty car with my arthropod zoo and some bug costumes. I made the three hour drive up to Seattle (after stopping to get coffee- I'm not a robot) to headline Bug Blast at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. I was hoping Jess would come with me but girl got the flu!!! So I had to Bug Chick alone. But this sunrise I caught out...

Evidence of Animals

Sometimes finding the evidence of an animal is just as exciting and interesting as finding the animal itself. Unfurling a leaf I uncovered a mass of silk and excrement from what I'm assuming was a leaf roller moth in the Family Tortricidae. The moth had pupated and left this behind.    This gorgeous clump is frass. Frans is insect poop. Frass happens, people. And I will photograph i...

I'm Lichen It

I went out for a walk around the block with my FlipView digital microscope, looking for inspiration. After playing with the video function and filming some pollinators I decided to turn my sights onto the tree in my front yard.    It's a maple tree and it has these little notches in the bark that look like freckles. Then I noticed the lichen. I've always been fascinated by lichen, eve...

At the very end of June, Jess and I had the opportunity to give the Keynote address to the National Ag in the Classroom conference held at the beautiful Wigwam Resort outside of Phoenix. This was the swankiest conference we have EVER been to! The food was incredible (I've been having almost inappropriate dreams of the corn, lime, choyote salad they served) and the digs were very nice...

SEXUAL DIMORPHISM: HOW MALES AND FEMALES LOOK DIFFERENT

  I promised you dobsonflies! I think these megalopterans are one of the best examples of sexual dimorphism, where males and females have different body forms. These large insects start their lives as larvae in streams. Back east we call them hellgrammites or ‘toe-biters’ (though some people reserve that name for giant water bugs.)  Once they pupate the adults have long wings and awk...

Insect Mouthparts - Part Two

Last week we talked about some basic mouthparts found on insects. But this week we are going to explore some funkier specimens. Chewing mouthparts are not boring. Let’s take this male lucanid stag beetle. The mandibles extend forward and are functionally useless for feeding. Male stag beetles battle each other by locking mandibles and ‘wrestling’ with each other for mating rights. A...

Insect Mouthparts - Part One

When starting in entomology, mouthparts are some of the first things you learn about. Usually people start with typical chewing mouthparts, like that of a grasshopper. You have the basic parts: labrum (the upper lip, or as I like to call it, the Mr. Ed lip), two mandibles (the chewing jaws),  two maxillae (these are like mouth fingers that help to orient and move the food into the jaw...

THE COLOR OF LOVE

  We got a new box of insect specimens. It counts as a Valentine’s week gift to ourselves and the business. We needed some to fly to LA this past weekend for a bit of filming and  I need them to teach at NSTA at the end of March so it was  a perfect excuse to treat ourselves. We were in a pinch so we called our friends at Paxton Gate here in Portland to see if they had any in stock a...

Wings (Part Two)

In last week’s post, Wings: Part One, I showed the wings of a wasp and a treehopper. This week I’m going to juxtapose two of the most well known insects in the world- a cockroach and a butterfly. Below is an American cockroach. This is one of the most widespread and reviled pests in the world. They run fast and fly at people who are very afraid of them. (In fact, I’d love to do a stud...

Wings (Part One)

I was looking over my favorite Infiniview microscope shots and I found this scarab beetle elytra picture from my first time playing with it. It got me thinking about wings in all their different forms. I popped open a teaching collection of ours that needed to be cleaned up a bit and started snapping some shots of different kinds of wings. I took quite a few so we’ll do this in two pa...

Gross Anatomy

When you give someone a handheld digital microscope, one of the first things they do is look at the back of their hand. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times. So for this post, I thought it was about time to get up-close and personal with one the of the Celestron Microscopes I have been using. This might get ugly, people. But it’s definitely going to be cool, gross and interesting. A...

A House Guest

Very often here in Portland, I will have a person animatedly try to explain a kind of ‘bug’ they’ve seen in their house. There are key phrases I listen for: “It was really big.” (giant house spider) “It was black and kinda nasty” (european rove beetle called a devil’s coach horse) or “It has these stripe-y long horns.” (banded alder borer) But if I hear about something fast that moves...

Fall Foliage

All of a sudden, here in Portland, the trees are on fire! Autumn is in full swing and I realized that if I didn’t act fast I was going to miss my opportunity to get red and yellow leaves under the microscope. So I went outside and grabbed some. On my way back in, I snagged one of the last vibrant green leaves on our cherry tomato plant and one of the last dark green kale leaves. I wan...

A Tiny Universe

I’ve been thinking about microscopes a lot lately, due to my recent partnership withCelestron. Celestron is well-known for their incredible astronomy equipment. Their social media feeds are filled with stunning images of the night sky. Nebulae. Galaxies. Planets. Moons. Looking to the universe is the inspirational stuff dreams are made of. My nephew is so captivated with space that at...

Monday Millipedes

When we teach about arthropods, it can be difficult to illustrate that ALL of these animals have segmented bodies. When you’ve never seen an arthropod up close, it is a tricky idea to wrap your mind around. We often use use millipedes in our teaching as a great example of a fully segmented body on an animal. But now I have cool microscopes from Celestron, so I can show you what I’m ta...

Orange is the New Awesome

October is a month where the color orange reigns supreme. Pumpkins, changing sugar maple leaves, wood fired stoves, candy corn and pumpkin spice lattes. Mmmmm. PSLs. With whipped cream. I digress. In honor of Celestron’s Orange in October #ChangeYourView contest I decided to play with one of our favorite orange arthropods. The orange sowbug! Porcellio scaber is a species of sowbug na...

A Mite-y Discovery!

Sometimes, when we look at something from a different angle we can make some surprising discoveries. I was playing with my new Cosmos Digital Microscope fromCelestron today and wanted to take some shots of exoskeletal microstructure. For my subject, I chose a Phaneus vindex rainbow dung beetle from our pinned collection. This is a male- you can tell by the horn that comes off the bac...