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    No Tricks, Just Scientific Treats at NECE’s Inaugural “Bug-O-Ween” STEM Event



    Story by Lt.j.g. Victoria Wong 

    Warfighter Wellness

    For the first time in its 80-year history, the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE), Jacksonville, Florida opened its doors to the military families stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville and the general public from the greater Jacksonville area October 14, 2022.

    Over 400 visitors enjoyed this community relations Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach event. ‘Bug-o-Ween’ featured 6 stations with 20 hands-on educational encounters highlighting Navy Entomology and the mission-stopping pests and diseases that drive NECE’s global force health protection mission.

    Visitors were treated to historical photos, live insects, and a 300,000-specimen collection, as well as engage in interactive equipment displays. Guests took part in games and activities such as scavenger hunts, an “infested” haunted house, and even had the opportunity to dine on edible insects and earthworm jerky.

    Lt. Sean McKay NECE‘s Department Head for Global Health Operations, dressed as a pirate character named “Captain Exoskeleton. Much to the delight of the 400-plus visitors in attendance, McKay remained in character throughout the event. “Arrr! The kids be lovin’ Bug-o-ween,” said McKay. “Me mates came aboard an' discovered the creepy crawlies from around the seven seas. They learned what Navy bug chasers do to avast me crew from gettin' diseases.”

    McKay operated a treasure hunt where visitors could search an educational display of insects from around the world. Treasure hunters got firsthand experience with exhibits, including alligator skulls, snake skins, and other invertebrates. “They found mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, bed bugs, beetles, rodents, an' snakes. It been me pleasure to give them a tour, an' no one walked the plank,” added McKay.

    “This was an exceptional opportunity to engage with the community, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who visited and all of the people who made this happen,” said NECE Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Michael Muyot.

    NECE is the Navy and Marine Corps’ Center of Excellence for operational entomology located at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL. NECE’s unique DoD mission is to develop and evaluate novel products, pesticides, and technologies to better protect deployed forces from vectors of disease.

    NECE also provides operational medical entomology and pest management training to DOD military and civilian personnel and is the program manager for all Navy shipboard pest management. NECE plays a key role in supporting national strategic interests though engagement and exchange with foreign health and military partners.

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    Date Taken: 10.31.2022
    Date Posted: 10.31.2022 08:58
    Story ID: 432307
    Location: JACKSONVILLE , FL, US 

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