KEYSER — “Flying Friends and Foes” is just 1 of the engaging topics to be offered during the Mineral County Virtual STEM Festival on March 13.

Presenters will share hands-on activities about pollinators and the Spotted Lanternfly.

Have you ever wondered what makes a pollinator so important? Bees, beetles, butterflies, birds and bats are all amazing pollinators. Those attending the STEM Festival virtually can learn how pollinators complete their important work of transferring pollen from plant to plant.

Participants will pretend to be pollinators and use their fingers to transfer pollen through a fun Cheetos activity.

“Next, we will dive into creating bug friendly bug hotels out of recycled materials to create happy homes for these insects to thrive,” says Susan Parker with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Youth Environmental Program. “Creating an insect friendly habitat is an important part of supporting pollinators. Collect your paper rolls, paper and cardboard scraps, and leaves and let your creativity run wild as we build together.”

Finally, participants will learn about how to identify the invasive pest — Spotted Lanternfly.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is a beautiful, but harmful pest to important trees and plants of West Virginia,” says Kristin Wickert, West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Learn how to identify and report any sightings of these pest to help save the day. Participants will learn the colorful characteristics of the adult Spotted Lanternfly by creating it through Origami.

Participation in this event is available through Zoom. Sign up at mineralstem.com/register. Once registered families will receive the Zoom link, session times, topic descriptions and a materials list. Most sessions will involve hands-on activities with simple materials easily available.

“The Community Trust Foundation (CTF) provided seed funding to help establish this collaboration that benefits area youths through compelling and exciting hands on STEM activities,” Miltenberger said.

CTF is committed to building stronger communities in Allegany, Garrett and Mineral counties by providing administrative services and financial management to philanthropic funds. For more information on contributing to an existing fund or establishing a new charitable fund, please call 301-876-9172 or email info@ctfinc.org.

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