Buggy Kentucky

What do a mole cricket, a Hercules beetle, and a cicada killer have in common?

  1. They are among the estimated 10,000 insect species found in Kentucky.
  2. Specimens of these & more visit your school, public library, museum or other venue with Buggy Kentucky. 

What is Buggy Kentucky? 

Buggy Kentucky is an exploration of Kentucky insects through the arts of photography & oral performance (folktales, a true story, a riddle, a poem, a song), science facts, and real insect specimens. 

Your audience members will have fun and find out:

  • how insects breathe (hint: not through a mouth or nose),
  • where mud daubers lay eggs  (hint: spiders don't always win),
  • how some insects thrive by disguise,
  • how form and function are related,
  • what some insects eat,
  • and much, much more.


Insects are Small. How does everyone see them?

Don’t worry – so everyone can see, we’ll bring magnified images in addition to actual specimens.  In fact, we have two presentation options:

  • For audiences of 100 or smaller: We use 16” x 20” photos — some showing magnified Kentucky insects no larger than a baby’s fingernail.

  • For larger audiences: We use your projector to show the photos via Power Point & your sound system

How do you show the insect specimens?

After the 45 – 60-minute presentation, we stay or all morning or all afternoon at schools so the students from the presentation can visit the insect exhibit in class-sized groups. In museum or library venues we stay up to an additional hour so your audience can visit displays. Four displays include a museum quality drawer of insect specimens with a matching photographic chart. A 5th display contains both a hornet nest and a paper wasp nest.  During the exhibit time, audience members can also ask more questions. 


What does Buggy Kentucky cost?

A Buggy Kentucky presentation plus exhibit time costs $300 plus travel from Frankfort, KY. Additional presentations in the same day run $100 each. Two nearby schools or other venues could share the same day, with one presentation plus exhibit time at each. Within the same school, we can present up to three times in a single day with the rest of our time spent hosting class-sized groups at the exhibit. When you contact us for a complete quote (502-223-4523 or marystory@earthlink.net), we can price your program including all travel depending on where you are located within Kentucky.  

What do you receive?

  •  A 45 – 60 minute fast-paced presentation of insect stories and facts. The stories come from various parts of the world. All of the insects shown can be found in Kentucky. 

  • Exhibit time so all audience members can take a closer look and ask more questions. 

  • Over twenty-five years of storytelling expertise to keep the program lively, plus almost twenty years of insect-collecting expertise to keep the information accurate. Your audience will have fun as they learn about basic insect anatomy, insect mimicry and camouflage, social vs. solitary insects, unusual insect egg-laying and dietary habits, and the relationship between insect form and function.

  • Up to 100 free bookmarks — Each bookmark contains a picture of an insect, a bit of information about the insect, the url for a University of Kentucky insect website designed for children and their parents, a reminder that books on insects can be found in libraries in the 595.7 section, and the lyrics to the Buggy Kentucky song sung during the program. 

Who are Buggy Kentucky Presenters?

Charles Wright (also Mary’s husband) has been collecting insects since 1991. His approximately 12,000 specimen collection includes insects from all of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Specimens from his collection have been cited in eight scientific papers, seven published by the Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences and one Cincindela. He is a member of the Coleopterists Society and the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists. He received a Kentucky Nature Preserves grant to determine if the American Burying Beetle could be found at two western Kentucky nature preserves. He has made numerous research trips to the Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburg, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. for the purpose of identifying Kentucky insect specimens. His expertise keeps Buggy Kentucky accurate.

 Mary Hamilton (also Charles’s wife) has been telling stories since 1983.  Here on her website, you can learn all about her work.

What others have said:

 “The Buggy Kentucky presentation by Mary Hamilton and Charles Wright fascinated students of all ages. The combination of storytelling, science visuals, and audience participation kept the students riveted. The program is based on Kentucky core content in science and in arts & humanities, but the students didn’t realize how much they were learning…they thought they were just having fun!”

Becky Nelson, School Library Media Specialist, Hearn Elementary, Frankfort, Kentucky

“This program was for our age group of 7-12-year olds. The performers were very knowledgeable in their field and kept the children enthused during the duration of the program. Mary is a great storyteller and Charles is very knowledgeable in the field of Entomology. They brought several displays with them that included actual preserved insects. The children were very attentive and asked several questions. Worth every penny.”

Regina B. Holland, William B. Harlan Memorial Library, Tompkinsville, KY