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THE ECHO BLOG

ECHO VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT- KATE MEYER

POSTED OCTOBER 3 AT 10:59 AM

ECHO's Mission is to Educate and Delight our…

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FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE

 
Contact: Steven Leibman or Grace Per Lee
802-864-1848 ext. 125 or 131
sleibman@echovermont.org or gperlee@echovermont.org

ATTACK OF THE BLOODSUCKERS! HEADING TO ECHO

It’s the Science of What’s Eating You — Exhibit Opening November 10

BURLINGTON, Vt. —Stinky feet can make you more attractive — to a hungry mosquito, that is! You’ll explore the science of what’s eating you at ECHO, November 10 — April 28, with Attack of the Bloodsuckers!. This special exhibit was created by the same folks who brought you the popular Turtle Travels and Tree Houses, and is sponsored by the American Red Cross, Chittenden Bank, Vermont Department of Agriculture, and Vermont Department of Health Visitors to Attack of the Bloodsuckers! will discover the biological wonders of sanguinivores — creatures that eat blood — through encounters with live species and interactive exhibits.
  • Look a real leech in the mouth;
  • Pull off your socks and test your bug-appealing foot odor;
  • Receive a big hug from a giant, inflating tick;
  • Get itchy and knotty with the life-size game of "Twitcher" — a buggy variation on Twister™!
Attack of the Bloodsuckers! also provides visitors with helpful hints for avoiding these sometimes annoying creatures. Simple precautions like keeping your yard free of standing water, where mosquitoes breed, and checking yourself carefully for deer ticks before they can transmit Lyme disease, go a long way toward keeping you comfortable and safe.

Says ECHO’s Executive Director Phelan Fretz, "Some of these insects are known disease vectors, and their increasing populations are a public health concern — as a community resource, we want to address that." But don’t let that keep you from admiring the amazing anatomy of the mosquito, or what makes a tick "tick." Adds Fretz, "We’re really more interested in the science, rather than the fear-factor, of what’s eating you."

We all need food to survive, and animals that eat blood are no different. In fact, most of them manage to leave their prey alive — which is more than most of us can say! With about 20 grams of protein in every drop, human blood is high-energy fuel for the animals who’ve adapted to eating it — and they have adapted in some pretty amazing ways: Our regional black fly, for example, uses its scissor-like jaws to create a wound in the skin, then licks up the resulting pool of blood. Ticks, also native to our area, can swell up to 600 times their original size!

Beyond our Basin are a myriad of other sanguinivorous species — from the Amazon Basin to the mountains of Czechoslovakia — each one adapted to feeding in its own unique way. The Espanola mockingbird, endemic to the Galapagos Islands, feeds on other birds, iguanas, sea lions, and the occasional researcher. Brazil boasts the teeny-tiny, but very persistent, vampire fish. Even certain butterflies have a taste for blood! The incredible biodiversity of bloodsuckers is sure to amaze and impress. While we can’t guarantee you’ll want to make friends with these critters, you’re sure to respect them after experiencing Attack of the Bloodsuckers!.

Attack of the Bloodsuckers! is produced by EEC! -- the Environmental Exhibit Collaborative (ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington, Vermont; EcoTarium, Worcester, Massachusetts; and the Children’s Museum of Maine, Portland, Maine) -- and made possible by grants from Jane's Trust, Cabot Family Charitable Trust, and the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s Burlington Waterfront. ECHO features 70 species of live fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles, over 100 hands-on experiences, major traveling exhibits, and the multimedia Awesome Forces Theater. The 2.2 acre site is also highlighted by the Lake Champlain Navy Memorial, ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and seasonal café. Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day, and most Mondays in winter. Admission is $7-$9.50; children under 3 and K-12 classroom teachers with credential ID are free. For more information visit echovermont.org, call 1-877-ECHOFUN, or write to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.


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