Student shows child cockroach

Brittany Kohler, a research assistant at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, shows a cockroach to a young museum visitor during Take Our Children to Work Day last week.. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Children Check Out Campus

by | May 3, 2023 | On Campus

The average age in and around offices on campus dropped by a few years last week, thanks to Take Our Children to Work Day, a sort of mini-Picnic Day for mini-Aggies.

“The day not only exposes kids to what a parent or mentor does during their workday, but shows children the value of their education and provides an opportunity to share how they envision their future and begin steps toward their goals in a hands-on and interactive environment,” the organizers said on the event website.

Parents and their kids made art and held bugs at campus museums, rode buses, met livestock, watched a chemistry show, made slime with Fleet Services, learned about particle physics at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, saw police and fire equipment and more. More than 1,300 people registered to participate this year, said Marla Dolcini, a WorkLife program coordinator.

double-decker bus on street

Nicole Heitkam prepares to set off in a vintage double-decker Unitrans full of kids and parents. (Cody Kitaura/UC Davis)

Brittany Kohler, a research assistant at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, said many kids have a different view of bugs after holding and petting the Madagascar hissing cockroaches — including one young visitor who asked if it was OK to give the bug a kiss (not recommended!).

“I find that young kids are still very open and excited to see insects and arthropods like discovering a whole new world to them,” Kohler said. “It’s that bugs rule the world. They are a very important part of our ecosystem, and understanding them and protecting them protects the diverse world we live in.”

Anna Maggi, a third-year history major and an intern at the Bohart museum, said young visitors ran the gamut from excited to hesitant about seeing the collection of bugs.

“When kids visit the Bohart, I hope they learn to treat their environment and insects kindly,” Maggi said. “Hopefully, they’ll think twice now before squashing any bug they see in their house.”

Nicole Heitkam ’15, Unitrans training manager, said she hopes children riding on the vintage double-decker bus last week learned that transit can be fun and can bring a community together.

“I always enjoy doing the take your kids to work day,” she said. “The kids are always super excited to ride the double-decker bus. I used to drive them in service when I was a student at UC Davis, and the highlight was always seeing kids waving as you passed by, or being pumped to get on.”

She saw that among kids eager to ride on the top deck of the bus, even if one of them did fall asleep during the short loop of a trip.